Men's lacrosse: Dominant first half propels Syracuse to Senior Night win

The Orange overcomes sluggish offensive start to romp over rival Hobart.

Led by an offensive explosion in the second period, Syracuse cruised to victory over Hobart on senior night Tuesday evening at the Carrier Dome. 

After managing to score only one goal over the first nine minutes of the contest, the No. 4 Orange (9-2, 2-2 ACC) kept the goals coming against the Statesmen (7-4, 4-0 NEC) en route to an 18-5 win. 

A three-goal spurt at the end of the first quarter carried through the rest of the half. By the break, the score was 12-0 Orange and Hobart’s realistic chances of winning had vanished. 

“We got through a little bit of senioritis in the first part of the first quarter,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “I think our guys came alive and did what we wanted to do tonight in all facets of the game. It was great to be able to get some of those seniors in that haven’t played in game situations and some of the younger guys who have been working really hard.” 

Hobart seemed to surprise Syracuse in the early going, as freshman J. Andrew Spallanzani won the initial face-off against Syracuse specialist Ben Williams, who had the second-best faceoff winning percentage in the NCAA (68.6 percent) entering the game. 

Hobart had several other opportunities to score early. If not for a few impressive saves from Syracuse goalie Bobby Wardwell, Hobart likely would have at least tied the game if not had the lead. 

“Bobby proved his point tonight and on the scoreboard keeping that ball out of the back of the net,” Desko said. 

Syracuse also looked lost on offense after Dylan Donahue’s goal 1:13 into the game, as the Orange offense went scoreless in the next nine minutes. 

With this goal however, Donahue not only gave his team the early lead, but also became the 23rd player to score 100 goals in program history. 

“We are not a team who gives the ball to one player and has him go to the goal all the game,” Desko said. “So for him to have that kind of success with the ball and without the ball is great for us to see. He has a really good knack in reading the situation on the field, what the defense is doing and placing himself in a situation where he can get shots those off, and he can create too.” 

As the first period wound down, the Syracuse offense started to find cracks in the Hobart defense. In a span of 5:55, the Orange received goals from Lecky, Nick Weston and Donahue again to take a 4-0 lead. 

The Orange was able to continue this momentum from the end of the first period into the second. 

Led by Williams, the Orange was able to dominate the face-off X, winning all seven in the period. The Orange was able to double its lead by the midpoint of the frame. 

According to Donahue, who scored three goals, Hobart’s defense was easy to manipulate. 

“They slide quick from the crease,” Donahue said, “so all we got to do is draw that slide and move in and move it to the next guy where someone is open.” 

By the end of the first half, the Orange had basically secured victory. 

Playing without leading scorer Alex Love, Hobart struggled to muster scoring chances against the suffocating Syracuse defense. 

“Well we got back to playing the way we want to play: Fast, slide hard, recover quickly,” starting Syracuse defenseman Jay McDermott said. “Team defense is our main concept, and I thought we got back to that and played a good game today.”

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