No Doubt: Syracuse takes down Notre Dame to reclaim the top spot

The SU men's lacrosse team handed Notre Dame its first loss of the season Saturday, in the form of an 11-8 setback. The win put the Orange in position to win the Big East and lock up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Syracuse used offensive creativity and great goaltending to defeat No. 1 Notre Dame, 11-8, Saturday, in a front of 14,751 fans. Senior attacker Stephen Keogh scored four goals for SU and senior goaltender John Galloway stifled Notre Dame with 12 saves.

Photo: Alyssa Stone
Jeremy Thompson wards off a Hobart defender in the 13-7 victory for Syracuse University in April.

“We’re out there having fun and it’s showing,” senior midfielder Joel White said.

With the win, Syracuse clinches at least a share of the Big East regular-season title. It is also very likely now that SU will have the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, after an impressive win against the Irish.

In front of the largest on-campus crowd at a lacrosse game this year, the Orange (13-1, 5-0) came out playing with emotion. However, it was the Irish that started the game well. Notre Dame (10-1, 5-1) scored the game’s first two goals the first eight minutes. Without the excellent goaltending of Galloway, who saved multiple point-blank shots early, the Orange would have faced a bigger deficit.

“That game could have went completely different if he didn’t have four or five saves in the first quarter,” White said.

Following Notre Dame’s quick strike, SU responded and played with more urgency. Senior midfielder Jeremy Thompson got SU on the board with an unassisted goal and Keogh netted his first goal minutes later to tie it up for the Orange. Junior attacker Tommy Palasek and freshman midfielder Scott Loy notched two more before the end of the quarter to give the Orange a 4-2 lead.

After the two-goal hole that Syracuse put itself in, the Orange responded with eight of the next 10 goals.

In a game between two of the nation’s best defensive teams, it was the Orange offense that stepped up to the plate. Despite the Notre Dame defense allowing only 5.9 goals per game – the least goals allowed per game in the country – Syracuse scored six goals in the first half alone, behind the finishing abilities of Keogh and the playmaking abilities of sophomore attacker JoJo Marasco.

After a slow start to the first half, it was the Orange who jumped out quickly in the second half. SU’s lead grew from 6-3 to 11-5 with only 8:45 remaining in the game. Chants of “overrated” and “We’re No. 1” could be heard in the Dome, but the Irish had one late push in them. They scored three goals in the final four minutes, but it was too little, too late and Notre Dame left the Dome with its first loss of the season.

Syracuse became the first team all season to score double-digit goals against the Irish.

“We have so much firepower, we just move the ball around and take good shots,” Keogh said. “The ball is bound to fall in the back of the net.”

Now, the Orange are looking to finish the season as Big East regular-season champs. With a win against St. John’s next Saturday the Orange can accomplish just that.

“Our biggest game right now is St. John’s,” Galloway said.

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