SU attack stifles, posting 6 goals, lowest of the season


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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A week ago, Tucker Dordevic looked unstoppable when he scored five times for the second game in a row, including a miracle goal between the legs. But on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium, Dordevic – and Syracuse’s entire offensive unit – looked mediocre as they struggled to find a rhythm.

Dordevic, Brendan Curry and Owen Seebold each had three or more turnovers. Each are crucial elements of the attack on Syracuse. Twice Dordevic looked away from a routine pass and it ricocheted off his stick and out of bounds for a turnover.

“Unforced errors and forced errors made it very difficult to come back,” said head coach Gary Gait.

The unit produced only three shots in the first quarter, a period when Notre Dame had 16 and led 9-0 after the first 15 minutes. On the first possession of the afternoon, SU shot just 75 seconds short of the 90 second possession, and the only shot he had was a tight angled attempt from Curry that was always going to fly away from the cage.

“It wasn’t a great effort,” Gait said. “It was hard, it really was.”

No. 18 Syracuse (4-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) scored just six goals on Saturday afternoon as they fell 22-6 to No. 16 Notre Dame (4-4, 2- 1 ACC), the lowest in the program since a 15-3 loss to UAlbany in 2018. The Orange had an offensive efficiency of just 15.0%, the lowest of the season, according to Stock reference. They had their worst turnover percentage of the season (45.0%) and their second lowest shooting percentage (16.7%) and shots per possession (0.90).

In the first quarter, Matteo Corsi returned the ball when his stick hit the ground. Notre Dame scored to make it 1-0, then after SU forced a turnover, Saam Olexo lost the ball again and UND took the 2-0 lead.

It kept getting worse. Seebold had the ball knocked off his stick as he looked for a pass to X, and Quinn McCahon helped the Fighting Irish make it a 4-0 lead. SU recorded five turnovers in the first quarter and six more in the second quarter. Notre Dame turned that into a 12-0 run to start the game, a run that Gait said was too much for Syracuse to overcome once they settled into the game.

“In the first quarter, we can’t pass, we drop the ball, we’re stripped (of the ball),” Gait said. “It was one bad game after another.”

The attack couldn’t get any shots as they kept turning the ball over. He rarely had multiple shots on the same possession, which was almost guaranteed against Duke a week before when he had one of his best performances of the season.

With SU leading 10-0 early in the second quarter, Nick Caccamo charged forward with the ball in his stick. Until then, Syracuse hadn’t done anything on offense, so when Caccamo saw an opportunity, the defender – of all people – saw fit to take a chance.

Minutes earlier, the Orange had been beaten 17-3, a stat that quickly worsened when Pat Kavanagh found his brother, Chris Kavanagh to make it 11-0. So when Caccamo fired and the effort sailed just over the cage, it still looked like Syracuse’s best opportunity of the day.

This is how Syracuse was struggling.

In the second and third quarters, Syracuse had 14 and 12 shots, respectively, but could only concede four of those attempts. Three of those four goals came unassisted, a sign of Syracuse’s lack of off-ball movement on offense.

Curry scored Syracuse’s first goal when he went down a left side lane and touched the back of the net. Seconds after that goal, Jakob Phaup won a quick face-off and SU had a chance to transition when Brandon Aviles found midfielder Landon Clary on the gate for an easy goal. But Clary fired a straight shot at Notre Dame goalkeeper Liam Entenmann, who made the save. Shortly after, Dordevic unloaded a rocket when he noticed he had a short stick clash. He used a spin-dodge to make it 13-2 in the second quarter.

But neither Dordevic nor Curry were as efficient as they should be. Dordevic only scored two goals on 10 shots, and Curry also had one on 10 shots. Phaup won 20 out of 31 encounters with SU, securing the ball for his attack.

Syracuse just couldn’t take it. It looked scrappy on several occasions, such as when Curry missed a back pass to Mikey Berkman, who had to rush to midfield to win the ball back.

Then, when Berkman had the opportunity to get the ball back on the ground, he missed. After a period of scrappy defensive play immediately after from SU, Notre Dame’s Jake Taylor started at X and scored an around the world goal where he unloaded an over the shoulder shot. Taylor, who scored a program record eight goals in the game, said it was his favorite goal.

“It was a great performance from them, it’s what we wish our team could and had done,” Gait said.

Contact Roshan: [email protected] | @Roshan_f16


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