No. 10 Syracuse upset by Colgate, 12-9, in season-opener

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 8, 2019 at 9:09 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Comments The Orange inched back through their man-up unit in the third quarter. On his first goal of the season, Solomon operated from Mullen’s left, pump-faked and flicked the ball in. Three minutes later, on another man-up chance, he rocketed one past Mullen top-shelf.A possession clock violation on the next possession brought some in attendance to their feet, and services in close windows successfully cleared the ball for SU. Four-straight Orange shots missed high, though. As jerseys jogged back, Desko walked the sideline, hand grasping for a dry-erase board.“We definitely have to play faster,” Brendan Curry, who finished with three goals and an assist, said, “I think we have to play smarter. Not rush into things as much, kinda get the ball around a little bit.”Colgate strung together faceoff wins and maintained possession to limit SU’s offensive chances late. Kennedy scored an unassisted tap-in to keep the score close, but Syracuse went minutes after looking for its next quality chance. Solomon and Curry brought the deficit to one, but Hoskinson notched his third after a late defensive slide.After one of Porter’s saves bounced off the field and into a CU stick, a broken play allowed the dagger to slink into the cage uncontested. Maroon jerseys moshed, and a herd of Orange fans slumped toward the exit.To close the first half, Desko was the last one left on the sidelines. He gestured at officials near midfield, pleading for fouls that hadn’t been called. Moments earlier, Bradley Voigt had urged his teammates into the locker room with a wave. The offense, and SU in general, needed answers.In 2019, Syracuse isn’t viewed as national-title contenders, ESPN lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon said. To combat that, SU had to start by “winning New York,” Dixon said. That meant another win of a seemingly lesser opponent on opening day, but the Orange couldn’t deliver. “You know everybody’s good,” Desko said. “You got come ready to play and you can’t make as many mistakes as we did today and expect to win the game.” Connor Mullen walked toward Drake Porter, turned around, and smiled. The Colgate goalie swung his arms after shaking Porter’s hand, letting his glove-less fingers dangle. Mullen then video-bombed a postgame interview, holding two digits behind his teammate’s head. Finally, Mullen proceeded to his sideline and grabbed his gloves. They had fallen off during the celebration. Near the Syracuse bench, SU head coach John Desko held a hand to his chin and watched. Above them on the screens circling Ernie Davis Legends Field read the score. Desko had won 19 of his 20 season-openers, but he lost the 2019 edition, his 21st, to a first-year head coach.No. 10 Syracuse (0-1) was upset by Colgate (1-0), 12-9, on Friday night in the Carrier Dome. The Raiders pressured the Orange from the first faceoff, earning most loose balls and extending possessions. Both teams had similar shots (42-36) and turnovers committed (18-18), but SU never led and lost its first-opening day contest since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.  2019’s squad promised a new culture, months removed from when a competitive yet flawed SU team was bounced by Cornell in the NCAA tournament. The younger, promising talent was primed for a potential march to Memorial Day weekend. But the defense — returning most of its pieces — cracked early, and the offense, looking to replace Brendan Bomberry, missed a top scoring threat in crucial moments. By the final whistle, the Orange crowd thinned, and the Raider fans stood. Feb. 8 was historic, just in Colgate’s favor.“Again, we didn’t have…” Desko started before pausing. “We didn’t know what they were going to do offensively or defensively. So we knew we were going to have to adjust.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTJ Shaw | Staff PhotographerPeter Dearth had a chance at the opening faceoff, though a penalty by Brett Kennedy swung possession and gave CU an early man-up chance. Tyson Bomberry forced a turnover and David Lipka fired a door-step shot that was deflected. Nate Solomon’s rebound missed, too. As would become evident in the opening frame, the Orange couldn’t execute.The Orange struggled to clear the ball, often back-passing as the volume of the Colgate bench increased. SU created little opportunities and CU’s goalie Connor Mullen answered. Syracuse’s offense made bad passess, Desko said. The chances it did manage were aimed at Mullen’s stick. The Orange had a history with Mullen — they put up 17 last year against him — but didn’t show it. Desko considered a couple of his offense’s shots turnovers. On the other end, Syracuse’s defense weathered the initial flurry. Bomberry followed forced turnovers with giveaways of his own. First-time starter Drake Porter stopped point-blank attempts, and allowed in shots from 15- and 20-yards out. When an Orange defender was caught too far in the slot, James Caddigan capitalized with the game’s first score. Two members of SU’s backline chatted as the ball reset, not yet showing signs of concern.Minutes later, 6-foot-5, 220-pound Sam Cleveland backed down Bomberry and slipped it by Porter to double the lead while Desko screamed at a referee. Danny Varello lost another faceoff, two Orange defenders ran into each other and Duncan Hoskinson gained a step on a short-stick and scored another. 3-0 Colgate.As white jerseys huddled during a media timeout, faced with a defense that had an answer for 13 minutes worth of failed dodges, poor shot attempts and poorer execution, Nate Solomon and other attack stood in front of Desko, listening. Midway through the first frame, Desko put sophomore Jakob Phaup at the X in favor of Varello and earned a few possessions. With less than a minute to go, Brendan Curry tucked a shot from 25-yards out and pumped his fist to cap Syracuse’s first goal. For the first time since the opening whistle an “SU” chant broke out in the Carrier Dome.Austin Fusco intercepted a pass in the ending seconds of the quarter, passed it to Voigt, who found Andrew Helmer to cut the deficit to one. Through the intermission, a calm reverberated through the Dome, as if the Orange rout would start, just 15 minutes delayed. But it didn’t, and the offense remained dormant.“Offensively, especially in the first half, we did not shoot well,” Desko said. “We took some ill-advised shots. I didn’t think we handled our possession time well. We went too quickly when we were behind. Trying to get to the goal and trying to make something happen right away.” last_img read more