DURHAM, N.C. (SU ATHLETICS) –
No. 19 Syracuse University men’s lacrosse lost its regular season finale, 18-15, at No. 2 Duke University Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium.
The Orange (8-7, 1-5 ACC) had multi-goal games from Luke Rhoa, who tagged the Blue Devils for his first career hat trick, Joey Spallina (2g, 3a), Cole Kirst (2g) and Jackson Birtwistle (2g). Alex Simmons notched three points on two goals and one assist while Owen Hiltz (1g, 2a) finished with another three-point day.
Duke (12-2, 5-1 ACC) was led by six goals from Dyson Williams and six points from Brennan O’Neill (4g, 2a). The Blue Devils played two goalies. William Helm started and made five saves with Andrew Bonafede stopping nine in his 33 minutes.
How it Happened
The opening period was back-and-forth 15 minutes as the teams tied three times in 10 minutes. Simmons, Spallina, and Griffin Cook scored on the backend of Duke goals to tie things three times. Duke scored twice in the final three minutes for a 5-3 lead after 15 minutes.
Quarter two favored the Blue Devils by another 5-3 count. ‘Cuse tied the game at 6-6 as Rhoa scored twice around a Kirst goal in a two-and-a-half minute stretch.
Duke scored the next four goals to take a 10-6 lead into the break.
The third quarter was a 5-3 Duke period as each side traded goals until back-to-back Blue Devil strikes made it 15-9 after three quarters of play. Spallina, Hiltz, and Rhoa scored in that period.
Down but not out, Syracuse ripped off three goals in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, cutting the Blue Devil lead to 15-13. Duke scored twice to extend the lead back to 17-14. Syracuse for two of the next three goals from Simmons and Finn Thomson for the 18-15 final.
Syracuse out-shot the Blue Devils 45-39, including 24-14 in the second half. That was in large part to a 9-of-17 showing at the faceoff spot in the last 30 minutes, including 5-of-8 in the final frame.
Spallina sits with 68 points in his first season with the Orange on 36 goals and 32 assists. He now stands alone for third all-time by a Syracuse freshman in single-season points (68), fifth in freshman goals (36) and third in freshman assists (32).
Hiltz extended a point scoring streak to 28 games as he surpassed the 100-point mark in his two seasons of action. Of the 17 ‘Cuse players to surpass the 200-point mark in their careers, nine scored 100 points in their first two seasons.
The Orange went 2-for-3 on the man-up, getting goals from Birtwistle and Thomson, bringing the season goal to a Division I leading 39 at a 56.5 percent clip.
Up Next for Syracuse
Syracuse awaits the decision of the NCAA Selection Committee, looking for an at-large bid to the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
The NCAA Selection Show is set for Sunday, May 7 at 9:30 p.m.