‘We’re trying to figure that out’: Disastrous 1st half dooms No. 8 Syracuse in 13-10 loss at No. 12 Notre Dame

first_imgSOUTH BEND, Ind. — Syracuse head coach John Desko didn’t have many answers to the dearth of issues plaguing the Orange after a 13-10 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday.For the fourth-straight game, SU fell behind in the first half. The past three were four-goal deficits that Syracuse eventually erased. But Saturday, the Orange watched the Fighting Irish blister the defense to the tune of 11 first-half goals and an eight-goal halftime lead.“We’re banging our heads against the wall,” Desko said of SU’s early deficits. “We can not figure that out.”A lack of slides and communication on defense, turnovers and penalties all doomed No. 8 Syracuse (5-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) in a disastrous first half. No. 12 Notre Dame (5-3, 1-1) exploited it all, dominating the first half and winning, 13-10. Giving up early leads has been a concerning trend over the last month for the Orange and on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium, it allowed the Irish to run away with the game before the halftime buzzer.“We’ve proven we can comeback from a crazy deficit,” attack Bradley Voigt said, “but today was a little too much.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNot even a minute into the game, SU’s defense lapsed. Bryan Costabile, the Irish’s All-American midfielder, dodged off a midfielder into open space and ripped a shot past Syracuse goalie Drake Porter. A close defender should’ve picked up Costabile off the dodge, but none moved to him quick enough.Two minutes later, Brendan Gleason used a pick to slip inside of Nick Mellen about 20 yards from the cage. Gleason barreled to the crease from the right side of the alley, Mellen holding him from behind with his stick. A defender needed to slide and stop Gleason’s charge. None did and UND went up 2-0 within three minutes.All throughout the first half, the Orange’s defense failed to consistently make slides and pick up cutters. Players and Desko attributed it to a lack of communication. No one explained the absence of chatter among an experienced group of defenders.Desko registered particular concern with the sudden lack of talk, noting slides are “basic team defense.”“Our No. 1 rule is communication,” long stick midfielder Brett Kennedy said. “So when we were lacking it, it obviously showed.”Notre Dame built a lead easily on Saturday in large part because in the first half, it dominated possession.Neither team dominated at the face-off X, but the Orange finished the first half with 14 turnovers, only four caused by the Irish. Prior to Saturday, SU averaged just over 12 a game.Twice, SU had the ball on offense, working it around the outside of the Irish’s defense. Twice, a midfielder — first Brendan Curry, then Jamie Trimboli — dropped what should’ve been an easy catch, starting up a Notre Dame clear.Between attack zones, the Orange often struggled to transition between defense and offense, coughing up the ball on bad passes or losing the ball in a crowd of defenders.It all resulted in a shocking possession disparity that let the Irish build a lead and outshoot SU 22-12 in the first frame.“It was definitely out of character for us,” Kennedy said. “I think some of it was just being stupid. Dumb mistakes. Everyone just needed to be more composed at the time.”The Irish went 3-for-3 with an extra man in the first half.On a Connor Morin goal in the first quarter, Tyson Bomberry picked up a two-minute, unreleasable penalty for a cross-check to the back of the head. He came late, from behind, hitting Morin as he shot.Notre Dame burned 1:54 of the penalty, probing the SU defense, before Gleason punished the Orange. Once more, in the second quarter, Gleason buried a man-up chance.Notre Dame already dominated Syracuse’s defense six-on-six in the first. Subtracting a defender only made matters worse for the Orange.As the Irish amassed their massive lead — built on the back of every SU misstep — the patented Syracuse comeback seemed less and less likely. But then the Orange went on a seven-goal run throughout most of the second half, bringing the game within two.But the Irish pushed back, capitalizing on a late lapse from Kennedy — a cross-check to Gleason — and ultimately preserving the massive lead spawned from the litany of Syracuse mistakes in the first half.“We’re trying to figure that out,” Desko said. “We’ve got the second half figured out, now we’ve got to figure out what the first half is.” Comments Published on March 30, 2019 at 4:12 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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