Men's Lacrosse

Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from No. 2 seed Syracuse’s 11-10 win over No. 15 Yale

Jordan Phelps | Staff Photographer

Stephen Rehfuss' goal lifted Syracuse to its ninth win in 11 one-goal games this season.

­­­­In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, second-seeded Syracuse (13-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) knocked off No. 15 seed Yale (10-6, 5-1 Ivy), 11-10, on Sunday night at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse’s one-goal game marked the team’s 11th single-score bout this season. Freshman Jamie Trimboli and senior Nick Mariano each scored a pair of goals in a back and forth game that ended with redshirt freshman Stephen Rehfuss’ go-ahead goal with just over two minutes left. Despite winning just four faceoffs all game, Syracuse clawed back and defeated the Bulldogs.

Here are three quick reactions to SU’s win over Yale.

Stephen Rehfuss plays hero

Receiving the pass from Jordan Evans, Rehfuss turned and darted around the cage. As the clock neared two minutes and Syracuse remained knotted in a 10-all tie. Coming around the cage and nearing the 15-yard line, Rehfuss turned and fired, hitting the back of the net. He took a couple of steps forward and fist pumped as the crowd erupted.

For the first time all game, Rehfuss found the back of the net. And it came when Syracuse needed it badly.

SU’s Achilles heel reappears

Ben Williams’ inconsistency seemed to dissipate as the NCAA tournament neared. All season he has struggled at the faceoff X, a location he dominated for three years prior. But on Sunday night, the same Williams that went 21 minutes, 16 seconds without a win in the ACC tournament against North Carolina, reappeared. After winning the opening faceoff, Williams lost seven straight before being replaced by Danny Varello — a common substitute for SU head coach John Desko when Williams struggles. Even Varello struggled, losing three straight before Williams jogged back onto the field.

Over 40 minutes separated Syracuse’s first faceoff win with its second. Yet, the team trailed by just two at the time. Varello followed up that win with his second — SU’s third overall — eventually resulting in an Orange goal and an 8-8 tie.

The rest of the game remained similar: Varello or Williams would approach the faceoff X and usually jogged off in defeat. But somehow, despite the failures at the X, Syracuse managed to keep the game within striking distance.

Third-quarter run saves game

Entering halftime, Syracuse trailed by two. The team had just one second-quarter goal and four total to its name. The offense struggled to find possession time from the struggles at the faceoff X. But, in the third quarter, the defense buckled down and faceoffs began to trickle SU’s way.

In the third quarter, SU forced three turnovers and won the ground ball battle, despite trailing 22-7 in grounders at the half. A 5-1 run followed and for the first time since the second quarter, SU gripped onto a one-goal lead.

The late third-quarter run gave the Orange enough gas to pull out a lead. While that dissipated in the fourth, the run allowed SU to remain within striking distance until Rehfuss put the game away with a bullet.

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