Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 10-9 season-ending loss to Cornell

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 13, 2018 at 9:36 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Nate Solomon took the ball in play before being knocked down by a Cornell defender. A yellow flag flew in the air and the clock ticked past seven seconds left. The two grappled for the ball, but the penalty would never come. The clock hit zero and a sea of red jerseys flooded the field.On Sunday night, No. 8-seed Syracuse (8-7, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) had an opportunity to get revenge against Cornell (13-4, 3-2 Ivy). It had fallen earlier in the year, 13-8, to the Big Red. The Orange never trailed in the first half and entered the break up a pair of goals. It had been 5-0 in previous games when leading at half. But in the second half, Cornell crept back in and with SU constantly turning the ball over, the Big Red took advantage, taking its first lead late in the fourth quarter. Syracuse would never take the lead back, falling to Cornell, 10-9, in the opening round of the NCAA tournamentFor the first time since 2011, Cornell won at the Carrier Dome and will play Maryland in the quarterfinals next weekend.Here are three reactions from the game.Nick Mellen dominates Jeff Teat, but not enough in lossThe biggest storyline heading into Sunday night’s matchup was the battle between first-team All-American Jeff Teat and Syracuse’s No. 1 defender, Nick Mellen. The last time these two faced off, Mellen caused three turnovers but Teat tagged the Orange with a pair of goals and four assists.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut in the opening 30 minutes in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Teat had just one assist to his name. Mellen on the other hand, had two caused turnovers on the sophomore attack.Mellen stuck to Teat for most of the game and the only point for the latter came after a switch on a pick by Jake McCulloch. Andrew Helmer was beaten off a dodge and Mellen slid to help, leaving McCulloch wide open.The two caused turnovers came when Teat tried driving on Mellen. The first was a quick poke in the opening minutes of the second quarter that sent the ball bouncing free. The other came right before half, as Mellen’s stick wrapped around Teat and sent the ball into a scrum of white and red jerseys.The second half was similar, with Teat rarely seeing the ball. Mellen stuck to him, stick to his chest at all times and fought through screens to stay on Cornell’s leading points scorer.On one play in the second half, with the shot clock winding down for Cornell, Teat sat behind the net. He fired a pass but it was deflected off Mellen’s stick. Teat recovered it and quickly passed to the top of the offense. But the ball bounced around and the shot clock hit zero, giving the Orange possession.The entire game, Mellen kept Teat in check, whether it was at even strength or while man-down. But that didn’t matter, as Cornell won the game.Danny Varello bounces backOne of Syracuse’s biggest struggles all season long has been its success at the faceoff X. Since the Orange lost Ben Williams to graduation, it has relied on sophomore Danny Varello to fill the hole left by the All-American.And since March 24, when Varello won just 2-of-12 faceoffs against Duke, he has won the faceoff battle just once out of eight times — against North Carolina.But on Sunday, Varello won the faceoff battle handily. He had multiple pick-and-pop wins and other times, his wings scooped up loose ground balls after Varello sent the ball backwards.By the end of the first half, Varello had taken all but one faceoff — a win from Seth DeLisle. The Orange entered the break up two and had dominated the faceoff game, going 9-for-13.The second half trended the same, with Syracuse’s wings coming up big after multiple scrums off the faceoff. Syracuse kept turning the ball over, allowing Cornell to creep back into the game and making each faceoff became much more important.If it weren’t for Varello’s bounce back game, where he finished 12-for-18 from the faceoff X, the game would likely have ended with a larger margin than just one goal. Varello gave SU the opportunities it needed. The offense just couldn’t finish them.Man-Up kills SyracuseSyracuse entered Sunday night as the No. 18 team in the country while man-up, converting at a 41-percent clip. Its offense normally works the ball around before often finding an open man near the crease. But against Cornell, that offense fell short. By the final buzzer, Syracuse had finished 0-for-3 while man-up.Its first man-up came on a slash from Cornell goalkeeper Christian Knight. Jamie Trimboli scored a goal right before the penalty was in effect and the Orange had an opportunity to control momentum even further — SU was already on a 3-0 run. But its only shot came from Brendan Bomberry and it sailed wide.Its next man-up also came after a Syracuse goal — this one from Brendan Curry — late in the third quarter. Stephen Rehfuss sent a cross-field pass to Bomberry, whose shot was saved by Knight. Again, the penalty was killed.And then, trailing by one late in the fourth quarter, SU had a man-up opportunity with the chance to take the lead and gain momentum. But again, Bomberry was stopped by Knight.In the most important game of the season, Syracuse’s extra-man unit fell short. Had it converted on those chances, the Orange would be looking at a whole different game. But it didn’t. Commentslast_img

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