Behind a dominating face-off performance from Ben Williams, Syracuse lacrosse jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first half and held off a late Virginia attempt at a rally to hand the Hoos their first loss of the season, 15-9.
The Orange won 9 of 11 first-half face-offs and notched a touchdown's worth of goals before Virginia got on the board. Combined with a 7-1 advantage in extra-man opportunities, the face-off differential gave Syracuse an enormous possession edge. The few times Virginia had possession in the first half led to little production until Greg Coholan knocked the lid off the cage with 3:37 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The lackluster offensive performance ruined an exceptional day in the cage by Virginia goalie Matt Barrett. With 20 saves, Barrett kept a sliver of hope open for the offense to find its legs. Defensive breakdowns cost the Hoos on numerous occasions, leaving Syracuse scorers right on the doorstep. The man-down unit struggled the most, allowing Syracuse to convert 5 of their 7 opportunities.
Coholan, Ryan Tucker, and Zed Williams each had 2 goals for the Cavaliers. Nicky Galasso and Kevin Rice led the way for Syracuse with 4 and 3 goals, respectively.
As is the wont for a Syracuse-Virginia game, the play was physical throughout. Tucker was on the receiving end of a monster blow by Syracuse's Mike Messina during a groundball scrum. Williams returned the favor minutes later with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder blow on an Orange shooter. Despite the physicality all remaining clean, the officials tightened up their calls in the second half and kept the Orange in the man-up.
Virginia returns to action in Charlottesville against Cornell on March 7th.