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Syracuse is on the brink of its first 10-loss season in the program’s 106-year history. The Orange’s five-game losing streak started on April 2 in Notre Dame, when they lost by 16 goals for the first time since 1977.
Now, the Fighting Irish are heading back to the Carrier Dome for the first time since their 22-8 win over SU at the end of last season. They’re ranked 27th in Lacrosse Reference’s postseason bracketology.
Here’s what our beat writers think will happen in Syracuse’s final regular-season game:
Alex Cirino (6-7)
Notre Dame 18, Syracuse 13
Syracuse’s current five-game losing streak began when the two teams last played in South Bend at the start of April. Notre Dame handed the Orange their biggest margin of defeat since 1977 in a 22-6 scoreline. On Sunday, I don’t see SU snapping its losing streak with an upset win at the Dome. It was hardly competitive against then-No. 6 Virginia last week and has only defeated one ranked team all season.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish have been on a tear since their blowout victory over the Orange, having won four straight, including a seven-goal defeat over North Carolina last Thursday. Pat Kavanagh will be enough of a threat for Syracuse, but Jake Taylor, who recorded a career-high eight goals in April, has found success ever since, averaging a hat trick in the three games that followed. Expect players like Brendan Curry and Owen Seebold to ignite Syracuse’s attack in their final game for the Orange, but it won’t be enough to put a positive spin on a rather disappointing start to the Gary Gait era.
Roshan Fernandez (7-6)
Notre Dame 15, Syracuse 13
A loss on Sunday to Notre Dame would make Syracuse finish with a .286 win-percentage this year, the fifth-worst season in program history and worst since 1975. The Orange were utterly ineffective in their 22-6 loss against Notre Dame earlier this year, allowing nine points to Pat and a program-record eight goals to Taylor — who’d scored just three career goals before the game. The offense stalled, scoring a season-low six goals. Granted, the defeat was on the road, where Syracuse has struggled this season.
But SU is just too inconsistent for me to pick them to win. The Fighting Irish are playing well as of late, with four straight wins. The Orange have been good, in spurts, on offense, and good, in spurts, on defense, too. Yet they seem to continuously slip up in the final moments of close games and for that reason, I’m not going to pick against the Kavanaghs and a Notre Dame team that sits on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Anish Vasudevan (8-5)
End of the road
Notre Dame 20, Syracuse 11
The last time the Orange faced the Fighting Irish this season, they were coming off two straight wins, including an upset over then-No. 10 Duke. A win over Notre Dame would have put Syracuse back on track after an up-and-down year. Instead, the exact opposite happened. SU scored a season-low six goals and allowed a season-high 22. Syracuse has lost every game since then, with the Fighting Irish coming back to the Carrier Dome for the first time since Pat put a UND record 10 points on the Orange last season.
If the Orange’s defense stops Pat, his younger brother Chris could get going. And even if they stop both brothers, Taylor could have another record-breaking day. The only thing SU can do is not try to lose by 16 goals again, but a win is almost impossible.
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