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The latest of Syracuse’s up-and-down season was a 22-6 loss to Notre Dame, the biggest margin it has lost to an opponent since 1977 against Hobart. The loss against the Fighting Irish bounced SU out of Inside Lacrosse’s top 20 rankings for the third time this season. The Orange tied a season low 21 shots on goal while allowing a 12-0 run from Notre Dame to start the game.
Still, the Orange have the ability to bounce back from their inconsistency when they face UAlbany, likely their last unranked opponent of the year. The Great Danes haven’t beat a team inside the top 20, and lost by 18 goals to No. 1 Maryland.
Here’s what our beat writers predict when Syracuse (4-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) faces UAlbany (3-5, 2-1 America East):
Alex Cirino (5-4)
Time to reset
Syracuse 17, UAlbany 10
After securing its first win over a ranked opponent, Syracuse fell to a new season low last Saturday when it lost 22-6 to Notre Dame. Thursday’s matchup against UAlbany couldn’t be a more perfect bounce-back opportunity for an Orange team that fell out of the rankings for the third time this season. The Great Danes are Syracuse’s final unranked opponent of the season, and this will be the matchup SU needs to bail it out of potentially ruining its remaining NCAA Tournament hopes.
Though UAlbany is coming off a two-game win streak, neither of those games came against ranked opponents. In fact, the Great Danes are winless against teams inside the top 20, and they have failed to score more than 13 goals in a game. Syracuse can obviously rely on its offense, which is what will ultimately carry it to victory. Tucker Dordevic and company are poised for another offensive outpour in a timely tune-up game before facing a trio of teams ranked within the top 15.
Roshan Fernandez (5-4)
The last ‘gimme’
Syracuse 14, UAlbany 9
Syracuse is in some serious trouble if it can’t piece together a victory against UAlbany — the Great Danes are SU’s final unranked opponent of the regular season. SU needs this win, desperately, to get back to .500 before it plays four ranked games to close out the season. The Great Danes are solid competition, but Syracuse is clearly the favorite. The game should serve as a much-needed confidence booster after the Orange suffered a 16-goal loss to Notre Dame, their largest margin of defeat since 1977.
UAlbany also sits below .500 on the season, with an 18-goal loss to No. 1 Maryland and an eight-goal one to then-No. 17 Cornell. The Great Danes have a balanced offense that features Graydon Hogg, Camden Hay and Corey Yunker, who each have at least 12 goals. I think that’ll be just the all-around test that SU’s defense needs to try and get back into rhythm.
Anish Vasudevan (7-2)
Back to .500
Syracuse 20, UAlbany 10
The rest of the Orange’s year will be dependent on how they respond in their next two games. UAlbany needs to be the tune-up for Syracuse in all three phases of the game before taking on No. 6 Cornell, who it will need to upset in order to improve its chances for an NCAA Tournament berth. Defense will be the biggest point of emphasis for SU, which has to plug in holes in the middle of its defense that Notre Dame repeatedly broke by kick-starting its offense from behind the cage.
I’m expecting a big outing from Syracuse’s offense with this mismatch against the Great Danes. Dordevic will be doubled early in the game, but through picks and other sets that the Orange have run repeatedly this season, he should be able to score five or more goals while assisting his teammates. Brendan Curry, Mikey Berkman and Owen Seebold should find the same luck, helping Syracuse get a much needed bounce-back win.
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