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Just when there was a glimmer of hope that Syracuse might erase a five-goal deficit, No. 6 Notre Dame extinguished it. With the Orange trailing 13-9 near the end of the third quarter, Pat Kavanagh — who’s now averaged 9.25 points per game in four career contests against SU — stood tall at X and dished a timely pass to a cutting teammate.
Notre Dame scored, and Kavanagh finished Sunday afternoon’s game with nine points. He, alongside goalie Liam Entenmann’s career-high 22 saves, led No. 6 Notre Dame past SU for the second time this season. And now, for the first time in the program’s 106-year history, Syracuse has lost 10 games in a year.
Here are some observations from Syracuse’s (4-10, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) 18-11 loss to No. 6 Notre Dame (7-4, 4-1 ACC):
Pat Kavanagh does his thing (as usual) against SU
Last year against Syracuse, Pat Kavanagh had nine points (four goals, five assists) in the first game and 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the second. This year, he had nine points in the first contest (three goals, six assists). And on Sunday, the junior replicated that total with four goals and five assists.
It started in the first 30 seconds of the game, when Kavanagh attempted an acrobatic between-the-legs shot that goalie Harrison Thompson saved. But from there, Kavanagh used his vision and abilities as a facilitator to dissect the SU defense. He threw the extra pass to Wheaton Jackoboice to make it 3-1, and then found a cutting Will Angrick to make it 4-2.
The latter was the start of a 5-0 run, one that effectively put the game out of reach for SU. Kavanagh was wide-open after a defensive miscommunication from the Orange to score his first goal. He had plenty of space to load up a step-down shot in the third period too.
Syracuse doesn’t convert enough man-up opportunities
The first half was littered with faceoff violations. SU’s Jakob Phaup picked up three and Notre Dame had four, meaning 30-second man-up opportunities for both teams. The Fighting Irish cashed in on their only first half chance immediately when no one closed down Eric Dobson. He made it 9-4.
But Syracuse went 0-of-4 on man-up chances in the first half. On the first, Tucker Dordevic tried a shot that Liam Entenmann saved. Jacob Buttermore fired a quick, off-balance shot on another that was also saved.
Mistakes, once again, cost the SU defense
All season, Syracuse’s defensive mistakes — such as miscommunications and missed or late slides — have cost the Orange. Sunday afternoon in the season-finale was no different.
Notre Dame made the extra pass and found David Lipka, a former SU player, on the backdoor for an easy second goal. Landon Clary couldn’t slide in time to cover the space, and Angrick scored UND’s fourth goal on a feed from Kavanagh.
Brendan Curry got trapped when Notre Dame struck quickly in transition, and Morrison Mirer used a straightforward dodge to create a foot of separation against Curry, a primarily offensive player, and score. Grant Murphy was also late to slide after a smooth, spin-dodge from Eric Dobson. The UND midfielder got past Brandon Aviles, and then pinged the top corner before Murphy could arrive.
And Kavanagh had acres of space to load up a step-down shot when Nick Caccamo didn’t close down quickly enough, stretching Notre Dame’s lead to six goals in the third quarter.
The Orange strike in transition
Syracuse looked dangerous in transition on Sunday, despite the season-ending loss. For the Orange’s second goal, Aviles got downfield in a hurry and teed up Owen Seebold for the finish.
SU’s most electrifying goal of the afternoon came in transition as well. Down five goals at the end of the third quarter, the play started with Harrison Thompson. The goalie saved a shot, picked up his head, and unleashed a precise, 40-yard bomb to Saam Olexo. The long-pole found Seebold, who made the extra pass to Jackson Birtwistle to help pull SU back into it.
Syracuse’s goalie competition continues
Head coach Gary Gait has flip-flopped between Thompson and UVA transfer Bobby Gavin all season. Last week against Virginia, Gavin was pulled for Thompson after the first seven minutes.
This week, Thompson got his third career start against Notre Dame and played all 60 minutes for just the second time. He finished with 10 saves and 18 goals allowed.
Gait has repeatedly said that both goalies have similar skill sets, and now, the competition for the starting job will surely continue through the offseason.
The post Observations from SU-UND: Kavanagh dominates, SU’s defense issues resurface appeared first on The Daily Orange.