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Brett Kennedy referred to No. 14 Syracuse and Hobart’s rivalry as one of the oldest, dating back to the start of collegiate lacrosse. In 2021, the Orange weren’t able to face off against the Statesmen, but they’ve held onto the Kraus-Simmons Trophy for the last eight years.
“It will always be important and something that this program cherishes,” Kennedy said about the trophy.
And coming off a three game losing streak, Kennedy said that Hobart is coming ready to take advantage of SU’s struggles, after nearly upsetting No. 9 Cornell in its last matchup. Still the Orange have a “fire under them,” Kennedy added, to maintain their control over the rivalry.
Here’s everything you need to know about Hobart (2-1, 0-0 Northeast) before it plays No. 14 Syracuse (1-3, 0-1 ACC) on Saturday:
Syracuse leads the all-time series 78-26-2.
Last time they played
Syracuse last faced the Statesmen after playing Army, when it defeated the Black Knights by two goals in 2020 despite scoring only nine times — the lowest goal total of the season.
Hobart kept it close in the first half, going into halftime trailing by just a goal. But the Orange erupted offensively with 14 goals in the second half to win 21-13. Brendan Curry led the charge for Syracuse, scoring four out of five goals in the second half while assisting on another.
Kennedy made his first start as a lead coverage player, but he struggled guarding Hobart attack Eric Holden as he finished with three penalties. Still, Tucker Dordevic finished with five goals, getting back to normal form after missing 500 days due to two foot surgeries. And after a 4-0 run in the third period, Jamie Trimboli scored two goals to seal the game.
The Statesmen report
Hobart has one of the best shooting percentages in the country, sitting at 15th nationally with a 33.6% success rate on 143 total shots. 60 of those attempts came in its season-opening win over Canisius, which was the first time the Statesmen scored over 20 goals in a single game since their win over Colgate on Feb. 22, 2020.
The reason behind Hobart’s offensive success has been its ability to win faceoffs, successfully winning 54.2% of its matchups at the X. Junior Adam Shea leads the unit at 55%, coming off of last season when he finished with the ninth-best faceoff winning percentage in the country. But the offense has been aided by Kevin Holtby’s ability to stop shots in the cage, as he has only allowed 12.65 goals per game.
How Syracuse beats the Statesmen
With the Statesmen having one of the best attacks in the country, the Orange need their defense to step up on Sunday. Though SU has added defensive coordinator Dave Pietramala to its staff, its defense has barely improved from its struggles last season. This year, Syracuse has allowed exactly 14 goals per game in four matchups, giving up an average of 14.07 in 13 games during the 2021 season.
Against the Black Knights, the Orange made goalie changes as well, substituting Harrison Thompson in for Bobby Gavin after the first period. Head coach Gary Gait said that the Orange haven’t announced who will earn the starting spot against Hobart, but Thompson struggled to stop the Army comeback in the fourth period, meaning that Gavin will likely get the start again.
Offensively, the Orange can’t rely on Griffin Cook and Lucas Quinn like it has already this year, needing its main attack to step up. Just like their last matchup against the Statesmen, Dordevic, Owen Seebold and Curry need to get off to a hot start. Curry in particular has not met his usual caliber this season, with the 16th-worst shooting percentage on the team.
Stat to know: 16 goals per game
The Statesmen have the ninth-best scoring offense nationally, with 48 goals in its three games this season. The majority of that total came in its 22-13 win over Canisius with Tommy Mott adding five of those goals.
Hobart’s goals per game is up almost four scores from last season but down from 19.6 goals per game through five games in 2021. Half of Hobart’s goals this year have come off assists, with Ryan Archer notching a team-high eight. Five resulted from man-up opportunities, a mark that ranks 20th in the country.
Player to watch: Ryan Archer, No. 6, attack
In order to stop Hobart’s attack from continuously producing, the Orange must stop Archer from scoring and dishing out the ball. Archer has a team-high 16 points so far this season, including eight goals on just 23 shots.
If the Orange want to keep the Kraus-Simmons Trophy, they must win the defensive matchup against Archer. They can’t repeat their struggles against the Cavaliers “quarterback” Connor Shellenberger one week ago, who notched three goals and four assists en route to a 20-11 win.