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Friday, April 12, 2024
The Observer

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Irish to play Syracuse in Saturday showdown

A top-three lacrosse matchup will put top-ranked Notre Dame to the test

The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team has had a strong start to the season. The defending national champion Irish are 5-1, with their only loss coming in overtime against Georgetown late in February.  

Now, the Irish are set to host Syracuse on Holy Saturday. This will be one of the toughest games for Notre Dame this season before the NCAA Tournament begins. As the new top-ranked team in the nation, the Irish are trying to get back-to-back titles. 

Syracuse, currently No. 3, will be Notre Dame’s highest-ranked opponent of the season so far with No. 5 Duke and No. 7 Cornell to come in the next two weeks. The consistently high-ranked opponents should get Notre Dame in great playing shape and give it a lot of confidence going into the postseason if the games go well. 

The Orange have had a pretty good start to the season themselves, going 9-2. Their two losses came against current No. 12 Maryland and No. 6 Army. This is interesting as they also beat No. 5 Duke and No. 8 Johns Hopkins earlier this year, suggesting that Syracuse either had a few really off days or played to the level of its opponent. 

During their most recent game on Saturday, the Orange beat Hobart 13-7. Hobart actually scored first, and the two teams went into halftime with Syracuse leading by only one. This is likely because leading scorer Owen Hiltz was out with a day-to-day lower body injury. Syracuse’s Christian Mulé led the team to victory with three goals, and three other players scored two each. 

Joey Spallina and Owen Hiltz are leading the team with 24 goals each this season. Mulé is right behind them at 21. Spallina had an off game against Hobart, not scoring any goals and only accumulating three assists.

It is likely that for a top matchup against Notre Dame, Syracuse’s leaders will rally to try to defeat the reigning champions. But with the scoring numbers the Irish have been putting up recently, that could be a difficult task. 

Notre Dame and Syracuse will collide at 2 p.m. on Saturday for each team’s final game of March.