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Syracuse men’s lacrosse’s defense crumbles in 13-7 quarterfinal loss to Maryland

first_imgPROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brandon Mullins wasn’t even near Matt Rambo. He was a few yards away and not close enough to make a play on the star attack. Rambo had him beat on that play, and throughout the entire game.The Maryland attack who entered Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup with 35 goals on the season curled around the crease and threw the ball in while absorbing a hit from behind and crashing to the grass.The goal was the Terrapins’ seventh and the last of the second quarter. It took Syracuse the entire game just to reach that total.“They took advantage of any mistakes we had,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said of Maryland’s offense.The No. 8 seed Orange’s (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) season came to an end with a 13-7 loss to top-seeded Maryland (16-2, 5-0 Big Ten) on Saturday at Brown Stadium with a trip to the Final Four on the line. For the seventh straight year, SU lost its final game, extending its longest national championship drought since 1983. And Rambo’s effectiveness against Mullins spearheaded a Maryland attack that accounted for seven of 13 goals.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRambo’s four goals and Syracuse transfer Dylan Maltz’s three did the Orange in. SU spent the second half of the year proving that its four losses in a five-game stretch were an anomaly. But the combination of Rambo, who kept beating Mullins, and Maltz, who kept finding pockets of open space inside, was the perfect pairing to end SU’s six-game win streak.“We tried to just keep it simple,” Maryland midfielder Bryan Cole said.Syracuse’s defensive trio of Mullins, who typically matched up with bigger, more physical attacks, Nick Mellen, who took smaller, shiftier attacks, and Jay McDermott, a hybrid of the two, ranked 13th in the nation allowing 8.5 goals per game.But Rambo mixed both size and speed as he ran past Mullins with his 195-pound body and the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Maltz, who was defended by Mellen, posted up in the trenches in front of the net.To kick off the Terps’ scoring, Rambo curled around the crease by beating Mullins and wedged a sidearm shot into the top opposite corner of the goal. And that was only the beginning of his monster day.“He’s so strong that if he gets a little leverage coming off a pick, he’s a hard guy to stop,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said of Rambo. “We felt like that would be something we would try.”The last time Syracuse allowed 10 or more goals in a game was the last time it lost, on April 12 against Cornell in overtime. Desko credited the slide-and-recovery game as opposing offenses weren’t able to take advantage of successful dodges over the past month.Until Saturday.Maryland worked the two-man game nearly to perfection as Rambo dominated Mullins and when he couldn’t beat him one-on-one, he made quick, sharp decisions to pass it back to the player who set the pick for him.Maltz, meanwhile, feasted on the interior of SU’s defense. His first goal came after making an off-ball cut to in front of the goal. He caught it, shot it and finished. Then he pumped his fist and pounded his chest after putting UMD up by three in the first quarter.About five minutes of game time later, Maltz found himself open from 5 yards out. Another finish from close range. And then when Syracuse switched to a zone to give the Terps a different look, Maltz again snuck into an empty seam next to the goal and again scored.“They have good shooters from up top, players who can make plays behind (the net) and good finishers on bottom,” Mullins said.“So it’s kind of hard to cover everyone at once.”SU inched closer by cutting the deficit to 8-5 midway through the third quarter, but committed a penalty shortly after. Maryland went on the man-up — another chance for Rambo to show off his skill set. This time he fired in an overhand shot from about 10 yards out.Even when Syracuse got close, Rambo and the rest of the Maryland offense was there to answer.“We just couldn’t get over that hump,” Mullins said, “that one more play.”Instead it was Maryland making the one more play and reaching the Final Four was the hump Syracuse couldn’t get over for the third straight year. Comments Related Stories Syracuse men’s lacrosse’s season ends with 13-7 loss to Maryland in NCAA quarterfinalsFast reaction: 3 quick takeaways from Syracuse’s NCAA quarterfinal 13-7 loss to Maryland Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on May 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more