Lax Preview: Syracuse vs Notre Dame

Syracuse looks to win the ACC Tournament their first time in the conference as they face Notre Dame in the title game.

For the second time this season, the Syracuse Orange (No. 4, 10-3, 2-3 ACC) men's lacrosse team will play Notre Dame (No. 9, 7-5, 2-3 ACC) following a game against Duke.

Only this time, it's for the ACC Championship.

On Friday, trailing the second-seeded Blue Devils by one with less than a minute left, Syracuse attackman Randy Staats found Billy Ward with a no-look, behind-the-back pass to tie the game. Then, with less than a second remaining on the clock, Dylan Donahue notched the game winner off a feed from Kevin Rice.

Notre Dame reached the final in similar fashion. With seven seconds left, Matt Kavanagh scored his only goal of the game to knock off the first-seeded Maryland Terrapins.

When the tournament began, few would have predicted a Syracuse-Notre final, but to cite the old cliché, that's why they play the games. Here are five things to watch for in the Syracuse-Notre Dame final:

Keeping Control of Kavanagh
Matt Kavanagh may be the leading scorer for Notre Dame with 24 goals, but in the Orange's 11-10 win against the Fighting Irish earlier this year, Brandon Mullins and the defense blanked Kavanagh, including the thwarting of a last-minute chance to tie the game.

In yesterday's game against Duke, the Orange held the nation's second-leading scorer, Jordan Wolf, to just one goal. By doing a great job in limiting the opponent's top scorers, the Orange is giving itself a great chance against the nation's top teams.

Round Two: Daddio vs. O'Connor
By now, everyone knows of Syracuse faceoff man Chris Daddio's struggles at the X. Over the course of 13 games this season, Daddio won the faceoff battle just six times. The good news for Syracuse is one of the six Daddio wins was against Notre Dame's Liam O' Connor.

Even though O'Connor ranks in the top 15 in faceoff win percentage in the country, Daddio doubled him up at the Dome on March 29, beating O'Connor in 14 out of 21 faceoffs. Though this has to give Daddio confidence, he did only win just 11 draws out of 32 against Duke on Friday.

It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right
After Syracuse lost to Duke 21-7 in embarrassing fashion in the regular season, the Orange made a goaltending change. Instead of playing Dominic Lamolinara the whole game, Syracuse head coach John Desko began splitting time evenly between Lamolinara and junior goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell.

For the past six games in a row, Lamolinara played the first half and Wardwell went in for the second half. The only game that was uneven was the two-overtime game against North Carolina, in which Wardwell stayed in for the extra time. Since Desko made the unorthodox change to playing two goalies evenly every game, Syracuse has not lost.

Notre Dame's Number
Historically, Syracuse is 8-1 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, including the 11-10 win this year. The only win Notre Dame posted against the Orange came in 2012 at Arlotta Stadium. Syracuse has won the past three games against Notre Dame.

Every year Syracuse has been in a conference, it has won the conference championship (Big East 2010-2013). With a win against fellow ACC newcomer Notre Dame, the Orange would go five-for-five and continue the nation's longest active streak.

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