May 7, 2011

'Cuse Empties Bench, Cements Big East Title

from press release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 1 Syracuse captured its second consecutive outright BIG EAST Championship on Saturday, May 7 with a 20-6 win against St. John’s (4-10, 2-4) in the regular-season finale for both teams at the Carrier Dome. The Orange received goals from 15 different players in the victory and the team’s 20 goals marked a season high.

The Orange concludes the regular season with a 14-1 overall record and an undefeated 6-0 mark in the BIG EAST. The team’s 14 regular-season wins are the most for the program since 1949 when it also went 14-1 (no playoffs). In addition, the Orange remained undefeated (12-0) all-time in BIG EAST Conference play.

“All in all, it was a good day for the Orange,” head coach John Desko said. “A lot of guys got in the game. Some seniors got in the game that haven’t had a chance to play this year or they’ve played very little. Some of them scored, so it was a nice way to go out and a good way to finish the regular season.”

Junior Tommy Palasek paced the SU offense with four points (2g, 2a) and classmate Collin Donahue equaled his career high with three points (1g, 2a). Seniors Joel White, Stephen Keogh, sophomore JoJo Marasco and rookie Derek Maltz had two goals apiece.

For White, it was the third two-goal game of his career and his second against the Red Storm. He also had a pair of goals in last year’s 15-7 win at St. John’s.

It was fitting then that White, playing in his final regular-season home game, got the Orange on the board 1:52 into the contest, scoring in transition on SU’s first shot of the game. An unassisted goal by the Red Storm’s Kevin Cernuto tied it with 12:24 left in the first quarter, but it was all Orange after that. Syracuse tallied the next four goals of the game, including a pretty give-and-go from Palasek to junior Kevin Drew, to pull in front by four, 5-1.

Overall, the Orange led 7-2 after the first quarter, and withstood a 3-0 run by St. John’s at the start of the second period to gain an 11-5 halftime advantage.

Included in the Orange’s second-quarter scoring was its first man-down goal of the year. With senior Tim Harder in the penalty box for unnecessary roughness, the Red Storm turned the ball over and Donahue found Marasco alone in front of the St. John’s cage for an easy goal that pushed the margin to 9-5.

A goal by Kieran McArdle at the start of the third quarter brought the Red Storm within five, 11-6. However, McArdle’s tally proved to be St. John’s last of the day. The Orange scored the game’s final nine goals, including seven in the fourth quarter, to cruise to victory.

Syracuse outshot the Red Storm, 50-26. The hosts also held a 41-34 advantage in ground balls and helped force 24 St. John’s turnovers. Senior defenseman John Lade led the Syracuse defensive effort with five ground balls and four caused turnovers.

Faceoffs were the one area where St. John’s got the better of the hosts. The Red Storm’s Jordan Rothman won 16-of-28 draws and picked up a game-best eight ground balls. However, St. John’s wasn’t able to take advantage of the extra possessions Rothman helped generate.

Cernuto finished with team-best two goals for the Red Storm. Dillon Ayers also notched two points for St. John’s, dishing out a pair of assists.

Syracuse will learn its first-round NCAA Tournament opponent on Sunday, May 8 when the 16-team tournament field is announced. The bracket for this year’s men’s lacrosse championship will be revealed live at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

Game Notes

Fifteen members of the Orange program, including 14 players, were recognized prior to the game as part of Senior Day … Already the winningest class in school history, SU’s 2011 seniors improved to 59-7 with Saturday’s victory … Keogh now has 132 goals, tied with Mike Leveille for ninth on the program’s career goals list … The Orange’s 11 first-half goals were its most in one half of play this season … Drew, redshirt freshman Stefan Carpentieri and true freshmen Matt Harris and Pat Powderly were all credited with their first career assists in the game … Harris and Drew both added goals to register the first multi-point games of their careers … Junior Joe Giarrusso, who participated in Saturday’s Senior Day festivities, made his Orange debut and scored with one second left in the contest.


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