Syracuse Controls Notre Dame in Big East Semi
from staff reports
|Derek Maltz (above) and JoJo
Marasco each had four points to lead Syracuse past Notre Dame and
into Saturday's Big East final.
© Kevin P. Tucker
VILLANOVA, Pa. — Junior Derek Maltz and senior JoJo Marasco each had four points to lead second-seeded Syracuse (12-3) to a 9-3 win against No. 3 seed Notre Dame (10-4) in the semifinals of the Big East Championship Thursday at Villanova Stadium. Maltz recorded two goals and two assists, and Marasco finished with four assists to tie Paul Gait's school season record for most assists by a midfielder (34 in 1990).
The Orange advances to the conference championship game for the second straight year and will face Villanova at noon Saturday on ESPNU.
In addition to Marasco and Maltz sparking the offense, Syracuse received a tremendous effort from its defense for the second time in six days against the Irish. Last Saturday, Notre Dame scored a season-low four goals against the Orange. Syracuse did even better Thursday, limiting the Irish to three goals. The Orange kept Notre Dame off the scoreboard for a stretch of 35:19 from the second to the fourth quarter and helped force 15 Irish turnovers.
"I thought the defense, once again, was superb," Orange head coach John Desko said. "They just played solid all game long. When they did have some good opportunities, I thought Dom (Lamolinara) made some great saves today. As a result, I think that's why the score was the way it was."
With the defense keeping the Irish at bay, the Orange offense scored three goals in the last four minutes of the second quarter to take a 5-2 halftime lead. Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue started the scoring spree by finishing a Maltz feed in transition with 3:14 left in the half. Less than a minute later, Maltz dished to redshirt sophomore Hakeem Lecky who fired past Notre Dame goalie John Kemp to make it a 4-2 advantage. Sophomore Kevin Rice capped the first-half scoring by converting a Marasco feed at the 1:25 mark of the period.
In the third quarter, Syracuse continued to pour it on as Maltz scored back-to-back goals to extend the Orange advantage to 7-2. The Orange lead eventually swelled to seven (9-2) before Nick Ossello notched the last goal of the game, finally snapping the Notre Dame scoring drought.
Lamolinara anchored the defense with 10 saves, five in each half. Redshirt senior defenseman David Hamlin also played a key role. Hamlin picked up two ground balls, caused one turnover and shut out Notre Dame leading scorer Matt Kavanagh.
Ossello, Tyler Kimball and Sean Rogers accounted for Notre Dame's three goals. The Irish also got 15 saves from Kemp in the loss.
Game Notes: Syracuse improved to 6-0 against top 10 teams this season and 3-0 all-time in BIG EAST Tournament play with the victory ... Marasco's four assists is an Orange BIG EAST Tournament record ... Redshirt sophomore Peter Macartney collected a season-high five ground balls ... Lecky finished the game with two goals ... Lecky has four goals in two games against Notre Dame this season ... For Kavanagh, it was the second time in 14 games this year he was held without a point ... The other was March 9 versus Hofstra ... The 35:19 scoring drought was the longest for an Orange opponent this season.