Men's Roundup: Syracuse Tops Virginia in ACC Opener
Syracuse and Virginia have met 32 times in the history of their storied rivalry, and seemingly all of those games have been down-to-the-wire, exciting finishes.
Perhaps that's a bit of an oversimplification, but Friday's meeting in Charlottesville did not disappoint. The fifth-ranked Orange built a five-goal second half lead and did just enough to withstand a furious charge from the No. 13 Cavaliers and escape Klockner Stadium with a 14-13 win to improve to 4-0 overall in the ACC opener for both teams.
Syracuse used a balanced scoring attack, getting three goals apiece from Derek DeJoe, Tim Barber and Nick Mariano while Sergio Salcido and Dylan Donahue added a pair each. The Orange used a 4-0 spurt bridging the third and fourth quarters to go ahead 13-8. Mariano's second tally of the game gave Syracuse that margin with 14:09 remaining in the game before Virginia (2-3, 0-1) made a move.
"We were just canning our shots on offense," Mariano said. "We were shooting really well, especially in the first and second quarters."
The Cavs got two goals from Greg Coholan and one each from A.J. Fish and Ryan Lukacovic in the span of slightly over four minutes to cut the deficit to one and send the 1,983 orange-and-blue clad fans who had braved a chilly day into a frenzy.
Virginia kept the pressure on by winning the ensuing faceoff, but Syracuse goalie Warren Hill, who made a career-high 13 saves, stopped Coholan's possible tying shot and the Orange successfully cleared.
"[Warren] made a terrific one-on-one save there in the fourth quarter off an unsettled situation," Syracuse head coach John Desko said. "He was huge for us. He's been playing pretty steady lately. I think he might want to have a couple back from today, but he played extremely well."
Then, Mariano finally stopped the bleeding, beating UVA goalie Matt Barrett over the shoulder after coming out of a crowd in front of the cage. The Cavaliers turned the ball over on their next possession, but James Pannell scored with 37 seconds remaining to make it a one-score game yet again.
But it was the faceoff circle that was the Virginia's downfall as the Wahoos were whistled for a faceoff violation, giving Syracuse possession, and the Orange managed to keep the ball away from the Hoos as they melted the clock for the victory, evening the all-time series between the teams at 16-all. It was Syracuse's first win in Charlottesville since 2004.
"I didn't see exactly what happened," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said of the violation. "It was such a bang-bang play, so I couldn't tell you for sure. We had a great officiating crew and I'm sure they got it right."
Syracuse led 8-7 after a first half which featured four ties and a pair of lead changes. The Orange raced out to an early 3-0 lead behind two goals from DeJoe and one by Dylan Donahue, but Virginia punched right back, pulling even on James Pannell's bouncer with 2:22 to go in the opening quarter. Tim Barber answered to give Syracuse a 4-3 lead after one, and the heavyweight bout was on.
"I looked over the years – a fast-paced game, one and two-goal games many times over the years, so I didn't expect anything else," Desko said. "It was a good win for us. It was our first time on grass all season. We have four ACC regular-season games, and getting the first one is very comforting."
Pannell led Virginia with four goals while Fish and Coholan added two each. Lukacovic netted four assists for the Cavaliers.
Virginia stayed in the game in the first half largely due to converting on three extra-man opportunities. They finished 4-for-6 for the game, while Syracuse was 3-for-4. Syracuse held a decided advantage in the faceoff circle due to the play of Ben Williams, who guided the Orange to an 18-11 edge. Virginia countered that with a 43-29 edge in ground balls. Virginia outshot Syracuse 38-31 with a 26-21 advantage in shots on goal.
"[Williams] is special," Starsia said. "I was actually proud of the faceoffs tonight because I thought we battled real hard. I don't take for granted that we played hard and we work and do those kinds of things, but we made too many mistakes to win this game. That's lacrosse."
Syracuse returns to action next Saturday when it hosts St. John's at the Carrier Dome for a 4 p.m faceoff. Virginia entertains St. Joseph's on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Bellarmine, Ohio State Escape with Wins in Midwest Lacrosse Classic
from LaxMagazine.com staff reports
Despite a last second shot from Detroit's Mark Anstead, which ricocheted off the post, Bellarmine hung on for a 7-6 victory over the Titans in the opening game of the 2016 Midwest Classic in Ohio Stadium at Ohio State. Andrew Schoeneck collected a hat trick to lead the Knights' offensive attack, which featured seven assists on all seven goals. With the win, Bellarmine improves to 2-3 on the season while Detroit falls to 0-4.
"It was definitely a nail-biter," said Bellarmine coach Kevin Burns. "We made some unfortunate turnovers down the stretch, but Detroit played well and kept battling back. Their goalie [Jason Weber] is one of the best in the country."
"We did some things the best we've done them all year," he added. "Hopefully, we can also make this a positive and learn from our mistakes."
Ohio State followed up Bellarmine's tight success with a 12-8 win over Marquette. Carter Brown's four points from three goals and one assist lifted the Buckeyes despite the Golden Eagles' futile attempts to take the lead.
With five seconds remaining in the first quarter, Marquette's Conor Gately tied the match at 2, yet Ohio State had the 6-4 edge at halftime. The Eagles would come within one twice more, but the Buckeyes' 4-1 run in the final 10:31, capped by Brown's assist on Eric Fannell's goal, sealed the deal.
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