Rutgers vs. Syracuse
April 12, 2008
The Game Story:
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The top-ranked Syracuse men’s lacrosse team (10-1) tallied its eighth win in the last eight outings with a convincing 17-9 victory against Rutgers (4-6) on Saturday at Yurcak Field. The Orange reaches the 10-win plateau for the 19th time in the last 21 seasons.

Senior Mike Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) contributed his second consecutive six-point effort, and fifth of the season, with three goals and three assists. Leveille extends his consecutive points streak to 50 games, posting the fifth-longest stretch in SU program history.

Junior attackman Kenny Nims (Watertown, N.Y.) recorded his second six-point performance of the season with two goals and four helpers. He totaled a career-high seven points on two scores and a personal-best five assists against No. 5 Cornell on April 8. Nims' first quarter tally against the Scarlet Knights was the 50th of his Orange career.

Junior midfielder Dan Hardy (Tully, N.Y.) deposited a career-high four goals and added one assist, matching a personal-best five points in the win. Senior midfielder Steven Brooks (Libertyville, Ill.) and junior attackman Greg Niewieroski (Watertown, N.Y.) contributed three points each on two goals and one helper.

Syracuse’s 17 scores is its most since tallying 21 versus Villanova in the 2008 season opener on February 17.

Saturday’s win marked the ninth time this season that the Syracuse defense held its opponent to less than 10 goals. In its seven straight wins leading up to today, the Orange owned a 270-189 advantage in groundballs. Against the Scarlet Knights, Syracuse tallied 34 groundballs versus just 14 from Rutgers. SU held the hosts scoreless for the first 15:21 of the contest.

Senior faceoff specialist Danny Brennan (Farmington, N.Y.) powered SU with a club-leading eight groundballs. After being held to under 50 percent for the first time against the Big Red on Tuesday, he boasted a dominating 16-for-22 performance at the X. Brennan raised his career faceoffs won total 420, moving into sole possession of fourth place all-time. Overall, the Orange won 20-of-30 draws against the Scarlet Knights.

The Orange jumped to a three-goal lead in the opening stanza behind three different goal scorers. Syracuse’s patience on its opening possession paid dividends after Niewieroski found the back of the net off a feed from Leveille at the 11:50 mark. Less than three minutes following, Brooks connected on an unassisted score down the left alley with 7:54 remaining.

Brooks helped supply the Orange with the three-score edge, setting up Nims’ first goal from the top of the box with 4:32 on the clock. The Scarlet Knights trimmed their deficit to one goal following back-to-back scores from Justin Pennington and Tad Stanwick in the final four minutes.

Syracuse took command of the contest with five unanswered goals to start the second quarter. Hardy ignited the scoring run with a missile from 15-feet out after receiving a pass from Leveille at the 12:28 mark. Leveille pushed the Orange advantage to three goals, 5-2, after he deposited a goal off an inside roll across the front of the crease just 66 seconds later. Junior middie Matt Abbott (Syracuse, N.Y.) tickled the twine with 10:37 remaining in the stanza, handing the visitor’s a 6-2 cushion.

The Orange lead ballooned to 8-2 with 6:46 left before halftime after Niewieroski and Hardy tallied their second scores of the game. Rutgers attackman Kory Kelly spared the hosts of a scoreless second quarter with a goal with 53 ticks remaining.

Leveille’s second goal of the game, at the 9:26 mark of the third frame, came on a man-up opportunity. Syracuse, ranked seventh nationally (20-for-45, .444) on the advantage entering Saturday’s contest, has tallied at least one extra-man goal in each game this season. Hardy’s third tally of the afternoon, off a feed from Niewieroski, provided the Orange with a seven-goal cushion, 11-4, with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter.

After Keogh’s score with 9:36 remaining, the Orange controlled a convincing 13-7 lead. However, consecutive goals separated by 59 seconds from RU’s Taylor Bottar and Pennington trimmed the Rutgers’ deficit to 13-9 just under the seven minute barrier.

Syracuse quickly extinguished any thoughts of a Scarlet Knights’ rally with four goals to close the contest in the final five minutes. Leveille and Nims traded scores, with each adding an assist, at the 4:57 and 4:43 marks, respectively. Sophomore midfielder Max Bartig (East Northport, N.Y.) scored two goals, including his first of the season with 3:57 remaining, in the closing minutes. Rookie Jack Harmatuk (Syracuse, N.Y.) tallied his first-career point on Bartig's second score.

Rookie goalkeeper John Galloway (Syracuse, N.Y.) logged slightly more than 56 minutes, making four stops, before making way for sophomore netminder Al Cavalieri (Lathrup Village, Mich.) for the final 3:53. Abbott, senior defensive middie John Carrozza (Katonah, N.Y.) and junior middie Pat Perritt (Holtsville, N.Y.) tallied three groundballs each.

Pennington led the Scarlet Knights with three points on three goals. Kelly also added three points on two scores and one assist. Collin Donahue, son of Syracuse volunteer assistant coach Kevin Donahue, tallied one assist. Goalie William Olin registered six saves between the pipes.

SU's eight-game win streak is its longest since the 2006 season when it won nine straight contests.

The Orange will look to defend the nation’s fourth-longest home win streak on Friday, April 18 against in-state rival Albany at 7:00 p.m. Syracuse owns a flawless 6-0 mark inside the walls of the Carrier Dome in 2008. SU fans can catch the action against the Great Danes on TimeWarner 26.