Final Statistics: #2/1 Syracuse, #18/17 Army
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The #18/17 Army lacrosse team erased a 7-1 first-quarter deficit and scored eight of the last 12 goals of the contest, but time ran out on the Black Knights upset hopes in an 11-9 setback at No. 2/1 Syracuse on Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.
The highly anticipated contest featured a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Tournament first round game in which the Black Knights defeated then-two-time defending national champion Syracuse (9-8) in double overtime at the Carrier Dome.
Sophomore attackman Garrett Thul paced Army with his first hat trick of the season. Senior midfielder Rob McCallion scored twice in the fourth quarter and assisted on Army's (1-2) final goal of the game for a season-high three points. Senior attackman Jeremy Boltus, playing in front of a hometown crowd, tallied three points in a goal and two assists. Senior goalkeeper Tom Palesky made nine saves, including six in the second quarter as Army began to stage its comeback.
Syracuse (2-0) out-shot Army by a 25-8 margin in the first half, but the Black Knights rebounded to hold a 20-9 edge over the final 30 minutes. Syracuse won 14 of 23 face-offs and held a 28-22 advantage in ground balls. Both teams finished 1-of-4 on extra-man opportunities.
Syracuse scored on seven of its first nine shots and led Army 7-0 before Thul got the Black Knights on the board with his first of his three goals in a man-up situation. Syracuse senior goalie John Galloway appeared to stop Thul's shot from 12 yards out, but the ball snuck in the goal with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Syracuse matched its largest advantage of the game with the first goal of the second quarter, extending its lead to 8-1 before Army dug in defensively and began to find its rhythm in the offensive zone.
Both teams netted two goals in the second quarter, leaving Army staring at a 9-3 deficit heading into halftime.
"You have to give Syracuse a lot of credit," said head coach Joe Alberici. "They certainly came out on fire and played very well. I would have liked to have seen us play a little better in the first quarter. They capitalized on every mistake we made. That's why they are the number one team in the country.
"I thought we got back to Army lacrosse over the last three quarters, but came up short at the end. Any time you come and play against a team of that caliber, you're going to learn something. In the first quarter, we learned what not to do. Over the last three we weren't looking for something to just take away. We came for a victory."
Army opened the second half scoring when senior midfielder Brandon Butler took advantage of an Orange miscue, ran the ball coast-to-coast for his first goal of the season to make it 9-4 Orange with 9:18 to play in the third quarter. The Black Knights went on to hold Syracuse scoreless over the remainder of the quarter and did so for a span of nearly 26 minutes stretching the final 2:33 of the first half and 9:09 into the fourth quarter.
"That first quarter was rough, but when things happen you have to go back to fundamentals," said Palesky. "That defensive stance was incredible. For them to dig that deep for so long, that's what really got me going."
"We just needed to start executing the game plan," added senior defenseman Bill Henderson. "It's not like we came out flat or weren't playing hard in the beginning of the game. We just weren't executing and were a step slow to things, which allowed them to capitalize on our mistakes. We have one of the best goaltenders in the country behind us, so as a defense we knew if we just started giving him better looks at the ball, he was going to start saving it."
The Black Knights continued to chip away at the deficit in the meantime, using a four-goal barrage during a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter. Sophomore midfielder Pat Brennan got the rally going as he found the top corner of the cage for his first career goal with 10:35 on the clock.
Just over two minutes later, rookie midfielder Tyler Kamide laced his second goal in as many games, hauling in a pass from Boltus and pulling Army within three goals (9-6) at the 8:23 mark.
The Black Knights continued to take advantage of every possession midway through the fourth quarter. Palesky stopped a JoJo Marasco shot on the next Orange possession and Army capitalized as McCallion tallied his first point of the year. Dodging from the right side, McCallion's score with 6:35 remaining inched Army within two (9-7).
Syracuse won the next two face-offs and it resulted in junior attackman Tim Desko completing his first career hat trick to give the Orange a three-goal cushion (10-7) with 5:51.
Syracuse went on to kill an Army man-up chance a minute later, but the Black Knights' rally continued on the next possession when McCallion struck again with an unassisted goal at the 4:35 mark. Thul brought the Army crowd to its feed and the Black Knights within one goal (10-9) when he ripped a shot from 20 yards into the top left corner of the goal. That would end Army's scoring, while Syracuse's Jeremy Thompson's second goal of the day gave the Orange some insurance with 1:06 to play.
Desko and JoJo Marasco paced Syracuse with three goals apiece. Galloway made nine saves, seven of which came in the second half.
"It was a frustrating start to the game for us because we know what we're capable of," Boltus said. "We had a game plan and we just didn't execute right away. As the game went along, we got back to our roots and saw what we could do. This team is still looking for its identity and I think we started to find it as the game went on."
After playing its first three games on the road, Army will make its home debut on Saturday, March 5, when the Black Knights play host to #6/5 Cornell at 12 p.m. Army posted a 6-1 record at Michie Stadium a year ago. Season tickets for six Army home contests can be purchased for $25 for adults and $19 for youth/senior citizens. Single game tickets run $6 for adults and $4 for youth/senior citizens.
Game Notes: The game pitted brothers Matt Marasco of Army and JoJo Marasco of Syracuse against one another ... Garrett Thul and Jeremy Boltus extended their point-scoring streaks to 12 games, respectively ... Army leads the all-time series against Syracuse, 39-20 ... a crowd of 4,443 took in Sunday's game.
|Jojo Marasco||(3, 2)|
|Tim Desko||(3, 0)|
|Josh Amidon||(0, 2)|
|Jeremy Thompson||(2, 0)|
|Jovan Miller||(2, 0)|
|Stephen Keogh||(1, 0)|
|John Galloway||9 (0.500)|