Carson, CA – Last year it didn’t matter where Syracuse played Georgetown. They found a way to win both at Georgetown and in the NCAA quarterfinals at Cornell. This year, with the location in California, Georgetown faired much better. The Hoyas were paced by a solid defensive effort led by goalie Rich D’Andrea’s 12 saves with Brodie Merrill matching up well with Syracuse’s main weapon this year, Brian Crockett. Scoring for the Hoyas came from Trevor Casey’s hat trick, two goals each from Nick Miaritis and Matt McBride, and with Sean Denihan contributing a goal and two assists. For Syracuse, Brian Crockett, Greg Rommel, and Steven Brooks had two goals apiece, with Crockett and Rommel adding an assist. Syracuse goalie Jay Pfeifer while contributing 11 saves on the night reached a Syracuse milestone: 600 saves. Pfeifer became just the 6th Syracuse goalie to garner 600 saves over their career.
The scoring didn’t start until nearly 7 minutes into the game as Georgetown Junior Midfielder Peter Cannon got it started by himself. Syracuse sophomore Steven Brooks would respond two minutes later. It was fitting that Brooks had two goals on the day while it added to having this tournament in California. Brooks himself isn’t from a lacrosse “hotbed”. He went to high school in Illinois, which is as much of a hotbed for college recruits as California is…its not (yet). It helps to show a big part of what this invitational was about: the growth and spread of the sport. It also helped that a decent crowd made it out for the tournament. Announced attendance was 7,182. The facility is also the perfect size – though maybe a little big (over 20,000). An MLL team is scheduled to start playing at the Home Depot Center in 2006.
Syracuse would make the game 2-1 as Brian Crockett found Mike Leveille with 3:50 left in the first quarter. Georgetown’s answer came from senior Middie Nick Miaritis, who took advantage of the flag down situation. Miaritis used the opportunity to go to the goal. He ran off a pick and ripped a nice running lefty jump shot that evened the game at 2. Syracuse’s answer would come from Middie Greg Rommel as he sunk a righty shot on the run past D’Andrea. Syracuse was about a second too late at the end of the period as #8 Jake Plunket tried a long shot that a Cuse Attacker (terminology of the Home Depot Center Announcer) placed past D’Andrea just after the period ended. The goal was waved off and Syracuse held only a goal lead.
Georgetown’s longpoles showed their skill as Reyn Garnett stripped a Syracuse attackman, scooped up the groundball and hit a streaking Brodie Merrill. Merrill beat Pfeifer with a low sidearm left shot with some velocity behind it evening the game at 3. Three minutes later a Syracuse defender was stripped of the ball. This led to a transition goal where Brendan Cannon found Trevor Casey for the go-ahead goal. As time was expiring in the quarter, a rare occurrence happened: a man-down goal. Georgetown’s Matt McBride came up with a loose ball of an errant pass from the offensive side for Syracuse. McBride took it himself and stretched the lead to two.
To start the 2nd half, Syracuse took advantage of a man-up opportunity. Brett Bucktooth found Greg Rommel to once again cut the lead. Georgetown’s Trevor Casey had other ideas as he made the lead two once again less than a minute later on a righty blast.
Overall, the Georgetown defense made Syracuse’s offense play the game they wanted. Brian Crockett had some good looks at the net, but overall, the offense wasn’t able to string together the passes needed. A lot of times they seemed to just want to go one-on-one, which plays to the strength of the big, strong Hoya Defense. It is also interesting to note that as far as the outdoor game is concerned, 2004 Tewaaraton Finalist Brodie Merrill is from Canada. Canada isn’t what one would think of as a hotbed for longpoles in the field game.
Crockett did take advantage of a loose ball opportunity with 10:31 left in the third. He scooped the loose ball and beat D’Andrea with a bouncer that tucked just under the crossbar. Crockett’s first goal made the game 6-5 in Georgetown’s favor. Crockett would notch the tying goal for Syracuse seven minutes later on the man-up. Greg Rommel found Crockett on the doorstep for a low-to-high shot that D’Andrea didn’t stand a chance on.
Often a pet peeve of coaches and the Achilles heel of teams, are goals scored late in quarters. Sean Denihan took the ball late in the third, drove, performed a nice stutter-step and then placed a great shot on the run. The ball went just inside the pipe of the off-stick hip side of Jay Pfeifer with only :02 to go in the quarter. This goal deflated Syracuse and was an important momentum shift.
Georgetown would go on to score the next three goals while curtailing the Syracuse offense. In almost a methodical fashion, All-American Andy Corno won four face-offs in the 4th quarter (out of five). Georgetown out hustled Syracuse to the tune of an 11 to 6 groundball advantage in the final period (a whopping 42 to 25 on the whole game). Both teams also had a sloppy six turnovers in the final period.
Matt McBride’s 2nd goal came as he pushed topside after a Mike Boynton feed with a righty jump shot. With a two goal lead Georgetown was content to work a midfield dodge, work the ball around, pull it back out and do it all over again. This caused the refs to make a “keep-it-in” call, so that if they left the box it would be a delay of game and turnover. After the warning call, Sean Denihan drove lefty. Syracuse’s highly touted defenseman Panarelli thought he had knocked the ball out of Denihan’s stick, giving up position. He hadn’t. Denihan held on and fed a cutting Trevor Casey for his third goal of the game. With just 4:39 to go, Georgetown again faced a “keep-it-in” warning. With time running out and desperation mounting, Syracuse’s defense got lazy. Nick Miaritis beat Syracuse’s short stick d-middie at the time Steven Brooks top-side. Miaritis went top-side and since he was able to see the whole net beat Pfeifer easily.
Syracuse would get a man-up opportunity to trim away at the four goal lead. Steven Brooks made up for the defensive lapse as he stepped top-side w/ a lefty high rip, bringing the lead to three. Syracuse would get a couple of late chances, but nothing doing as they just couldn’t get it done.
Syracuse is going to have to find an offensive identity soon if it is going to defend its title. Georgetown outplayed them today on their defensive end. They put a lot of pressure and didn’t get beat. It helped that D’Andrea was solid in net behind them. On offense, Georgetown seems to have a battalion of middies who are all quick and strong and can dodge hard either hand. Though they all pretty much seemed to be looking to dodge to feed rather than looking to shoot as Syracuse’s middies seemed to look to do. It also seems that every middie these days is trying the stutter step change of speed made famous by Mike Powell. It didn’t seem to be this prevalent before.
Expect the previously ranked #5 Orange to drop in ranking, while the #11 Hoyas will definitely rise. Syracuse doesn’t get a break as it looks to break its two game losing streak next Friday at Hopkins. Georgetown travels Delaware to take on the Blue Hens on Wednesday.
|Trevor Casey||(3, 0)|
|Sean Denihan||(1, 2)|
|Matt Mcbride||(2, 0)|
|Nick Miaritis||(2, 0)|
|Pete Cannon||(1, 0)|
|Brendan Cannon||(0, 1)|
|Mike Boynton||(0, 1)|
|Brodie Merrill||(1, 0)|
|Rich D'andrea||12 (0.632)|