SYRACUSE, NY - It may sound cliché, but it was just one of those days. Desperate for a victory, that’s just what the No. 10 Orange got at the Carrier Dome Saturday, topping No. 20 Loyola, 12-6.
Things started out slowly for SU, as it led just 2-1 after the first, behind scores from freshman Pat Perritt, his fifth, and Joe Yevoli, his eleventh. But suddenly, the flood gates opened, really, for the first time this season. Seconds after going on the EMO in the second quarter, Mike Leveille received the Brett Bucktooth pass on the far side of the field, firing a 10 yard bullet through a failed Greyhound slide. SU was up 3-1 at the 13:08 mark on what would be the first of four goals on the day for Leveille.
With 9:52 to play in the first half, and the Orange leading 4-2, senior middie Brian Crockett ran to the near side of the cage, stopping almost even with the post. As he launched a shot, the Tewaarton candidate was checked from his right, but the ball still lifted over goalie Michael Fretwell’s shoulder and into the far side of the net. It was the 100th career score in Crockett’s four-year Orange tenure.
“I wasn’t even aware of it until after the game,” said Crockett of his sixth tally in 2006. “I think it’s kinda cool. I’ve been here for a long time. It’s just really special to be part of this program for this long of a time. I’m obviously really happy it came during a game we won.”
Win SU did, as the goals continued to pile on. Just over a minute later, freshman Matt Abbott recorded an unassisted goal. The ‘Cuse led by four until almost a minute later when Dan Hardy became the third freshman to score, firing his second goal of the contest. The Orange went into halftime 7-2 leaders behind strong outings from the youngsters.
“I think it was time for the freshman not to play like freshman anymore,” said Perritt. “We need to play like sophomores and step up. We have five games under our belts.”
Perritt would add another goal unassisted, one of nine unassisted goals on the day for Syracuse.
But the star of the second half was a freshman-once-removed, the sophomore, Leveille. He tallied that one score in the first half, and came alive in the second. With 5:37 to play in the third quarter, Leveille picked up the rebound of a Fretwell chest save, launching a shot at point blank range. He followed up just 13 seconds later, picking up a runaway groundball off the ensuing face-off, spinning past the lone defender to beat Fretwell one-on-one.
With three ticks left in the quarter Leveille quadrupled his pleasure, notching his fourth goal of the game when Crockett’s attempt sailed wide across the net. The sophomore immediately reacted, picking up the miss and scoring over Fretwell’s left shoulder.
SU led 11-4 after three, and would extend that to 12-4, 18 seconds into the fourth when long-pole defender Steve Panarelli scored his second of the year.
Two late goals by Tyler Gale and Jordan Rabidou finalized the score at 12-6.
“We needed it bad,” said Panarelli. “We’ve been losing a lot and we need to get back to our winning ways. I couldn’t be more proud of ho we played today. We kept our heads up and we have a long way to go.”
“Well,” said Orange coach John Desko, “we needed one. We needed one for our confidence. Just to have things work for is offensively and defensively helped quite a bit.”
Everything did seem to come together for the Orange. SU picked up just as many groundballs at Loyola (35), won the face-off battle in the first half (6 of 11), out-shot the opponent (40 to 39) and had good play in goal (15 saves on 21 shots on goal for Peter Coluccini).
“Everything clicked. John Jerome did a nice job on the face-off,” Desko said. “Offensively we were more patient…defensively, communication was very good. I thought our defense did a nice job recognizing their plays.”
Coluccini appeared to have his break-out game of the season, letting up four even-strength scores to a team that averages 10 tallies a game. The redshirt freshman also notched a ridiculous 71% save percentage, 24.7 percentage points higher than his season average.
“You can’t try to do too much,” said the SU keeper, “just try to do my job. Goalie’s pretty simple. Just stop the ball from going in the goal.”
Another promising sign for the Orange was the middie play. Six points coming from a decimated starting midfield contributed to the day’s win. Remember the Orange is without senior Greg Rommel, junior Stephen Brooks and sophomore Greg Niewieroski. All three are out for the season with various injuries.
Now, the challenge for Syracuse is to bottle the Loyola performance, and use it again in the future, as SU will face four more opponents in the LAX.com top 20 this season, including No. 7 Princeton and No. 4 Cornell in its next two games.
“We’ll spend some time tomorrow watching film of today to see what we did right, what we did wrong and what we can improve on,” Desko said.
The Princeton Tigers prowl into the Carrier Dome next Saturday for a 2pm start.
|Mike Leveille||(4, 0)|
|Brett Bucktooth||(0, 2)|
|Patrick Perritt||(2, 0)|
|Dan Hardy||(2, 0)|
|Brian Crockett||(1, 1)|
|Matt Abbott||(1, 0)|
|Joe Yevoli||(1, 0)|
|Steven Panarelli||(1, 0)|
|Peter Coluccini||15 (0.714)|