The Syracuse Orangemen played a ton of defense today and from start to finish they frustrated the Duke Blue Devils into scoring only 9 goals. Duke's Kevin Cassese was instrumental in dominating the face off circle leading his team to a 20-3 advantage. The ramifications of such a strong performance are obvious, but Cassese felt like Syracuse actually did a good job. Syracuse Head Coach Desko agreed,"Kevin Cassese does such a great job of creating offense from the face off." Desko felt that he would rather protect the defensive end rather than,"take chances to try and win face offs." Cassese felt like he was kept in check that way adding,"My plan was to go forward every time and I don't think I got it once." Duke still won almost every face off so the game went like this. Duke wins face. They work the ball around and go hard to the net creating quality chances and missing the net. They got their shots on goal 23 out of forty attempts. Missed opportunities and a disparity between goalie play were the key differences. Duke goalie AJ Kincel had a couple soft goals and conversely Syracuse' goalie Jay Pfeifer came up with some huge saves. Pfeifer's teammate Billy St. George praised his goalie's play on the day saying,"I think it was the best game he played all year...he was a true leader out there today."
Duke definitely had possession in their favor and when Syracuse did clear they played a lot of zone defensively, which led the Orangemen to work the ball around the outside to break it down. This, in turn, led to a game that was exiting down to the wire due to the score, but the pace was slow. Head Duke Coach Mike Pressler felt good about his teams performance. "We stood toe to toe with what I think is the best team in the game today." He knew his team could have pulled it out at the end. Referring to the lacrosse ball he added,"It's a great, big super ball and it bounces a lot of different ways and it just didn't bounce our way."
Duke's Cassese won the first face off, surprise surprise, and gained the offensive zone. He passed off to middie Terrence Keaney at the top of the box. Keaney fed Kevin Brennan standing 15 yards out to Kincel's left. Brennan turned toward the net and dumped lower to freshman Matt Monfett 8 yards out. Monffett turned to the outside and beat Pfeifer with a bounce shot 16 seconds into the game, 1-0. Duke won the ensuing face and Pfeifer had to get a piece of a crank labeled upper left corner. Another shot wide was followed by middie Michael Satyshur's no angle attempt that was saved. At 13:07 Duke struck again. Monfett drove from X emerging to his left. Big Solomon Bliss cross checked him in the back to move him out of scoring range so he turned upfield and fed fellow frosh attacker Matt Rewkowski diagonally at the top of the box. Rewkowski drove down the left side and took a low shot that Pfeifer slowed down, but it still found the back of the net, 2-0. The two Duke freshman attackmen have a bright future. They've established themselves as big time players in this tournament. Speaking of big time attackmen...Syracuse got their first offensive possession of the game and Josh Coffman wasted no time heading toward the cage. Like a pit bull he drove in on his defender from the wing to Kincel's left. He pushed his defender back until he was in range and beat Kincel to make it 2-1.
Duke won the face and Cassese ripped a shot high before Brennan got off a weak outside shot while stumbling. Syracuse cleared, but mishandled and stepped out of bounds. Duke's clear was foiled by a back check from Mike Powell leading to the tying goal. Middie Mike Smith drove from behind and drew the defense toward him. Steve Vallone was open in the lefty crank spot and ripped a bouncer by Kincel, 2-2. Cassese won the next face, but he got doubled and coughed it up. Spencer Wright in transition swept lefty to take an on the run shot from just a couple of steps inside the restraining line. Kincel saw it all the way and it looked like a shot that should have been stopped, but to Kincel's defense the turf was rather slick and the ball probably skipped on him, 3-2. Syracuse struck again with 8:30 left in the first. Powell was working the wing to Kincel's right juking back and forth before hitting Wright cutting toward him lefty. Wright got the quick shot off and it looked like he was shooting low and away, but the defender checked his stick partially directing the ball in the upper left, 4-2. Duke won the face again and Brennan got a good shot off streaking down the right side, but nobody backed it up. Cuse cleared and Coffman tried to steam roll his defender again. This time long stick Dan Hauber took the holding call. Nothing but trouble. Syracuse has the most potent extra man offense in the nation and going 3-6 on the day only made their percentage go up. They rolled from a 2-3-1 into a 3-3 with Mike Springer rotating from wing to top center. When Springer got the ball at the top he ripped an overhand shot that caught the upper right corner, 5-2. Springer shoots so hard that it goes in the net, wide, or leaves the goalie with a welt; but rarely is it saved. Cassese won the face and made a great move before hitting the crossbar. Sloppy play ensued with ball changing hands at midfield. Powell finally settled things down and drew a foul when John Wendling slashed him at 3:31.
Syracuse ran the same exact play but Springer shot wide and then took a lefty bounce shot that Kincel blocked. Springer hustled back to ride and picked off a clearing pass at midfield to spring Coffman the other way. Coffman drilled Kincel in the chest and then Wright shot the rebound that Kincel got as well. Brian Nee got called for a ward on the next play and Duke cleared. Duke ended the quarter with a flurry of shots, none made it in.
Duke opened the second quarter with the face off win and Monfett got a shot on the doorstep. Pfeifer read it all the way and stuffed the high attempt. In transition Duke's Dan Chemotti turned toward the middle of the field opening himself up for Tom Hardy to drill him into the turf. The officials deemed this perfectly legal hit obsessive putting Duke on the EMO(He didn't line him up at all, which is a ridiculous rule to begin with, but rather he was chasing the play from behind when Chemotti turned toward him he popped him.) Syracuse would get the best opportunity however. Monfett booted a pass and the ball went out of bounds. On the clear Pfeifer wound up running the length of the field with no one picking him up. The goalie had surprising speed and took an underhand shot that drilled the right pipe. Duke recovered and at 11:59 Rewkowski beat his man clean with a face dodge from the goalie's right. He got inside his defender and beat Pfeifer over the left shoulder, 5-3. Duke called a time out to set something off on their next possession so Desko countered by coming out in a zone. Desko won that battle when John Glatzel picked attackman Alex Lieske clean and cleared. Powell fed Sean Lindsay, but a body bump dislodged the ball as he tried to shoot. Syracuse put up another defensive stand and called time out when they cleared. Powell forced a feed and Duke cleared the loose ball. Dan Chemotti was about to get a shot from point blank range, but Tom Hardy checked him in the nick of time. Cuse cleared and Steve Vallone took a weak shot with a defender literally on his back. Mike Smith tried to shut off Cassese on Duke's next possession, but Cassese worked until he popped open at the top of the box. He walked to the side and took a little breather before making his move. Cassese got nothing so he moved it to Brennan who drew a cross check from Vallone to the neck. On the man down St. George took a weak slash call when the ball was loose behind. With two extra men Duke cashed in at 3:50. They worked it around the horn to Brennan in the low righty crank spot. Brennan beat the goalie to the short upper left side, 5-4. The refs thought they were in the NHL temporarily when they gave Duke's Lieske a slashing penalty moments later at the midfield line.(Clearly a make up call) Syracuse made it count. This was the shot Kincel would have loved to get back. Wright shot from two steps inside the box with Kincel seeing it all the way. The knee high shot never bounced on its way to the back of the cage, 6-4. Pfeifer stuffed Keaney's high shot off the face and Brian Solliday drilled the pipe for Syracuse after they cleared. Duke cleared and stalled for last shot of the half. Michael Santyshur lost the ball and Cuse called time out with 2 seconds to go. They had Brian Nee throw the ball into the ground from the sideline on sides kick style. Nothing came of it, but for originality, we give it a ten.
Cassese opened the third with a face off win and hit the side of the net with a shot. Cuse cleared and Coffman backed in on Hauber again drawing a foul. Duke won that battle, but Close defender Bill Gerish stepped offside. At 12:41 Powell made a strong move from X drawing the entire defense toward him. Brian Nee was left open in the low lefty crank spot. He beat Kincel to the short side waist high along the right pipe, 7-4. Rewkowski made it 7-5 after Dan Chemotti's shot was shouldered by Pfeifer. He got the rebound and worked his defender over to Pfeifer's right before putting it in the low corner far side. Off the face off Cassese had to save the ball before it went out of bounds, but for the second time on the day the sideline judge said a Duke player stepped out of bounds when they clearly hadn't. Justice prevailed when Duke successfully rode the Cuse clear and called timeout. Syracuse cleared. Duke defender Paul Japsen mauled Coffman just as he was getting a shot off on the crease and Duke cleared. Syracuse struck again with 4:34 to go in the third. Duke was in their zone and he had the ball at the top of the box to the goalie's left. Kyle Olson was unattended to Kincel's left on the crease and Powell fired a diagonal laser feed that was dumped in by Olson, 8-5. With 53 seconds left in the third Rewkowski, standing at X, had his defender hung up at the side of the goal. Pfeifer came out on the other side so Rewkowski fed Jimmy Regan in front. Pfeifer was back in the cage, but not set and Regan scored, 8-6. Springer answered for Syracuse with 32 seconds left by backing in to the goalies right. He turned to the inside and ripped a low shot from twelve yards out, 9-6.
At the start of the fourth quarter Duke had the ball, but Syracuse was clearing when Rewkowski stripped long stick Don Vidosh above the restraining line. Rewkowski was hounded by Vidosh on his way to the net but controlled the ball for what looked like an empty net goal when Pfeifer came out of no where with a full extension dive to deflect the ball wide. Save of the day, maybe of the tournament, maybe of the year. At 13:58 Brian Solliday went off for a crosscheck setting up a Duke EMO. A nice little trick play made it 9-7. Cassese move across the top of the box and faked a flip with the player passing him the other way. The whole defense froze to make sure who had the ball. It was definitely a set play because without even looking first he turned and hit Lieske who snuck out from behind the cage to Pfeifer's right for an easy goal. At 7:59 Syracuse was man up and they dismantled Duke's man down. In the end Coffman was wide open on the crease and Powell fed him for the Orangemens last goal of the day, 10-7.
At 5:59 Duke cashed in on some confusion. Syracuse was clearing and the refs called a possession foul. Some players were changing and others just weren't sure what the call was. The whistle blew and Monfett threw it past Pfeifer before Syracuse had a chance to collect themselves, 10-8. With 2:31 to go Cassese, the energizer bunny, pulled a great roll dodge and stuck a clutch goal by Pfeifer. On the next face Brennan made a diving play to get possession for Duke. They were really coming on strong and clearly felt it. Pressler called time out to set up a play. They worked the ball to Monfett behind, but he stepped in the crease before he had a chance to press the goal. That was a crusher. Syracuse cleared, but as soon as Hardy stepped inside the box Duke triple teamed him and he coughed it up. Duke cleared and Hardy took a minute cross check at 1:29. Casses got his shot on the extra man, but shot high. Chemotti had his shot deflected and the ball bounce high and was coming toward Monfett on the crease. It looked as if he got over excited and simply missed the ball. Billy St. George got hold of it and cleared for Syracuse and a time out. Powell had the ball in bounded with 15 seconds to go. He got doubled and Desko called another time out with nine seconds to go. With only nine seconds to go Powell simply sprinted touts the midfield line since he didn't need to get it in the box. Who's going to catch him.
|Michael Powell||(0, 4)|
|Brian Nee||(1, 1)|
|Josh Coffman||(2, 0)|
|Spencer Wright||(2, 0)|
|Michael Springer||(2, 0)|
|Steve Vallone||(1, 0)|
|Brian Solliday||(1, 0)|
|Tom Hardy||(1, 0)|
|Mike Smith||(0, 1)|
|Jay Pfeifer||14 (0.609)|