SYRACUSE, NY Ė Top ranked Syracuse (12-1) left no doubt early in the contest, rolling to the gameís first nine goals before securing a 16-3 victory against Massachusetts (5-8) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. It marked the 10th straight triumph for the Orange and allowed the hosts to finish the regular season with an unblemished 8-0 record in the Dome.
Senior attackman Mike Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) led the offensive assault for Syracuse, contributing three goals and three assists on the afternoon. His three net-finders gave him 119 for his SU career, good for 15th on the programís career ledger. He also moved into 16th in career assists (74) and 16th in career scoring (193).
Senior midfielder Steven Brooks (Libertyville, Ill.) had three goals, junior attackman Kenny Nims (Watertown, N.Y.) added a goal and two assists, and juniors Greg Niewieroski (Watertown, N.Y.), an attackman, and midfielder Pat Perritt (Holtsville, N.Y.) each had two goals to pace SU scorers. Freshman attack Stephen Keogh (Toronto, Ontario) also had two goals. Nine different players found the cage for Syracuse.
Leveille opened the gameís scoring, intercepting a Massachusetts pass deep in the visitorís territory and finding the back of an open net just 21 seconds after the opening faceoff. The goal extended his consecutive point streak to 52 games, the second longest active streak in the NCAA ranks (Dukeís Matt Danowski has a stretch of 55 consecutive games).
After five minutes of scoreless play, Leveille struck again, this time picking up a rebound on the doorstep and dunking it in.
The Orange then strung together three goals in 2:07 as senior midfielder Brendan Loftus (Watertown, N.Y.) tallied on a one-on-one drive that found the opposite corner, Brooks ripped a left-handed drive into the net and Niewieroski laid one in off a great feed by Brooks.
Syracuse had already built a 5-0 margin and a 13-1 advantage in shots.
UMass' Ryan Hantverk opened the second quarter by hitting the goal post and the misfire was costly as Syracuse retaliated with two goals in 34 seconds. Brooks beat two defenders to bury a low drive at 13:01 of the second and Nims scored easily off a Leveille's assist. Perritt and freshman attackman Jack Harmatuk (Syracuse, N.Y.) closed out the first half with goals.
In addition to constructing a 9-0 halftime lead with its marksmenship, the Orange also protected ball possession and forced Massachusetts' turnovers. SU had only two turnovers in the first 30 minutes while the Minutemen had 12.
UMass attempted a rally after the break when Tim Balise found the cage just seven seconds into the third. The Orange put a halt to the comeback, rebounding with five consecutive goals. Keogh and Brooks had the first man-up goals of the afternoon while Niewieroski, Perritt and Leveille also helped SU increase its margin.
Mike Wilus and Balise scored for UMass in the fourth, sandwiched around a tally from Orange sophomore attackman Chris Daniello (Cross River, N.Y.). Keogh closed out the afternoon with another man-up goal.
Massachusetts junior goalie Doc Schneider made a number of tough saves despite the barrage of shots he faced from the Orange. He finished with 11 stops on the afternoon.
Freshman cagetender John Galloway (Syracuse, N.Y.) was not challenged early but made a number of point-blank stops before his day ended after three periods. He finished with seven saves. Sophomore Al Cavalieri (Lathrup Village, Mich.) finished the game and recorded one save.
Syracuse lowered its season goals-against average to 7.16. It represents the programís best mark since yielding an even 7.0 goals per game in 1970.
Although Syracuse entered the game with a 26-8 advantage in the all-time series with the Minutemen, the series has been very competitive in recent years. UMass won four of the most recent seven encounters, including a 9-7 decision in 2007 and back-to-back one-goal victories during the 2005 campaign, including one during the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to the game's opening draw, 13 student-athletes and one team manager were honored in annual senior day festivities.
Syracuse closes out its regular season on Saturday, May 3, at Colgate.
|Mike Leveille||(3, 3)|
|Steven Brooks||(3, 0)|
|Kenny Nims||(1, 2)|
|Pat Perritt||(2, 0)|
|Greg Niewieroski||(2, 0)|
|Stephen Keogh||(2, 0)|
|Brendan Loftus||(1, 0)|
|Chris Daniello||(1, 0)|
|Jovan Miller||(0, 1)|
|Dan Hardy||(0, 1)|
|Josh Amidon||(0, 1)|
|Matt Abbott||(0, 1)|
|Jack Harmatuk||(1, 0)|
|John Galloway||7 (0.875)|
|Al Cavalieri||1 (0.333)|