If you are not watching the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team this year, you should be. Unless you have heart problems.
At this point, I don’t know how I continue to follow this team and keep myself in even OK health. I simply don’t know if it is possible. For this first time in program history, Syracuse has now played to six straight, one-goal games and for the second week it took an overtime period to get the final.
The Syracuse Orange took home the 12-11 victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday in another wild one. There are a couple of stories from today, but let’s start with the overtime period.
Kyle Rowe and Danny Varello (I will get to that) took to the faceoff X to start the overtime period. Rowe was able to win the battle and kick it away from Varello. It looked like Rowe was able to pick it up but he never actually held on to the ball. Nevertheless, the referees called possession the SU attackmen came off of the restraining line towards Rowe who, at this point, put the ball back on the turf. Brendan Bomberry scooped it up as Rowe hit the ground.
After some passing around the box, Sergio Salcido ended up with the ball at the top of the box. Salcido took it down the far side of the box, tightly guarded by Thomas Zenker. Salcido slammed on the breaks and reversed it to Jamie Trimboli who was partially checked by Sean Cerrone. Trimboli was able to spin off the check, set up quick and fire a side arm shot that nailed the top left corner of the net for the game winner. Another crazy exciting win for SU.
Saturday was the first time that freshman Trimboli had gotten the start at midfield, supplanting Matt Lane. It was Trimboli’s third goal of the year, and easily his most important one.
Now I know you are wondering about the faceoff situation. Ben Williams took the majority of the faceoffs today and had an uncharacteristically poor performance going 4-18 and picking up just one groundball against Rowe. To start the fourth quarter, Williams lost his 11th faceoff. Finally, on the next matchup at the X, Desko sent Danny Varello into battle. The freshman won the next two before Williams went in for the next one and lost that as well. It would be his final draw of the game. Simply put, it just wasn’t his day. Coming into Saturday, Varello had gone 13-8 with a 10-7 performance against Army. He finished Saturday 6-8. I was pretty concerned that after Varello took two straight wins Desko put Williams back into the game. Given how good the freshman seems to be, in limited action, I would expect the switch to come much sooner in the future.
Defensively, I was once again impressed by the Orange who killed off three extra-man opportunities and caused seven turnovers. Scott Firman had three caused turnovers and three groundballs on Saturday.There was one bad goal, a mid range shot from Jack Bruckner in the second quarter. Bruckner was able to get free, off-ball, dead center in the box before Justin Guterding sent him the assist. For a unit that had to play a lot of defense today given the amount of extended possessions Duke had off of the faceoffs, I liked what I saw overall.
One point of concern, however, SU had trouble on the clears going 18-21. The situation came to a head with 6:29 to go in the game. Varello won the faceoff and brought it into the defensive zone. Firman sent a cross field pass to Marcus Cunningham who was unable to corral the short pass off the bounce and pushed it out of bounds off of his stick. A quick restart ensued with no one set up and Jack Bruckner got it quickly to freshman Joey Manown on the crease for an easy bounce shot to give Duke an 11-9 lead.
It is usually the second quarter that gives SU the most trouble, but today it was the fourth. Duke did not score for a 23:25 period stretching from the second quarter to eight seconds in the fourth. Rowe won the faceoff to start the period and got it straight to Bruckner who ripped a deep side arm shot to cut the SU lead to just one. Less than a minute later, Syracuse responded with a goal from Nate Solomon who caught a Nick Mariano pass as he cut across the box. From there, Duke picked up four straight goals before SU was able to get two straight of its own and tie the game on a great individual effort from Mariano who tied a season high three goals. Mariano also had a sick goal in the second period, his first goal of the game, on a rocket of a shot that hit the crossbar and the far pipe before crossing the goal line.
GOALLLL!!!!! Mariano picks up his 100th career goal and gives Syracuse an 8-6 lead in the process. pic.twitter.com/AIJjUQOzOL— Syracuse Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) March 25, 2017
Sergio Salcido had four points today and now has at least three in all but one game this year. Brendan Bomberry started the game at attack and had two goals and an assist but also had one key turnover that led to a Duke goal in the fourth. I’ve said it before but for as good as Bomberry is, we have seen him miss a catch on a one timer numerous times this year.
Finally, Evan Molloy once again had a fantastic game. Over the last few games he has shown a tremendous ability to make saves on shots taken on the crease. His six save stat line does not do his performance justice. He was my player of the game.
Syracuse moves to 6-1 on the year and 1-0 in conference play, but the Orange will travel to South Bend, IN to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish next Saturday at Noon.