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#3 Syracuse 11 - #1 Notre Dame 10: One goal is all this team needs...again

Syracuse pushed its streak of one-goal games to seven, a program record. This week SU took down the top team in the nation in an 11-10 game and maybe its best performance of the year.

2013 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championships - Semifinals - Syracuse v Denver Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange beat the best team in the Nation on Saturday, taking down the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-10. Per expectations, it was a close one with Syracuse playing its best half of lacrosse of the year in the first half. Really, though, the only time it felt like UND was in control was in the end of the third period. Other than that this was Syracuse’s game.

The game winning goal came at 8:42 in the fourth quarter off of the crosse of Nick Mariano. It was nearly exactly the same goal as he had to tie the game versus Duke with 1:25 to go in that game.

Brendan Collins brought Notre Dame within one on a deep shot that found the net on the far side low, but the Irish could not find a second tally to tie it up in the final 6:49 of the game. It should be noted that Brendan Gleason had a great opportunity with about 14 seconds to go, but Evan Molloy made a huge stop to basically win the game for SU.

At this point, Mariano is this team’s alpha dog. Need a goal? Mariano’s got you, and he had four against the Irish on Saturday. The senior leads his team in goals with 19 and points with 30.

Kudos to the SU defense who played outstanding once again. The defense held Ryder Garnsey and Sergio Perkovic without a shot through the first half and to just one goal each throughout the game. We came into the year unsure of how this defensive grouping would play without Nick Mellen but these guys are battle tested and have settled in nicely behind its leader Scott Firman. I am so excited to see Nick Mellen take over next season when he’s back from injury, and even without Firman, who will graduate, this should be a great defense for the next few years.

And while we are giving out high fives… big ups to the crowd in South Bend today, especially the Syracuse fans who were very vocal throughout the game.

Six goals were seen in the first with the most exciting point of this game occurring in the final minutes of the opening period. The contest opened up with a point blank save by Evan Molloy right off of the faceoff win from Notre Dame. Molloy had just seven saves in the contest, but was on point.

Brendan Gleason opened up the scoring at 7:50 to go in the first but the real excitement came during a 2:25, five goal span starting with 3:50 to go in the period. The Orange were man-down when Molloy made his second save of the day and sent the ball quickly down field on the clear. It was Paolo Ciferri who got the ball cutting to the crease in transition and picked up the first goal of the game for the Orange just after the UND EMO expired. Nine seconds later, Ben Williams won the faceoff to himself, brought the ball into the box and hit Brendan Bomberry who found Nate Solomon for a great goal to put the Orange up 2-1. 18 seconds later it was Notre Dame’s Drew Schantz who was able to find room deep to get the open pass and fire a long shot to tie the game at a deuce. Right off the ensuing faceoff, nearly another goal from Brendan Bomberry but the ball sailed high as he was clobbered off the shot, great movement from the Orange though. It didn’t take long, however, for Nick Mariano to get his first of the game. SU set up high, outside the top of the box. Sergio Slacido took it into the box and sent a pass to Mariano who beat a check from John Sexton and went high to high on Shane Doss, giving Syracuse the 3-2 advantage. The final goal of the period came from Brendan Gleason who dodged from the top corner, beating Tyson Bomberry and able to get the shot off while getting hooked by Bomberry and taking a light hit from Scott Firman, once again tying the game.

The Orange did not take the foot off of the gas in the second quarter, a time when traditionally this year SU has struggled. Syracuse managed to outscore UND 4-2 in the second giving the Orange a 7-5 lead going into halftime.

Notre Dame finally got a foothold in the third period. With Syracuse up 9-6, the Irish picked up three straight goals. At 5:53 left in the third, Ryder Garnsey from behind the cage hit Timmy Phillips in front of the cage for a behind-the-back beauty. Tyson Bomberry was the crease defender at the time and had been cheating towards the ball on the near side and never moved back to the center of the crease when Garnsey was working from behind and Phillips cut to the far side of the crease. Bomberry just could not recover in time. May have been the worst goal given up on the day for an SU defense that played so well throughout the game.

Garnsey was up next, getting the ball behind cage he took Scott Firman up and around the far side of the crease right around the top of the cage going low to low hitting far side cage for his first and only goal of the day. Firman did a good job of staying on Garnsey but did not force him up the field and instead allowed Garnsey to take him around the front of the cage.

27 seconds later it was Sergio Perkovic with his only goal of the game. Perk took it horizontally across the restraining line and into the box, beating Andrew Helmer. Matt Lane came with the appropriate slide but Perkovic just ran through the check and was able to get off a rocket to tie the game at nine. That’s right, the 6’4” Perkovic just bounced right off of Matt Lane’s massive 6’6” frame, two of the biggest guys in college lacrosse.

The Orange would go on to win in another one goal game.

I don’t know how you walk away form this game not buying into this team.

Honestly this is not the season I saw coming, but I will happily take it. The Orange are now 7-1 overall with a 3-0 ACC record. I’m not sure if there is another team in the nation more prepared for post-season play than the Syracuse Orange.

One point of concern is again the faceoff situation. Ben Williams is probably still battling some soreness and went 10-23 on Saturday. It’s pretty clear that after last week’s performance, Dan Varello is now the number two faceoff guy for the Orange, and he got into the game winning his only matchup of the day. Even if SU can win around half of its faceoffs they should be in a good position.

SU will take on the Hobart Statesmen on Wednesday at 7 PM in Geneva, NY. The game can be seen on TWCS and heard on TK99/105.