The final 30 seconds evaporated, and Cornell playmakers Rob Pannell and Steve Mock watched in stunned silence as a young Syracuse team sprinted onto the field in raucous celebration after beating the #2 Big Red 13-12 at the Carrier Dome Wednesday night. With the monumental win, the Orange improves to 8-2 on the year and an incredible 4-0 against top 10 teams.
The most encouraging part of this win was the stamina SU displayed, especially late in the game. There’s no doubt the Orange played better as the game progressed, something we certainly did not see last year when Syracuse fell into the NCAAs on an automatic conference bid after a frustrating season.
Starting goalie Dominic Lamolinara and his defense, led by Senior Brian Megill, looked bamboozled at first by a CU attack that jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Superstar Attackman Rob Pannell racked up three assists and a goal in the first eight minutes, and Megill knew then that it was time for a change.
“Rob’s a great player. I said going into this game we were going to have to limit his points as a defensive unit. He’s going to get his points, and he did. But I think we came out slow, we went into a zone early, and they were beating us on the zone. We went into man afterwards, we made our adjustments, and I think we did a great job shutting him down in the second half. I don’t even think he had a point in the second half.”
And he didn’t. In fact, the entire Cornell offense looked stymied when SU’s defensive giants Megill, David Hamlin, and Sean Young began pursuing it around the cage one-on-one in a man defense.
Like a closer in the 9th inning with two outs and two strikes, Syracuse has lowered the visor, leaned in, and stared down every big time opponent it’s faced. SU is playing these games with tournament level intensity, with each possession being critical, as though it’s win-or-go-home every game. Virginia was an overtime thriller, and add victories over Hopkins, Princeton, and now Cornell. It’s hard to ignore the trend. When the task is tall, this team has shown it can step up and win in close games.
Senior Captain Midfielder JoJo Marasco (2G, 2A):
“It’s tough, especially on the sideline where they had the ball most of the time. They won the first couple of face offs. We’re just trying to keep our legs going. We tell ourselves, ‘we’re going to get the ball, and we’re going to put it in the net.’”
The midfield unit has been tremendous, totally owning their responsibilities on offense and defense. As in soccer, midfielders in lacrosse span the distance from box to box, helping break up plays on defense and feeding the ball to the scoring personnel on the other end. This game was a stage for Marasco, Scott Loy (1G, 2A), and Luke Cometti (4G), whose midfield line, Marasco said, has started to gel at the perfect time with the tournament on the horizon.
“From day one we’ve come together as a group, and I think we complement each other so well. We feel so comfortable out there with each other, and Luke [Cometti] stayed away from hitting the post, put the ball in the back of the net, so it’s great to see these guys step up each game.”
They’ll have the chance to step up twice more at home this year, next when they host Rutgers on Saturday. Be sure to check us out on Twitter when you flip on the game for live commentary and conversation from the press box.
Posted: Jake Moskowitz