When Billy Ward scored the equalizing goal with :15 left in the fourth quarter to tie the ACC semifinal match against no. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils 15-15, overtime seemed inevitable. The crowd cheered, excited for the chance to continue.
When Dylan Donahue scored the go-ahead point with :01 left in regulation, there would be no overtime—just the championship. And the crowd lost it.
One second remained in regulation but the third-seeded Orange had already stormed the field, swarming Donahue and Kevin Rice, who had the assist. The goal marked the finale of an incredible effort by the Orange, who were embarrassed 7-21 by Duke on March 23 in Durham. Donahue had four goals and two assists against Duke, and was one of eight players to score in a great team effort.
“We came out. [Duke] came out as a terrific team, played very well and once again took advantage of our mistakes,” Coach Desko said after the game. “Fortunately these guys made a great effort to get the win for us.”
Syracuse erased a three-goal deficit in the second quarter and a four-point deficit in the fourth to win a spot in the ACC Championship game–quite an accomplishment for the team’s first year in the conference. All six ACC lacrosse teams are ranked in the NCAA Top 10—and Duke was ranked second overall.
The no. 4-ranked Orange seemed more intent on erasing the memory of their past beating from Duke, playing through chilly rain and wind at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., to show just how much they have improved.
Said Rice after the game: “We’ve come along way since that last game against Duke. We could’ve folded [in the beginning] but we showed them we weren’t that same team that got beat down earlier this season.”
Desko chuckled when asked where the game ranked amongst his all-time. “Right now? Pretty high.”
Syracuse will play at 1:00 pm Sunday at PPL Park in the championship game against the winner of the Maryland-Notre Dame match.
Posted by: Jillian Thaw