Syracuse Men's Lacrosse: SU vs Albany

Syracuse men's lacrosse clinches 10-9 thriller with last-second goal

Mariano nets winner with 1.6 seconds left to lead No. 6 SU past the No. 12 Great Danes

Syracuse midfielder Nick Mariano scored with 1.6 seconds left to give the No. 6 Syracuse men’s lacrosse team a 10-9 victory over No. 12 Albany on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

After a back and forth final quarter that saw five lead changes or ties, Syracuse (2-0) had the final chance with six seconds left on the clock. Following a timeout, Mariano received the ball near the goal and backpedaled with a man in his face, firing an off-balance shot into the top corner past Albany goalie JD Colarusso.

Photo: Morgan E. Bulman
Syracuse's Tyson Bomberry signs posters for fans at the lacrosse game on Saturday Feb. 18 against Albany.

Mariano, a senior midfield transfer from UMass, knew that he would have an opportunity to win the game if he could just make a play.

“Honestly, I wasn’t listening in the huddle until the last five seconds when [SU assistant] coach Donahue and [SU head] coach Desko said I was just going to come off a pick,” Mariano said. “I knew what we were doing already, we have been practicing that all year.... I just caught the ball and I just put it in. I don’t even know how it went in, I just saw everyone erupted.”

Despite the thrilling finish, the game didn’t start well for the Orange. Albany (0-1) netted two goals in the first seven minutes to put Syracuse in an early hole. Syracuse got on the scoreboard with a Tyson Bomberry goal, but spent most of the first quarter ceding possession and defending its net.

Albany scored with 12 seconds left in the first quarter and followed it up by scoring just 14 seconds into the second quarter. In the span of just 26 seconds, Albany scored twice to take the momentum and a 4-1 lead. The quick succession of goals stunned Syracuse. Albany continued to dominate early in the second quarter, adding two more goals to take a 6-1 lead with 10:40 to go before halftime

Despite the poor showing, Desko felt that being down early was an experience the team needed if it wants to succeed in the future.

“It was a good learning experience for our group. Obviously being down by a few goals at halftime, they have to fight and come back against a hot goaltender,” Desko said. “It was a good exercise for us and the experience is only going to help us going forward."

Luckily for Desko, Syracuse responded prior to halftime. Sophomore Brad Voigt and redshirt sophomore Pat Carlin came off the Syracuse bench to score back-to-back goals midway through the second quarter. Then, the Orange opened the third with four unanswered goals to take a 7-6 lead.

Syracuse midfielder Sergio Salcido noticed the change in Syracuse’s offense after the half and felt it came down to the team getting back to being comfortable.

“Early on you are a little anxious,” Salcido said. “You're trying to get some shots on the goalie to keep him from getting comfortable and as the game goes on you kind of develop an understanding of what they are doing and what their schemes are and we adjusted to it accordingly.”

Albany got back into the game in the fourth quarter, taking an 8-7 lead with 7:35 remaining. Salcido then took over, scoring two straight goals late in the fourth to swing momentum and the lead back over to Syracuse.

Despite being frustrated for most of the game, Salcido knew that opportunities would come if he made the most of them.

“I knew the importance of shooting, taking those shots and in my head I was thinking, ‘if you’re going to shoot the ball, make sure it’s the right one and make sure you put it in a corner,’” Salcido said.

After an Albany goal with 3:43 left tied the score, Mariano buried the game winner with just under two seconds remaining.

Syracuse will return to action against Army on Saturday. First face-off is set for noon at the Carrier Dome.  

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