SU Men's Lacrosse: Syracuse vs. Virginia

Syracuse men's lacrosse rallies to top Virginia

No. 12 SU scores 10 second half goals to beat No. 11 Cavaliers at the Carrier Dome.

This game had all the makings to be a blowout win for Virginia (4-2, 0-1 ACC). Syracuse entered halftime down four goals, and that deficit quickly grew. A Nate Solomon goal opening the half for Syracuse (3-1, 1-0 ACC) was answered with Virginia goals from Dox Aitken and Zed Williams (2 goals, 1 assist), and at the 11:06 mark in the third period, the Orange was trailing, 10-5.

Photo: Nathan Baldry
Senior long-stick midfielder Scott Firman leads other Syracuse midfielders during pregame warmups.

Syracuse, however, responded with three different scoring runs in the second half. The end product was a Sergio Salcido (2 goals, 3 assists) goal with just over 15 seconds left on the clock to beat the Cavaliers, 14-13.

“I thought our guys played hard the whole way, especially in the second half being down like we were down,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “To be able to pick away at it and get back into it and then win it at the end is a great win.”

The first set of goals came when Syracuse needed it most. With the score 10-5 in the third period, Syracuse rattled off four consecutive goals. Jamie Trimboli went five-hole to beat Virginia goalie Will Railey (8 saves), followed by a man-down goal from Nate Solomon just 42 seconds later.

Another quick goal 48 seconds later, this time from Brendan Bomberry, made the score 10-8. Matt Lane finished the run with a man-up goal on a pass from Salcido at the 2:05 mark, bringing the Orange to within one.

Virginia’s Michael Kraus ended the run and the period with a goal — his fourth of the afternoon to lead all scorers — and the third period concluded with a score of 11-9 in Virginia’s favor.

Syracuse started another run to open the fourth. Solomon finished his hat trick off a Nick Mariano assist with an underhanded, sidearm flick past Railey, and Salcido tied the game at 11 at the 12:06 mark.

Ryan Conrad put the Cavaliers back in front with his second of the afternoon but was answered with a Ryan Simmons to tie the game at 12 with just over 10 minutes to play.

Aitken finished his hat trick and found the back of the net for Virginia at the 7:04 mark. But, the one-goal advantage would not last for long. Lane, who entered the game with only one goal and one assist so far on the campaign, tallied a hat trick as well, tying the game with 5:45 left in the game. Lane also had two assists.

After multiple timeouts in the last two minutes of the game, Salcido was able to break free from Virginia defender Michael Howard and find the back of the net with less than 20 seconds left, completing Syracuse’s last run.

“I give Salcido credit. He got himself open … that was a heck of play he made,” Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany said. 

Faceoff specialist Ben Williams, who missed last week’s game against Army due to injury, won the crucial faceoff to ice the game and send the Orange home on top.

“When you’re in the ACC and you have four ACC games, we’ve just won 25 percent of them,” Desko said. “So it was a good win for us and hopefully it’s going to be a good win for us come tournament time.”

The loss certainly did not come because of lack of possessions for the Cavaliers. Syracuse won the game despite losing the groundball and faceoff battles. Virginia picked up 43 groundballs and controlled 17 of 31 face offs.

“We really did a great job on the ground balls … we created extra possessions for ourselves most of the game,” Tiffany said.

Ultimately, it came down to the last possession even though the Cavaliers were in control for most of the game.

“This one obviously is a tough one, but we played our hearts out … just one more opportunity we might have won,” said Kraus, who also recorded two assists for a six-point afternoon.

The game started just as exciting as it finished. Virginia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Conrad and Aitken. Mariano responded with an underhanded goal, but Zed Williams answered by scoring 25 seconds later.

Goals from Syracuse’s Jordan Evans, Peter Dearth, and Lane, and Virginia’s AJ Fish on a nifty behind-the-back pass from Kraus, ended the first period with the score tied at four.

But Syracuse went cold in the second period, failing to score a single goal. Virginia, on the other hand, did not take its foot off the gas. The Cavaliers took advantage of the Orange scoring drought and found the back of the net four times, including three consecutive goals from Kraus to give them a four-goal advantage heading into the break.

“I thought that Virginia came in well-prepared, played very well, especially in the first half,” Desko said.

After a comeback win over Albany and a rally that came up just short against Army, a second half deficit was nothing new for the Orange, but it’s something Salcido would like to get away from.

“It’s not what we want to be doing, getting into these nail biters here coming down the stretch,” Salcido said. “We probably want to get a lead early and control the game. But you have to adapt and overcome.”

The game must feel like déjà vu for Virginia. Last year’s matchup featured the same score and the same result for the Cavaliers albeit in Virginia.

Syracuse hits the road for the first time this season when it returns to action Saturday at St. John's.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.