Syracuse squeaks out a wet and wild overtime win

Syracuse pulled out the overtime win in a hard fought contest between the two Central New York rivals despite a dominant performance from Hobart goalie Max Silberlicht.

The Central New York Lacrosse rivalry between the Syracuse Orange (5-1, Big East 1-0) and the Hobart Statesmen (2-4, 0-1 ECAC) continued Tuesday night when the Orange squeaked by with a 9-8 overtime win at a cold and wet McCooey Field in Geneva, N.Y.

A crowd of 2,000 came out in full force despite the conditions, peppering SU players with unmentionable chants about their mothers and sisters and even a reappearance of the dead fish toss onto the turf.

The crowd was repaid for its enthusiasm with a down to the wire slugfest that added another storied chapter to the 84 year-old matchup between the two teams separated by three exits and an hour drive on the New York State Thruway. 

But it was Syracuse that took home the coveted Kraus-Simmons Trophy (named after legendary Hobart and SU coaches, Babe Kraus and Roy Simmons) for the 23rd time in 25 attempts.  With the win Syracuse avoided its first loss to an unranked opponent since a lost against UMass in 2007.

SU head coach John Desko said he wasn’t surprised with the intensity of the game both in the stands and on the field.

“Being here 31 years, this is kind of a run of the mill game, to be honest with you,” Desko said.

Despite the lopsided nature of the rivalry SU trailed Hobart for most of the game, including a two goal deficit heading into the fourth quarter. 

The Orange offense was held in check for much of the game by a close playing, physical Statesman defense and a career performance from goalie Max Silberlicht.  Silberlicht faced 56 shots from the No. 3 ranked Orange, tallying a career-high 23 saves.

Desko said the Hobart senior was the difference maker in the game.

“Their goalie was outstanding,” he said.  “He was the difference in the game.”

After Syracuse went up 2-1 in the first quarter, Hobart rattled off four unanswered goals before heading into the half up 5-2 and with the Statesmen fans stomping out a raucous “I believe that we will win” chant. 

Syracuse went through a 26 minute scoreless drought that stretched from late in first quarter to the five minute mark in the third quarter.  SU freshman attack JoJo Marasco broke thru for SU with an unassisted goal after a slide from behind the cage. 

The Statesmen answered back with an uncontested goal from long stick midfield Alex Caton after he sprinted up the field past a sleeping SU defense. 

Caton’s goal woke up the Orange, which followed with three unanswered goals from the team’s leading scorer Stephen Keogh, midfielder Jovan Miller and Marasco.

Marasco’s goal was a gem. 

He used a right-hand to left-hand stick switch and spin move to get around a defender that put him one-on-one in front of the crease with Silberlicht for the game tying goal early in the fourth quarter.  It was his second goal of the game and increased his points total for the game to a career-high three.

His poise, tenacity and aggressive play were reflected in the rest of the team, as the Orange started to fly around the field.  SU ferociously stick checked, dug up ground balls and forced the Statesman into six fourth period turnovers.

SU and Hobart traded goals until senior Chris Daniello scored his second goal of the game, putting the Orange up 8-7 with five minutes to go.  It was the team’s first lead since the first period ended.

Hobart attack Chris Pederson tied the game with his second goal of the day and just over a minute to play in the game.

SU would get one more shot off before the game was sent into overtime.

Hobart won the faceoff but quickly turned the ball over again.  SU misfired a series of shots on goal before recovering another Statesmen turnover.

With 1:30 left in overtime, the Orange team set its offense in motion with some quick passes and looks on goal before Daniello slid from behind the right side of the cage and found a defender- dodging Keogh open for the feed and the game winning goal with less than a minute to play in overtime.

It was Keogh’s second goal of the night and team leading 16th of the season.

Keogh chalked the goal up to pure luck after the Statesmen defense had forced him into bad shots all night.

“When I beat him, I kind of just closed my eyes and shot it,” Keogh said.  “I was taking some poor shots early in the game.  (Chris) Daniello just drove hard and found me wide open in the middle.  Luckily my shot found the back of the net.” 

Next up Syracuse faces Villanova at home in its second Big East matchup on Monday.

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