April 13, 2010

Syracuse Foils Cornell Again on Last-Second Goal

by Brian Delaney | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Game Blog

Chris Daniello's putback as time expired lifted No. 2 Syracuse to an 8-7 comeback win Tuesday over No. 10 Cornell in a rematch of the 2009 NCAA Division I championship game.

© Greg Wall

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Once again, Syracuse dealt Cornell a crushing blow. Once again, a defensive takeaway led to the winning goal.

Senior Chris Daniello scored with less than a second remaining in Tuesday night’s non-league men’s lacrosse game at Schoellkopf Field, giving the second-ranked Orange a remarkable 8-7 victory over their Upstate New York rivals.

The game ended in an eerily similar fashion to last May’s national championship game, when Kenny Nims forced overtime with a goal with 4.5 seconds left before Cody Jamieson won it, 10-9, in the extra session.

Cornell, which led 7-5 early in the fourth quarter, had possession and a chance to win with under two minutes left Tuesday, but Scott Austin’s pass to Rob Pannell behind the cage was knocked to the ground by John Lade with about 30 seconds remaining, and the Orange – as they and few others can do – raced the other way.

“We decided not to take a timeout because we had their offensive middies on defense, and we’re pretty good in scramble situations so we just let it play,” Syracuse coach John Desko said.

Good move.

Cody Jamieson had first crack at the game-winner, but his shot in-tight was stoned by Cornell freshman A.J. Fiore – his 20th save of the night – with about 4 seconds left. But Daniello alertly picked up the loose ball, rolled two steps toward the middle and fired high to win it.

Fiore nearly neutralized Syracuse’s shot advantage (40-20), ground ball edge (45-25) and faceoff cushion (12-18). But in the end, Syracuse won because its defense stifled its second consecutive top-10, and Ivy League, opponent. The Orange had beaten Princeton 13-4 on Saturday.

“We did have to grind it out,” Desko said.

Lade was pitted against attackman Rob Pannell throughout. Pannell set up three goals, and now has 54 points on the season, but couldn’t get the ball back in his stick when Cornell needed it most – because of Lade.

“Looking back, I maybe should have held on to it, just held on to it for a minute and a half,” Pannell said. “Stood back there by myself, which I know I’m capable of but I gave it up and let some other guys kill some time. They were trying to get me the ball and the pass got knocked down.”

Cornell’s leading goalscorer, Ryan Hurley, was held scoreless after a first-period goal knotted the score at 1-1.

Longstick midfielder Joel White was everywhere, finishing with nine ground balls and three caused turnovers, and Galloway was particularly big in the first quarter. He made five saves, when Cornell had its best scoring opportunities. He made three saves over the final 45 minutes, but Cornell got only 12 shots off during that span.

Fiore’s brilliance drew the most attention afterward, but Syracuse’s defense was a key component of the team’s ninth win in 10 games. It was championship caliber.

“Both defenses were really good,” midfielder Jovan Miller said. “I know that Cornell, their defense kind of sets up their offense. We came into this one kind of expecting that they were going to slow the ball down and play good defense.”

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