April 3, 2011

'Cuse Offense Comes to Life under Big City Lights; Galloway Becomes NCAA Career Wins Leader

by Chris R. Vaccaro | LaxMagazine.com | Big City Classic Blog Replay

Duke attackman Jordan Wolf slips a shot past Syracuse goalkeeper John Galloway in the Big City Classic at New Meadowlands Stadium. Galloway made 16 saves to pick up his 52nd career victory, the most by any goalie in NCAA history.

© Jim O'Connor

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.Y. – Despite out-shooting Syracuse, picking up more ground balls and winning the majority of the faceoffs, the No. 3-ranked Duke men's lacrosse team played the loser to top-ranked Syracuse's offensive masterpiece Sunday.

With balanced scoring and an early surge that provided it a cushion it would later need, Syracuse walked away with a 13-11 win before 25,115 fans in the third game of the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at New Meadowlands Stadium.

St. John's beat Rutgers in the first game, and Johns Hopkins beat North Carolina in the second contest.

Syracuse (8-0) had a 9-2 lead after the first half with nine different players scoring the goals.

While the Orange won the game, the score sheet tells a different story. Duke out-shot Syracuse, 42-29, and picked up 34 ground balls compared to the Orange's 20. C.J. Costabile (11) and Brendan Fowler (nine) combined for 20 faceoff wins for Duke, while five different players won a total of seven for Syracuse.

"What I thought would happen, kind of did," said Duke coach John Danowski. "Playing in the big lights, I can't say it didn't get to us. It did. I'm proud of our guys for continuing to play the right way. Syracuse was tremendously poised, but that's why they're No. 1."

In the first quarter, the Orange exploded for a 6-1 lead and left Duke speechless on the defensive end. The second quarter wasn't much better, with Stephen Keogh, JoJo Marasco and Tim Harder scoring goals. Zach Howell scored Duke's only mark in the second.

"We played one of our best halves of the season," Syracuse coach John Desko said. "The offense was clicking and defense was playing well."

Midfielder Jovan Miller, who recorded two goals and two assists, said the Syracuse offense has been, "thinking too much," and cut that down against Duke.

"You can tell in the first half how relaxed we were, and it carried on from there," he said.

The third quarter was balanced, with each team exchanging four goals, including a behind-the-back bounce shot from Keogh and another which gave him a hat trick and Syracuse a 12-6 lead with 28 seconds left in the quarter.

Duke (8-3) rallied late with a 5-0 run in the fourth quarter. But after trailing by as much as 13-6 late, the Blue Devils found their offensive rhythm too late.

Syracuse goalie John Galloway, who made 16 saves in the win, recorded career win No. 52, setting the NCAA Division I record for wins by a goaltender.

"It really is a special thing for us as a team," he said, "not for me individually. It was a special win to beat Duke in our season. It means a lot for us."

Howell, who scored two goals in the final five minutes, was Duke's main offensive stud during the contest. He led all scorers with six points (4g, 2a).

Duke will be back in the New York metropolitan area next week, as it takes on Denver at Bethpage High School on Long Island next Saturday. Syracuse will travel to Princeton the same day.

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