Philadelphia, PA – Syracuse is no stranger to one goal games this season.
In fact, the Orange have played in ten one goal games in the season. Yet, they have only two losses in one goal games, with those losses coming to Villanova and Hobart.
Last night, the Orange would refuse to lose as the game was tied in the final seconds. The # 1 ranked Orange used a Danny Waltz game-winner to defeat the #6 ranked Denver Pioneers, 9-8, at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Orange and the Pioneers are no stranger to each other. Both teams have faced each other four times, including last night for the first time in NCAA Tournament history, yet Syracuse is a perfect 4-0 against Denver.
“One goal,” said Denver head coach Bill Tierney. “I don’t mean that to be stupid, but in September 7th when the guys came in, because last year we lost seven games by one goal to the national champ, twice by one and once by two, and so we kind of developed this mantra, call it “one goal” in our huddles. That’s how we break our huddles. It’s the nature of the game now. Everybody has got enough good players, if the kids aren’t motivated somebody is going to knock you down. We all have losses to teams that are on paper not as good. But there’s going to just continue to be a lot of one‑goal games. Syracuse doesn’t have‑‑ there’s no Powells or Gates running around out there, just a bunch of great hard‑working young men that know they’re going to be in tight games and have found a way to win most of them.”
With the win, the Orange will face Duke, who is ranked 4th, in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse Championship game at 1 pm on Monday. These two teams last faced each other in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 1st, 2012 when Duke beat Syracuse, 12-10.
Syracuse head coach John Desko is 3-1 against Duke in his coaching career at Syracuse, with the loss coming last year at MetLife Stadium. In fact, Duke is 2-8 all-time against Syracuse in program history.
“You know, the same thing we’ve taken out of the last few games,” said Coach Desko. “They’ve been very similar, and I think we’re at a point now where we don’t even have to really talk about how we won the game or how we played at the end because that’s just what we do. So I think we’re just going to get together. We’ll get together as coaches after this and watch a little more. Duke, the assistant coaches were up in the press box watching and trying to get a scouting report together, and we’ll discuss that tonight. We have very little time. We haven’t played them this year so we don’t know them like some of the other opponents that we have played, and vice versa for them. As a matter of fact for them they were probably scouting Denver so we probably have an advantage. They probably flipped their books over and focused more on them thinking they were going to be the winners. We’ll get together tonight and tomorrow and try to get as much information to the team in the next 48 hours here so that we know who they are going into Monday’s game.”
Maltz was able to send the Orange into that matchup with Duke with his game-winning goal to make it 9-8 Orange. His game-winner came on a rebound in front of the net with 20 seconds left in the game.
“I think that we worked all week on what if JoJo [Marasco] gets shut off, and Luke had a terrific game, so he took the ball hard to the cage,” said Maltz. “The ball trickled off the goalie’s chest and I was basically just in the right spot at the right time, and I’m just thankful that the ball went in the back of the net and we’re moving on to Monday.”
Prior to Maltz’s game-winner, Luke Cometti was able to tie the game at 8-8 with less than a minute left in the game. Fellow Orange teammate JoJo Marasco got the Orange close with his goal to make it 8-7.
Eric Law scored the Pioneers only goal in the fourth goal at 5:17. And it was one of only three goals for Denver in the second half.
Scott Loy and Maltz added additional goals in the fourth quarter for the Orange.
The third quarter was an even affair as both teams scored twice. Law and Taylor Young scored in the quarter for Denver. Marasco and Dylan Donahue scored for the Orange.
The Pioneers also added the advance after the second quarter, as both teams went into halftime. Denver led 5-2 as the teams regrouped.
They were able to add two goals in the second quarter by Law and Cameron Flint. Cometti scored the lone Orange goal in the second, like he did in the first.
Denver led 3-1 after the first quarter. They were led by Eric Adamson, who scored the first two goals in the game. Then Chase Carraro added the third goal in the quarter for the Pioneers.
“Yeah, the way we play lacrosse is that you can’t play on the field for us unless you’re willing to play in a system, and a good system because one that takes advantage of what the other team gives us, and again, today was a little bit of an exception with all those turnovers,” said Coach Tierney. “But without the Eric Adamsons and the Taylor Youngs, Jeremy Noble, arguably our best lacrosse player, just gets back kind of a week or two ago, he’s still not himself, and that’s certainly not an excuse. He played hard out there today. But those guys develop‑‑ Matt Brown does a phenomenal job with our offense. It’s about people movement, ball movement, and usually we shoot pretty well. I didn’t check the‑‑ took 24 shots and scored eight goals. Percentage‑wise that’s fine, but that’s not a lot of shots. Syracuse held the ball a lot, took long possessions, and that stopped our chances to get a lot of shots from some of our big boys.
“You know, we’re proud of the young men that aren’t the big names, and without those guys you don’t have a team. You need those guys. We’re not going to get everybody’s 14‑year‑old All‑American. We’re going to get guys that need to develop sometimes, and they’ve done a great job of doing that.”
Cometti scored the lone Orange goal in the quarter.