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Saturday, Feb 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm

‘Cuse Falls to Army on Last-Second Tally

By Nick Dugan

SYRACUSE N.Y. — Exactly one week ago, Nick Mariano snuck a shot past the Albany goalkeeper to lift the Orange over the Great Danes 10-9. Today, Syracuse (2-1) got a taste of its own medicine as Army’s David Symmes fired a shot past Evan Molloy to give the Black Knights (3-1) a 14-13 victory with just .5 seconds left on the clock.

“I knew at this point that we were probably short on time,” Symmes said. “I had a matchup that I liked and I split right to left, which they probably wouldn’t expect against me. My scout is probably right handed, and I just took the shot.”

“When they needed it the most with very little time left he went down that left alley,” Head Coach John Desko said. “I though the defense wasn’t bad on it. [Andrew] Helmer had played him pretty tough and he got that left-handed shot off. So, it was very surprising that he would be able to shoot the ball like that with his left. He hadn’t showed that at any other time.

After a Nate Jones goal that gave Army a 2-2 tie late in the first quarter, the Orange would not play from out in front for the rest of the game. The Black Knights led in almost every major statistical category, as it outshot SU 47-31, picked up seven more ground balls and won 17 of the game’s 30 face offs.

A large reason for Syracuse’s face off struggles could be attributed to Ben William’s injury, which sidelined him for the entire contest. In his absence, Cal Paduda opened the game winning just three of the 13 face offs that he took. Late in second quarter, Paduda was replaced by freshman Dan Varello who gave the Orange some much-needed possession, going 10 of 17 at the X.

When asked about the situation he was put into, Varello stressed the importance of preparedness.

“You come into every week, you know, hoping you’re going to play, obviously,” said the Kings Park (NY) native. “Every guy on the team does. When you have a guy like Ben Williams you think he’s not really ever going to slip up, he’s not really going to have a bad game, but incase he does, it’s a coach’s job, it’s a team’s job to prepare for the worst … you kind of always have to have that mindset, because if you don’t, you’re not going to succeed.”

Desko felt that going to the freshman was a key part of the team’s halftime adjustment.

“I think he got down a little quicker on the ball than Cal was. To his credit, and our wings too, were more aggressive in the second half … Danny did a great job of getting out to himself. The Army face-off guys [have] got quick hands. He surprised us a little bit in the first half. With Cal not coming up with them, it was plan B, and plan B worked pretty good.”

After last year’s team was just inches shy of forcing overtime in the Carrier Dome last season, Army Head Coach Joe Alberici was proud of the way his team fought to pull out the win this season.

“There’s been plenty of these here in recent years where we’ve come up short, you know, one-goal game in recent times,” Alberici said. “It just feels good, good to get one.”

Despite the loss, Jordan Evans, Nick Mariano, Brendan Bomberry and Sergio Salcido all contributed four points on the day. Evan Molloy also made a valiant effort in net, stopping a total of 12 shots.

Syracuse will look forward to continued offensive production and the return of Ben Williams as the team will host its fourth-straight game when ACC foe Virginia visits the Carrier Dome on Sunday, March 5. The opening face off is set for 12:00 p.m.