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Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Men’s Lacrosse Wins in Triple Overtime Off Madonna’s Pass

By Chris Thomsen

With under four minutes left in the third overtime period, Dom Madonna had no idea what to do with the ball. The goalie had made four significant saves since the end of regulation that had kept Syracuse in contention. Little did Madonna know that he was about to win it too.

He briefly saw Ryan Simmons crossing over into the box from the left sidelines. Madonna then tossed the ball from the opposite end of the field that landed right in Simmons’ stick.

Moments later, Simmons had scored his first overtime goal in an Orange uniform. Syracuse (2-1) had completed its comeback from a five-goal deficit to defeat Army (3-1) in a win that may turn around expectations for this year’s roster.

“A good day for the Orange,” head coach John Desko said. “Good to get that win. We grew a lot today.”

The first half mirrored all of SU’s problems it had against Albany last week. Nate Solomon struck first with nine minutes left in the first quarter. From there, Army scored six unanswered goals that came from four different scorers. Danny Varello had significant problems at the X, winning only two out of nine face-offs. The Orange failed to clear on three times while earning three penalties on separate occasions.

But it all came together in the third quarter. Syracuse forced four turnovers on defense while outshooting the Black Knights, 12-3. The biggest difference may have been in ground balls, where SU picked up nine to Army’s two. The result was a clear sign of its progress: SU scored six goals that brought the Orange back within one before the fourth quarter.

The two teams traded goals throughout the last 15 minutes. Nate Solomon got the lead with his fifth goal of the season, but Connor DeWitt’s goal for the Black Knights equalized the score at 10-10 with five minutes left. Army had possession in the final minute, but SU defender Brett Kennedy forced the ball out of Sean O’Brien’s stick before he could fire with seconds left on the clock.

Madonna’s four saves in the three overtime periods gave his team more opportunities to complete the come-from-behind win. But it wasn’t until his pass to Simmons where SU had a chance to seal the victory.

“We were looking for the inside, for guys closer,” Madonna said. “I could sense it was coming down, time was running down. Then I heard Brendan Bomberry yelling to me downfield and I looked up. And I looked up. The guy dropped off (Simmons). (Simmons) broke off across the middle and I saw him and I had a window. So I hit him.”

The win may have huge implications as Syracuse heads on the road for three of its next five matchups, all against ranked opponents. The Orange heads to Charlottesville next Sunday for its first ACC contest against No. 6 Virginia, who won 18-15 on Saturday over Princeton.