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Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 at 8:02 pm

Syracuse Overcomes Early Four-Goal Deficit in Win Against Johns Hopkins

By Sam Rothman

CitrusTV Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

This is a season of redemption for Syracuse men’s lacrosse. The Orange’s seven losses last season were their most since 2012. One of those tough defeats came just one year ago as Johns Hopkins came into the Carrier Dome and picked up a dominating 18-7 victory. SU didn’t want that to happen again. But after the Blue Jays built a 5-1 lead early in the first quarter, it looked like history may repeat itself.

“We didn’t get the ball into our offensive end of the field until 11 minutes to go in the first quarter, so the first four minutes they had the ball the whole time,” Syracuse Head Coach John Desko said. “We didn’t clear it a couple of times which gave them extra possessions.”

However, that was definitely not the case in the final 15 minutes of the game. A six-goal offensive outburst in the fourth quarter allowed Syracuse (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) to flip the script against Johns Hopkins (2-3, 0-0 Big Ten) and pick up the 14-10 victory.

“No one wants to quit on our team,” said SU captain Peter Dearth. “Syracuse lacrosse is kind of historic for that.”

The Blue Jays got the scoring started just thirty seconds into the game. Syracuse lost the opening faceoff and Alex Concannon fired one past SU goalie Drake Porter. The Orange responded right away.

Syracuse’s ability to transition from defense to offense has been a staple this season. Senior Tyson Bomberry forced a turnover and found a streaking Peter Dearth in front of JHU goalie Ryan Darby to make it a 1-1 game.

However, it wouldn’t be tied again until halfway through the second quarter. The Blue Jays went on a four-goal run early in the first, and the Orange just couldn’t find an answer. Syracuse started to gain some momentum as it pulled within two with five seconds left in the opening frame.

Eventually, Jamie Trimboli tied the game at six halfway through the second, which led to a back-and-forth battle between the two most historic programs in college lacrosse. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Syracuse came to life and pulled ahead.

“They play in spurts,” Johns Hopkins Head Coach Dave Pietramala said. “They always have. I’ve been coming up here for 25 years. For 25 years, Syracuse has been playing in spurts.”

Two JHU penalties allowed the Orange to have that fourth quarter spurt. On the man-up, Trimboli beat his defender and leveled the game at nine goals a piece. Then Jacob Buttermore blasted one past Darby for Syracuse’s first lead of the game. Moments later, LSM Brett Kennedy ran down the field and netted Syracuse’s eleventh goal of the day.

“I just came down and it was open so I figured, ‘Why not just let it go?,’” said Kennedy. “I think it was good momentum after [Buttermore] for us to come right back down and get another.”

And David Lipka would add another just two minutes later for the three-goal advantage. The Orange erupted on the sidelines as the Blue Jays called a timeout. With Syracuse potting three goals in less than three minutes, it was now Johns Hopkins who couldn’t find the answer.

“At the end of the day, when you look at it, I think this game comes down to the fourth quarter,” said Pietramala. “It comes down to poise and composure. When you look at the statistics, the fourth quarter is the difference maker.”

Buttermore played a huge role in in that fourth quarter by netting two goals in the fourth quarter for his second hat trick in the past two games.

“I think what helped is that we rotated Buttermore in with the first midfield,” said Desko. “Him getting more time got more goals. So if he keeps doing that, we’re just going to keep playing him more and more.”

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of Syracuse’s last national championship, and members of that team were recognized during a halftime celebration. Down by three goals in the fourth quarter of that championship game, the 2009 squad scored four straight goals to claim the Orange’s eleventh NCAA title. A decade later, it was another late four-goal effort that led to a victory.

“As a kid I saw the way they played,” said Dearth. “They never gave up. They ended up winning a national championship because of it. So when you come to Syracuse, that’s just the way you try to play. I think that’s in our DNA as Syracuse lacrosse players.”

Syracuse will face its second straight Big Ten opponent next week when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday.

@samrothman_ | sbrothma@syr.edu