Syracuse Uses Fourth-Quarter Surge to Take Down No. 2 Duke in OT
By Sam Rothman
CitrusTV Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
CICERO, N.Y. ーBrendan Curry darted down the right wing and came face-to-face with Duke netminder Turner Uppgren. Syracuse had just scored four straight goals to tie the game near the end of the fourth quarter. With 14 seconds left in regulation, Curry had the chance to win the game for the Orange. But, for the eleventh-straight time, the midfielder’s shot didn’t find the back of net, instead ringing off the pipe.
“It did get tough towards the end,” said Curry. “I was like, ‘Cmon.’ My teammates just told me to keep shooting and just keep the confidence up.”
Curry’s perseverance eventually paid off. Nate Solomon found him cutting towards the crease, and yet again, it was just the midfielder one-on-one with the Blue Devils goalie. This time, the shot counted as Curry netted the game-winner with just 40 seconds remaining in overtime. No. 12 Syracuse (5-2, 1-1 ACC) upsets No. 2 Duke (8-2, 0-1 ACC) in a 9-8 victory Saturday afternoon.
“It was kind of a blur,” said Curry. “He [Uppgren] hedged to my right side and I kinda saw a little bit of an opening underneath. Then I kinda just jumped up in the air and found the back of the net.”
Curry’s teammates mobbed him as he finally cashed it in when it mattered the most. The nearly 5,000 fans in the stands jumped to their feet at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Syracuse played its first home game outside the Carrier Dome in 30 years, and the Orange faithful packed Bragman Stadium with standing-room only.
“This was one of the coolest atmospheres I’ve ever played in,” said Curry. “This is definitely one to remember.”
Originally, it looked like this ACC matchup was definitely going to stick out for the wrong reasons for Syracuse. Duke took a commanding 3-0 lead right out of the gate behind Joe Robertson, the Blue Devils’ leading scorer, and Garrett Leadmon.
Syracuse responded with back-to-back goals in under a minute. Nate Solomon dodged through three defenders to score while Jamie Trimboli, who scored the game-winning goal against Duke the past two seasons, pulled the Orange within one on the man-up.
The Blue Devils netted another three-straight goals to take a 6-2 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
“We had eleven turnovers at halftime,” said Head Coach John Desko. “We didn’t clear the ball well.”
Syracuse outshot Duke 8-5 in the third quarter but capitalized on just one of those chances. As the fourth quarter got underway, the Blue Devils tickled the twine twice to regain a four-goal lead.
“I saw people leaving the stands thinking that the game was over,” said Desko. “Fortunately, our bench did not think that way.”
The Orange didn’t give up, despite struggling to convert on their chances. For the third-straight game, Syracuse pulled off a four-goal fourth-quarter comeback, and Desko attributed it to a key change on offense.
“They were coming so well from the crease area that we cleaned out the crease and had just one player there,” said Desko. “That kind of changed their slide package. In a hot game like this, when you do that, the defense has to adjust.”
The Blue Devils couldn’t adjust as the Orange kept shooting and eventually, they caught on fire.
Syracuse faces another ACC foe, Notre Dame, for its first road test of the season on Saturday at noon.
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