Syracuse falls to Cavaliers, 12-11
Down by one goal with 30 seconds left, the fate of the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team laid in the skinny legs of Brian Crockett. After a Jarett Park missed shot, Crockett and Virginia’s Ricky Smith found themselves in a foot race to recover the ground ball.
The person closest to the ball when it bounced out of bounds would gain possession. In Syracuse’s case, it would have given the Orange one more shot to tie the game. In Virginia’s case, the possession would have sealed a gritty victory in the Carrier Dome.
‘I thought I got there,’ Crockett said. ‘When the ball went out I thought I was ahead of my man. From my perspective, it looked like I was ahead of him.’
The referee saw otherwise.
‘There’s not very much you can do about it,’ Crockett said.
After winning the ground ball, the Cavaliers were able to run out the rest of the clock in a 12-11 win. Despite the close finish, the Cavaliers led for most of the game, taking as much as a three-goal lead at multiple points in the third quarter.
But No. 2 Syracuse (1-1) fought back and rallied to within one goal with 1:17 remaining. That set up SU’s last possession, a disputed one, according to Crockett. Sensing Syracuse’s momentum, the crowd of 6,478 rose to its feet for SU’s ensuing face-off, which Danny Brennan won.
Crockett then called for the ball and set up a play. After the game, he said he was trying to attack the cage in order to draw the defense to him. Then, he said, he would find an open midfielder. But Virginia (3-0) was waiting for him. It keyed Crockett and gave him almost no room to maneuver near the cage. Finally, Park earned possession of the ball and took a shot at the cage.
It hit off Virginia defenseman Steve Holmes’ shoe and caromed out of bounds, where Crockett was beat out by Smith. After controlling possession for the final 30 seconds, Cavalier attackman John Christmas flung the ball into the air as he mobbed sophomore goalie Kip Turner, who finished with 18 saves.
‘Coming in the Dome and winning a game against these guys,’ said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. ‘It’s a terrific win.’
But both teams played sloppy at points. The Orange relinquished two straight face-offs to start the game and found itself down, 2-0, before it even controlled the ball on offense nearly five minutes into the game. In the first quarter especially, the Orange overthrew passes and made costly turnovers. But SU settled down and evened the score at two by the end of the first quarter.
The Cavaliers did their damage almost immediately after halftime. They scored two straight goals to open the half, the second coming on a freak play in front of the SU net. After saving a shot by Matt Ward, SU goalie Jay Pfeifer was about to clear the ball to a teammate. But the ball popped straight into the air from his stick and into the stick of Matt Poskay, who was harassing Pfeifer in front of the SU goal.
Poskay lofted a two-foot shot past Pfeifer to give Virginia a 7-4 lead with 13:20 to play in the third quarter. Nearly two minutes later, SU had a chance for cheap payback. After Turner misplayed a ball 20 yards from the cage, SU freshman Mike Leveille picked up the ground ball and sprinted toward the unattended net. He fed the ball to Crockett, who was about to plant an easy SU goal, but Virginia defender Michael Culver laid him out before he could get the shot off.
From there, UVA put six more past Pfeifer, who finished with nine saves but let in 12 goals. ‘I think he’d like to have a couple of those back,’ said SU head coach John Desko.
‘I was hoping to break 10 goals,’ said Ward, who had two scores of his own. ‘Twelve is a plus.’
No. 6 Virginia 12
No. 2 Syracuse 11
1 2 3 4 F
No. 6 UVA 2 3 4 3 12
No.2 SU 2 2 4 3 11
G A P
Poskay 4 0 4
Christmas 3 1 4
Ward 2 0 2
Dixon 1 1 2
Little 1 0 1
Gill 1 0 1
Morrissey 0 1 1
Thompson 0 1 1
GA Shots Saves
Turner 11 37 18
G A P
Bucktooth 3 1 4
Crockett 3 1 4
Rommel 2 0 2
Park 1 1 2
Brooks 1 0 1
Plunket 1 0 1
GA Shots Saves
Pfeifer 12 40 9
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