SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In a battle for Central New York lacrosse bragging rights, No. 8 Syracuse (8-2) rebounded from an early four-goal deficit to upset No. 2 Cornell, 13-12, on Wednesday, April 10 at Carrier Dome. The Orange rallied behind its first midfield line which combined for 11 points against the Big Red (10-2).
Senior Luke Cometti (Syracuse, N.Y.) led the trio with a career-high four goals. Classmate JoJo Marasco (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) had two goals and two assists, and junior Scott Loy (Toledo, Ohio) finished with one goal and two assists.
“From day one we have come together as a group. I think we complement each other well,” Marasco said of the unit’s chemistry. “We feel comfortable with one another and the coaches have really helped us out with understanding the offense.”
The play of that group, along with a stellar defensive effort on Cornell superstar Rob Pannell over the last three quarters, propelled the Orange to its fourth win over a Top 10 team this year. Pannell (one goal, three assists) factored in four of the Big Red’s first five goals, but he was shut out after that.
In the early going, Pannell assisted on three straight goals to help stake the visitors to a 4-0 advantage. Syracuse switched to a zone defense after that to slow Pannell down. The plan worked and the Orange responded to the initial Cornell blitzkrieg by scoring four of the game’s next five goals to trim the Big Red margin to 5-4.
A Max Van Bourgondien tally with 1:09 left in the period made it 6-4 Cornell at the end of one.
Consecutive second-quarter goals by junior Billy Ward (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and Cometti tied the score at 6-6. However, Cornell went on another scoring spree thanks to Connor Buczek who netted three straight goals to put the Big Red in front 9-6 with 11:18 to play in the third period.
Following Buczek’s personal scoring binge, Marasco and Cometti each scored twice in a 4-1 Orange run that knotted the game, 10-10, less than three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Another Van Bourgondien goal briefly gave the Big Red the lead until Cometti found the cage unassisted with 7:13 left to play. Cometti’s fourth goal of the night sparked a 3-0 Syracuse spurt over the next 2:03 that resulted in a 13-11 advantage.
Connor’s English’s goal with 4:22 remaining drew Cornell to within one, and the Big Red had a final chance to tie it with less than 30 seconds left after Marasco was shoved by two Cornell defenders and turned the ball over.
On the ensuing possession, English’s shot with 22 ticks left hit the cross bar. Redshirt senior Steve Ianzito (Clay, N.Y.) picked up the ground ball for Syracuse and launched it the length of the field. Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue (Camillus, N.Y.) made the catch and ran out the clock, sealing the win.
Orange junior goalie Dominic Lamolinara (Arnold, Md.) finished with 12 saves in the victory, including eight in the second half. Cornell goalie AJ Fiore made eight saves on the night.
In addition to Pannell’s four-point performance, the Big Red also got four points from Buczek, who led the team with four goals, and Van Bourgondien (three goals, one assist).
Syracuse returns to BIG EAST Conference play this weekend when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday, April 13 at the Carrier Dome. Faceoff between the Orange and Scarlet Knights is set for 1 p.m. on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
Game Notes: The win ended SU’s two-game losing streak to the Big Red and was the team’s fifth consecutive home victory since a season-opening loss to Albany on Feb. 17 … Ianzito scored his first goal of the season in the opening quarter … The early 4-0 deficit is the largest Syracuse has overcome to win a game this year.