Entering Saturday afternoon's contest against Rutgers, Syracuse men's lacrosse head coach John Desko really didn't know what to expect from his team. Syracuse was running the gamut, playing its third game in a week and reeling.
"Having to come back against Princeton at their place," Desko said, "then preparing for Cornell and playing them Wednesday – another one goal game – the guys are a little bit tired. I thought we came out flat. I don't want to take anything from Rutgers, I thought they played well and shot well."
Despite being outplayed for three of the four quarters, the Orange somehow mustered enough in the tank when senior defenseman Brian Megill found junior Derek Maltz on a fast break for what would be the game-winning goal with 10 seconds left.
Fittingly, it was two seniors in Luke Cometti and Jojo Marasco that would rally the Orange offensively in a day dedicated to its 10 upperclassmen. Cometti would have a career high, recording six goals and one assist while Marasco chipped in five assists.
"We said in the huddle that even though its senior day, it's about the team," Marasco said. "We take it one game at a time. It showed at the end, we had some great opportunities to have the ball and I was able to find Luke a bunch of times. We shot just shot lights out. We never thought we would come close to a game like this, so just to step up at the end and put a couple big ones in and pull it out, this win is huge for the seniors and the team."
The Scarlet Knights used its momentum from the first half and carried into the third; scoring three straight goals to push the lead to 10-5 and utilizing Cazenovia graduate Joseph Nardella on the X. The sophomore had his way, going 17-for-25 on faceoffs. The early success prompted Desko to make a change, putting freshman Cal Paduda in as the faceoff specialist.
"It was definitely a good matchup," Paduda said about Nardella, "He is kind of like a grinder and so am I. We are both old school ground ball guys. Our wings played great, though. I'm not taking anything away from Nardella, but our wings definitely stepped up."
Between the solid play of Cometti, Marasco, Maltz and Paduda, the Orange had a recipe for a come-from-behind win. Both Cometti and Maltz joined forces to outscore the Scarlet Knights 7-1 in the fourth quarter. All of Maltz's goals came in the final 15 minutes.
As for Rutgers, Anthony Terranova and Scott Klimchak combined for seven of the team's 11 goals. Terranova had four goals, including the one that came at the 5:40 mark of the fourth to briefly put the Scarlet Knights up 11-10. Klimchak had three goals, all which came in the third.
The Orange return to the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night to face Hobart. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Orange dig deep, beat Rutgers 12-11
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