Battle tested was the word that Hobart men's lacrosse head coach T.W. Johnson threw out to the media in Tuesday's night's postgame press conference.
The Statesmen have played its fifth ranked opponent in the Top 20 this season and were tested early on with the likes of Cornell, Ohio State, Denver and Bellarmine. Included in the mix of those elite programs was No. 5 Syracuse. This time, the Orange was on the losing end of a 13-12 score at the Carrier Dome.
Hobart held Syracuse's high powered offense scoreless for the last 11 minutes of the fourth quarter and made the necessary adjustments to succeed on the field. It got key contributions from senior attack Alex Love (6 goals, 1 assist) and junior goalkeeper Peter Zonino (18 saves).
"We came in with a game plan and we thought it was a good game plan," Syracuse head coach John Desko said. "We have been on the other end when the other team has had so many possessions and we've come out on top by one. With the statistics the way they were I thought we could have come out on top, but I congratulate Hobart. I thought they played a good game."
Despite an early 3-2 Statesmen lead early in the second quarter, the Orange would erupt and go on a 6-1 goal run and double up the Statesmen 8-4. Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue netted two of his three goals on the evening in the second; however, it was Hobart's Love that would get the last word heading into intermission with back-to-back scores to cut the deficit to two at 8-6.
"We felt like were trailing their cutters a lot," Johnson said about the slight revisions on defense. "Maltz and Cometti, in all honesty, are some of the better guys off the ball we've seen all year. We knew coming into the game that would be a challenge for us defensively. We talked [at halftime] about staying between the ball and our guy a little bit more. You just can't give those guys – offensively – cushion, they are too skilled and talented."
After a Statesmen goal a minute-and-a-half into the fourth by Love on an assist by Matt Opsahl, the Orange connected on two consecutive scores by junior Derek Maltz and Donahue to push the lead to 12-9 at the 11:36 mark. The redshirt freshman's score proved to be the last as Hobart's offense rattled off four consecutive goals with the eventual game-winner coming from Love at 2:13.
Syracuse's Steve Ianzito had a chance for the equalizer when he fired a shot in transition, but Zonino stood his ground, turning away the redshirt senior's bounce shot.
"They don't quit," Desko said. "It's a Hobart-Syracuse game. Guys know each other, and we're right down the road. We expect this kind of game every year from them."
Hobart rallies and upsets Orange 13-12
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