Syracuse, ranked No. 7 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, extended its win streak to three and fought their way to back to a winning record by defeating No. 20 Brown 9-8 in the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon.
Syracuse lacrosse and football great Jim Brown was in attendance for a halftime ceremony which dedicated two new scholarships in his name to the university.
The Orange (4-3) capitalized on a tough second quarter penalty on Brown (3-2) and relied heavily on their stalwart in goal, senior captain Jay Pfeifer.
"Once again we relied too much on Pfeifer to make some saves to maintain our lead," said Syracuse coach John Desko. "We didn't play as well as we liked. We had numerous turnovers in the second half. We can't do that and expect to win the game."
Pfeifer came up big for the Orange again with 12 saves, but repeatedly turned away Brown attackmen at the crease with point-blank saves.
Syracuse used a six goal run through the first and second quarters to build a 6-2 lead. The Orange capitalized on a 3 minute Brown unreleasable penalty by scoring three straight goals.
"That was really big for us," said Desko. "We took good advantage of that. It was obviously a huge swing for us."
At the end of the first quarter, refs performed a random stick check of a few players from each team to make sure they weren't using any illegal equipment, a customary practice. Refs found something they didn't like on the stick of Brown's attackman Alex Buckley.
As Desko explained, the refs flipped Buckely's stick upside-down with a ball in it so that the pocket was facing the ground. The ball didn't fall out. Refs penalized Brown for Buckley's illegal stick, giving Syracuse a critical man-up advantage.
Facing a 6-3 deficit at halftime, Brown battled back and wouldn't go away. Immediately after winning the opening face-off to start the second half, Brown's Kirk Teatem raced down the field unopposed to score on Pfeifer.
Pfeifer then made two of his many point-blank saves in a little more than a minute. The second came on Brown senior attackman Chazz Woodson with 10 minutes and 17 seconds remaining.
With Syracuse defender Steve Panarelli chasing him, Woodson streaked to the goal. Panarelli was able to force him to shoot high. Pfeifer followed the ball the whole way.
"He was running across and staying high the whole time. I knew he was going to go up high and I didn't think he had the option of going low," said Pfeifer. "It just happens. I don't think about his (Woodson's) tendencies."
Syracuse's Mike Leveille scored with 8:09 remaining in the third quarter but Woodson countered three minutes later with his second of three goals in the game.
The Orange took a 7-5 lead heading into the final quarter and won five of six face-offs to control offensive possession. Sloppy passing though, as happened throughout the game, led to numerous Syracuse turnovers.
Brown cut the Orange lead to one with a Dave Madeira goal with 6:40 remaining to play. Unfortunately for Brown, an anxious Syracuse crowd finally awoke.
With fans chanting "Let's go Orange," Syracuse countered with a Brian Crockett goal just 36 seconds later. Leveille found Crockett in the middle of the Brown defense in front of the goal. Crockett fought through traffic to score and give Syracuse a two-goal lead.
Greg Rommel scored his third goal of the game with 5:17 remaining, boosting the Syracuse lead to 9-6.
Brown made it interesting scoring the game's final two goals to keep the game close. A Danny Brennan face-off win with 12 seconds to go iced the game for the Orange.
Syracuse won 12-20 face-offs in the game. Junior Brett Bucktooth added two goals in the game.
Syracuse faces Loyola Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m. in Baltimore.
Pfeifer shuts down Brown
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