Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/9/13
From Press Release and
Contributing Writer David A. Willauer
Derek Maltz scored three goals and Player of the Game JoJo Marasco had a goal and four assists to pace Syracuse to a 13-11 victory over St. John’s today at PPL Park in the opener of the inaugural Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic.
The game was tied, 10-10, when Luke Cometti put the Orange (3-1, 1-0 in Big East) up for good early in the fourth quarter. St. John’s was still in range when Kieran McArdle (four goals, two assists) scored for the Red Storm (3-2, 0-1) with 6:25 to play. But Scott Loy salted it for Syracuse just over a minute later.
The game was a homecoming for a number of St. John’s regulars. Junior attackman Colin Keegan (Springfield-Delco) had two goals and an assist. Starting defenseman Mark DiFrangia (La Salle) had a groundball and Joe Addona (Springfield-Delco) joined him on the back line. Midfielder Connor Mullen (Downingtown West) had an assist and two groundballs.
For Syracuse, Matt Walters (Haverford School) played on EMO opportunities and took one shot.
The game was much closer than last year’s 12-4 rout by the Orange in the Big East championship game at Villanova. But that was little consolation to Keegan.
“In the past we tried to keep up with them, but now we expect to beat them every time we go on the field,” said Keegan. “We expect a battle when we play them. We played hard, but we made a couple turnovers in key points of the game.”
Keegan said it was a thrill to play in a pro stadium in his hometown.
“Its exciting,” he said. “It’s hard to keep your head on straight when you walk out there and see your family. It was a very exciting atmosphere.”
The Orange’s first midfield line of Marasco, Cometti and Scott Loy combined for 10 points in the victory.
Marasco had a hand in three of SU’s first four goals and finished with a team-high five points (one goal, four assists) to earn Whitman’s Sampler Player of the Game honors. Cometti matched his personal best with three points (two goals, one assist) and Loy had two goals.
It was Marasco who helped stake the Orange to a 4-1 lead in the first half. He assisted on goals by Cometti and Maltz in the opening quarter, and struck from 12 yards out with 11:29 to play in the second.
Just as it appeared Syracuse would pull away, the Red Storm responded with a 3-0 run to tie the game on goals by Alex Lagodich, Kieran McArdle and Keegan.
Following the Red Storm scoring spree, a three-goal burst by the Orange resulted in a 7-4 SU lead at the half, and Maltz gave the Orange its biggest advantage (8-4) with a goal at 13:01 of the third quarter.
But again St. John’s rallied.
McArdle and Kevin Cernuto each scored twice over the next 2:23 to even the game at 8-8. Both of Cernuto’s goals were man-up tallies.
The two teams traded goals for the remainder of the third period with defenseman Brian Megill scoring in transition to give the Orange a 10-9 margin heading into the final 15 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Cernuto knotted the game again (10-10), scoring unassisted with 13:30 to play. The SU defense rose to the challenge after that, holding the Red Storm to one goal the rest of the way, and the Orange offense netted three of the game’s last four goals to seal the win.
In addition to the midfield production, Syracuse received major contributions from Maltz and Kevin Rice. Maltz scored three goals to record his first hat trick of the year. Rice tied his career high with four points (one goal, three assists).
McArdle, the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, paced the Red Storm with a game-high six points (four goals, two assists).
Red Storm goalie Jeff Lowman finished with 12 saves.