From Press Release
& David A. Willauer
Redshirt sophomore Dylan Donahue scored with one second left to lift No. 4 Syracuse (10-3) to a thrilling 16-15 victory over No. 2 Duke (12-3) in the semifinal round of the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Friday at PPL Park.
Donahue’s goal capped a furious rally that saw the Orange score six of the game’s last seven goals to advance to the conference championship game. Syracuse will face Notre Dame for the ACC title Sunday, April 27 at 1 p.m. on ESPNU.
Donahue’s winner came after midfielder Billy Ward tallied the equalizer with just 14.7 seconds left. Ward fired a left-handed shot past Duke goalie Luke Aaron after receiving an incredible behind-the-back pass from Randy Staats, tying the game, 15-15.
Senior Chris Daddio won the ensuing faceoff and the ball ended up in the stick of Kevin Rice near the top of the box. Rice whipped a pass inside to Donahue, who turned and scored just before the final buzzer.
“Kevin and I have been playing together for a long time as teammates for the Orange,” said Donahue. “Danny got the faceoff and ran to Kevin to set up a shot. When Kevin had trouble he tossed the ball to me and I shot the ball into the net for the win.”
“Obviously we are very excited we got the win today,” SU head coach John Desko said. “Duke came out and they’re a terrific team. We made some mistakes and they took advantage of every single one of them. Fortunately, we got a couple faceoffs at the end and these guys (Rice and Donahue) made a great play to get the win for us in our first time in the ACC Tournament.”
Donahue finished the game with four goals and two assists. Rice tied the ACC Tournament single-game scoring record with eight points (three goals, five assists). Ward, Derek Maltz and Hakeem Lecky chipped in with two goals apiece.
Syracuse defenseman Bobby Tait (Germantown Academy) contributed one groundball and a caused turnover.
For Duke, Jordan Wolf (Lower Merion) had a goal and four assists while Brian Dailey (Conestoga) had three groundballs and a caused turnover and Henry Lobb (Malvern Prep) had a groundball.
The game played out like a heavyweight fight with each side trading blows. Duke went first using a 3-0 surge to take a 5-2 advantage into the second quarter. The Orange responded with consecutive goals by Lecky, Rice, Staats and Maltz to claim a 6-5 lead with nine minutes to go before the half.
As expected, Duke answered back. The Blue Devils closed the half with four straight goals of their own, including one each by Josh Dionne and Case Matheis in the last minute. Matheis’ tally with five seconds left pushed the Duke edge to 10-8 at the break.
Duke stretched its lead to 12-8 on goals by Dionne and Jack Bruckner in the first two minutes of the second half before a Nicky Galasso goal stopped the Blue Devils’ 6-0 scoring spree at the 9:11 mark of the third quarter. Galasso’s score was the last by either team until Donahue finished a Rice feed with 38 seconds left on the clock to close the third-period scoring.
Just like in the previous quarter, Duke opened the last frame with two goals in the opening two minutes to retake a four-goal lead, 14-10.
Then Donahue took over. He scored one goal and assisted on two more in a 4-0 Orange run that tied the game at 14-14 with 4:29 to play in regulation.
An unassisted goal by Jordan Wolf gave Duke a one-goal advantage with 3:15 left. It was a margin the Blue Devils clung to until Ward and Donahue delivered in crunch time to propel Syracuse to its sixth straight win.
After allowing 10 first-half goals, the Orange defense held the potent Blue Devils to just five after intermission. Goalie Bobby Wardwell keyed the effort with eight saves in the last 30 minutes to earn the victory and improve to 6-0 on the year.
Dionne, Matheis and Deemer Class tallied three goals apiece for Duke. Matheis added two assists to finish with five points. Wolf (one goal, four assists) also recorded five points to Matheis for team scoring honors. Aaron played the entire game in the cage for Duke and made 12 saves.
Game Notes: The loss snapped Duke’s eight-game winning streak and the Blue Devils’ four-game series winning streak against the Orange … Syracuse improved to 5-0 all-time in conference tournament games and 2-0 all-time in games played at PPL Park … Rice’s eight points tied Virginia’s Tucker Radebaugh for the most points in an ACC semifinal game. Radebaugh had eight points versus Maryland in the 1999 semifinals … Rice, Radebaugh, Virginia’s Nick O’Reilly (2013 championship game vs. North Carolina) and UNC’s Dennis Goldstein (1991 championship game vs. Maryland) hold the ACC Tournament single-game points record … The Orange is 11-3 in one-goal games the last two years, including a 4-0 record this season … Senior defender Matt Harris tied his career high with four caused turnovers.