Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/26/15
From press Releases
Third-seeded Syracuse overcame a slow start and held on late to beat fourth-seeded Duke, 15-14, to claim the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Sunday at PPL Park.
With the Orange leading 15-12, Thomas Zenker and Myles Jones scored for Duke within 24 seconds to make it a one-goal game with 2:32 remaining. The Syracuse defense then kept the Blue Devils from scoring the late equalizer as the Orange won its first ACC title in its second year in the league.
Kevin Rice, Randy Staats, and Nicky Galasso led the way for Syracuse (11-2) with three goals apiece.
Rice was named the Most Valuable Player after tallying seven points on three goals and four assists on Sunday and two goals and two assists in the semifinals on Friday.
“Playing two games in three days against top six teams is sort of what you will see in the Final Four,” said Rice. “To know we can go in and win a game the first day, get our preparation in quickly and get our bodies back and win another game at the end of the weekend is good to know moving forward.”
The 29 goals scored equaled the championship game record, set in each of the last two years. It marked the sixth time in league history that the title game was decided one goal.
Jack Bruckner posted five goals and Myles Jones chipped in with a hat trick to lead the Duke (11-5) offense.
The Orange converted on 3-of-4 extra-man opportunities, while Duke did not score on four attempts, including two in the fourth quarter.
“I think we understood who they were,” said Syracuse head coach John Desko on his defense against Duke’s man-up offense. “I give Bobby Wardwell a lot of credit for the saves that he made today. I was surprised with the numbers, the amount of situations and all over play. He saved us today.”
After giving up a goal less than a minute into the game to Nicky Galasso, Duke strung together five straight to grab control in the first quarter.
Syracuse opened up the second quarter with its own 5-0 run to take the lead, 7-6. Orange goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell made four saves in the frame to help Syracuse get back into the game.
“We did a better job with our possessions,” said Desko on the turnaround after the early deficit. “Especially in the first quarter, we had a lot of turnovers on the offensive end of the field and gave them the ball back. Every time we got a faceoff with Ben (Williams), I think that gave us a little spurt in those situations too. I think we got on a little bit of a roll and figured out who they were defensively and what they were doing.”
Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats scored the final two goals of the first half to give Syracuse a 9-7 lead heading into halftime.
Duke’s Jack Bruckner scored less than a minute after halftime to pull the Blue Devils to within one goal, but Syracuse answered with tallies from Rice and Galasso to push the lead to three, 11-8.
The third and fourth quarters saw back-and-forth action, with the Orange unable to pull away and the Blue Devils unable to tie the game.
Duke fired four shots in the last two minutes after pulling to within one goal, but could not get the last score needed to send the game to overtime.
“Defensively, we haven’t been overly outstanding over the course of the year,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “We are playing so many young people in so many new positions. For our guys, it’s not so much a matter of preparing for your opponent as much as it is trying to get better ourselves and working on what we do.”
The Blue Devils outshot Syracuse, 43-35, and both teams grabbed 34 ground balls. Wardwell (11-2) made eight saves for the Orange in the victory.
Led by Kyle Rowe, Duke was 21-of-32 on faceoffs.
Tanner Scott (Conestoga) had a goal and an assist for Duke while LSM Brian Dailey (Conestoga) had two assists and a groundball.
For Syracuse, defenseman Bobby Tait (Germantown Academy) had a groundball.
With the victory at PPL Park and the 9-8 sudden victory overtime win in the women’s tournament, Syracuse becomes the third school in ACC history to sweep the men’s and women’s titles.
Kevin Rice, Syracuse (MVP)
Bobby Wardwell, Syracuse
Brandon Mullins, Syracuse
Nicky Galasso, Syracuse
Randy Staats, Syracuse
Jack Bruckner, Duke
Case Matheis, Duke
Kyle Rowe, Duke
Myles Jones, Duke
Chad Tutton, North Carolina
Nick Ossello, Notre Dame