For the second-straight game, the No. 6 Syracuse men’s lacrosse team (2-1) found itself trailing big early on, battled its way back and had the game decided in the final seconds.
However, this time it was Army West Point (3-1) which came out on the winning end after David Symmes scored the game-winner with 0.5 seconds left to hand the Orange its first loss.
‘Cuse came back from four down just a week after erasing a five goal Albany lead, with the Orange tying the game at 12 late in the fourth quarter, but a turnover in the offensive end with less than two minutes left created the winning opportunity from the Black Knights.
“I have to congratulate the Army team,” said head coach John Desko. “One thing we knew about them coming in is that they were going to be well coached and play for 60 minutes, which they did. They showed their patience at the end, so my hats off to them. For us, we made some good adjustments at halftime. Our rookie face-off guy came in and did a heck of a job in the second half.
“We knew we were going to battle him and our wings were going to have to be more effective. We made some adjustments and I thought we did a nice job to get us possessions and gain some goals to help us get back into it. But again, congrats to them. We tried our best to gut it out but we came up one short today.”
In the absence of faceoff man Ben Williams, who missed Saturday’s contest with an injury, Cal Paduda and Danny Varello shared the faceoff duties, with Varello winning 10 of his 17 opportunities at the X for the Orange.
Brendan Bomberry (3-1), Jordan Evans (2-2), Nick Mariano (3-1) and Sergio Salcido (1-3) all recorded four-point days for ‘Cuse to lead the way offensively. Evan Molloy made 12 saves in cage for the Orange.
Two minutes in, the Orange got on the board, as Evans found Bomberry in front of the net for the score, then Less than a minute later, Ryan Simmons scored his first goal of the season, unassisted, to put the Orange up two.
The Black Knights then struck back on a man-up opportunity on the following possession, with Ted Glesener firing the goal from the top of the box. After over seven minutes of scoreless play from both sides, Army knotted things up with a diving goal across the crease by Nate Jones.
Mariano put the Orange back on top with 2:16 to play in the first period, receiving a pass from Salcido and converting on a man-up opportunity. ‘Cuse was 3-for-3 on man-up chances on the day.
Gunnar Miller tied the score at three just over a minute later, opening the door for Nick Santorelli to give Army its first lead of the day with five seconds to go in the quarter.
After thwarting the opening Army possession to start the quarter, the Orange fought back as Salcido scored his first goal of the day on an assist from Bomberry, knotting the game at four.
But a four-goal run from the Cadets gave them control midway through the second quarter.
Army pushed ahead again with 10:32 left in the second, as Matthew Donovan netted an unassisted goal to take a 5-4 lead. Donovan scored again four minutes later, bouncing a ball past Syracuse goalie Evan Molloy to take a two-goal lead. Continuing its run, Army scored again with 4:44 to play in the half on a goal from Danny DeSanti, assisted by Cole Johnson. Fifty-five seconds later, Army pushed its lead to four, as Conor Glancy received a pass from Nick Santorelli and buried a shot into the back of the net.
Snapping a scoring drought spanning nearly 10 minutes, Stephen Rehfuss put the Orange back on the board with three minutes left in the half, making a defender miss before firing an unassisted goal past the Black Knights’ keeper.
Just as was the case last week, the Orange closed the half on a high note, with Bomberry scooping up a ground ball in front of the cage and scoring his second goal of the day with 57.8 seconds to go. With two goals in the final three minutes, the Orange cut the lead to two heading into the halftime locker room.
The Black Knights struck first out of the half, as Conor Glancy pushed the lead back to three on the assist from Austin Colvin.
After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Orange capitalized on a man-up opportunity to pull back within two, as Mariano found Evans open on the right of the cage, giving each their second point of the day.
After back-and-forth scoreless play for over three minutes, Mariano found the back of the net himself, cutting the deficit to one. However, off the following faceoff, Army got the goal back, with Cole Johnson scoring his team-leading ninth goal of the season to push the score to 10-8.
The Black Knights tacked on another with 6:04 to go in the period, as Johnson scored unassisted off a restart.
Ending an eight-minute drought, Brad Voigt caught a pass from Evans with his back turned to the goal, spun, and beat Army goalkeeper, AJ Barretto, with a shot to pull Syracuse back within two.
Trailing to start the fourth quarter for the first time this season, the Orange pulled within one just over a minute into the final period on Rehfuss’ second goal of the day.
Johnson scored his third of the day with 10:45 to play, extending the Army lead back to two.
After killing two penalties, including a two-minute non releasable, Bomberry collected a pass from Jamie Trimboli on the crease and netted his third goal of the contest, cutting Army’s lead back to one with 6:01 to play.
With a 6-on-3 opportunity on the following possession, the Orange tied the game for the first time since the 12:41 mark in the second quarter. The goal, by Evans from Salcido, came with 5:24 to play, effectively erasing a deficit that was as large as four.
Pushing back ahead, Army took a 13-12 lead with 3:54 to play as David Symmes narrowly fit his shot between Molloy and the goal-pipe.
Patenting his fade-away, late-game shot, Mariano knotted things up for the Orange with 2:13 to play, scoring on the assist from Salcido for his third goal of the day.
However, Army would pull ahead again, working possession until the very last second and beating the Orange on a goal by David Symmes with 0.5 seconds left.
The Orange will have an opportunity to rebound next week, when ‘Cuse closes its four-game home stand to start the season by hosting No. 7 Virginia to open ACC play. That will be a Noon start.