If you like offense, then last night's nationally televised ranked matchup was a real treat. The No. 2-ranked team in the land, Cornell, put its reputation and tournament seed on the line as it traveled to the Carrier Dome to face the Orange.
Syracuse was coming off of another 13-12 victory against Princeton, and was now faced with its second ranked Ivy League foe in under a week.
Cornell looked to be sharp early, taking a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Much of Big Red's momentum was due to their proficiency at the face-off X, which enabled them to maintain possession and get on a roll. Once Syracuse's Chris Daddio started winning the draws, the Orange were able to get going.
Syracuse's off-ball movement was scary, confusing the Big Red defense and getting under the skin of Cornell goaltender AJ Fiore. Fiore would later settle down, finishing with eight saves. His save rate was a mere 38 percent, with Syracuse's shooters overpowering the veteran goaltender in streaks throughout the game.
Cornell maintained a slight lead throughout most of the game, but Syracuse finally pulled even in the fourth quarter. After Cornell took a one-goal lead once again, Syracuse would go on a decisive run, scoring three unanswered goals to secure the upset victory.
Late in the game, as Syracuse was attempting to run out the clock, Jojo Marasco got hit from behind but did not draw a flag. Syracuse coach John Desko was livid, but regardless, Cornell got the ball back with plenty of time to tie the game. Cornell's Connor English beat his defender easily and seemed to be in perfect scoring position. He pump faked, got the Syracuse goaltender in the air and saw nothing but net. Unfortunately, he didn't hit the net, he hit the crossbar.
It was an exciting finish that the game deserved. Two teams that are clearly viable for tournament runs strutted their stuff in grand fashion in front of 3,800 fans on a school night.
The game was great for Syracuse, but more importantly, great for the game of lacrosse.
With the loss, Cornell could drop to No. 4 in the country, while Syracuse is making a late surge for a high seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Keep an eye out this weekend as Denver faces Loyola. The outcome of this game will greatly impact the entire landscape of college lacrosse down the stretch.
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