Syracuse lacrosse fans must have felt impending doom when it was announced that starting goalie John Galloway would miss the quarterfinal game versus Maryland because of the flu.
But by the end of the game, those same fans were probably wondering if Galloway will become the Wally Pipp of lacrosse.
Al Cavalieri started his first game ever in goal and led Syracuse to a convincing win over Maryland. All that, and he didn't even know he was starting until three minutes before game time.
Cavalieri had 10 saves all year but made 14 today, some of them spectacular in nature.
Syracuse, entering the game with a 10-0 record when leading after the first quarter, wanted to get off to a fast start and did just that.
Kenny Nims scored the first goal of the game with 9:45 left in the first quarter and then assisted on a goal by Josh Amidon to put Syracuse ahead 2-0.
As if an early deficit was not bad enough, Maryland had to face more adversity. Starting goalie Brian Phipps tore his ACL late in the first quarter while jumping up and down arguing a non-interference call.
Jason Carter failed on his first save opportunity as the new Terp goalie when Dan Hardy scored his 22nd of the season.
The Orange continued to expose the Terrapins' lack of speed on defense when the second quarter began. Cody Jamieson make two fake-out moves and beat Jason Carter to put the Orange up 4-0.
Then, with 10:15 left in the second quarter, Maryland finally dented the scoreboard when Jeremy Sieverts, the ex-Butler Bulldog, scored off a pass by Ryan Young. Grant Catalino continued the Terrapin surge with a man-up goal to make the deficit 4-2.
The teams then proceeded to exchange goals to make the halftime score 5-3.
The third quarter was off to a sluggish start until Stephen Keough scored from an assist by Pat Perritt. Mayland made the score 6-4 when Catalino scored his second goal of the game.
But unfortunately for the ACC representatives, the Terrapins would never draw closer as Syracuse scored the final three goals of the third period to go ahead 9-4.
Maryland looked defeated entering the fourth quarter, and it showed early when Tyler Hiwati scored with a long stick off a tremendous hustle play by Sid Smith. Chris Daniello followed Smith's great effort with a skillful goal of his own to put the Orange up 11-4.
Cavalieri proved it would be his day when he made two "bang-bang" saves, one off a riffle shot from Dan Groot that Cavalieri deflected off the top of the goal, and the second from the stick of Catalino immediately off the deflection with eleven minutes remaining in the game.
Scott Tompkins and Jeremy Sieverts scored the last two goals of the game for Maryland, but it was not enough to keep Syracuse from advancing to the semifinals next weekend in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Syracuse will play the winner of the Duke-North Carolina quarterfinal set to take place tomorrow.