MLAX : NEW BALANCE: Offensive barrage leads Syracuse past Villanova in Big East tournament semifinal

first_imgVILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova midfielder Max Hart walked slowly to the sidelines with teammate C.J. Burke trudging behind, stick over his head. Through three periods, Syracuse held a four-goal lead thanks to an efficient offensive performance.And the Wildcats pair already looked defeated despite having one last quarter to play. Fifteen minutes and five unanswered Orange goals later left the entire Villanova team miserable after a disappointing end to its season.On the other sideline, Syracuse celebrated one of its most dominant performances all season in the Big East tournament semifinals.‘I thought they did a great job tonight,’ Villanova head coach Michael Corrado said. ‘They outplayed us in every facet of the game and they’re moving on, so I congratulate them. It was a tough way to end our season.’Syracuse (8-7) rode a relentless and balanced offensive attack to an impressive 15-6 victory over Villanova (8-7) in the Big East tournament semifinals in front of 3,415 at Villanova Stadium on Thursday. Nine different players scored in a game in which the No. 3 seed Orange never trailed the second-seeded Wildcats. SU controlled possession in the second half and poured it on with nine goals as Villanova took risks defensively trying to get back in the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange advances to the tournament final on Saturday at noon against No. 4 seed St. John’s, who upset top-seeded Notre Dame 8-7 in the first game on Thursday. SU defeated the Red Storm by one goal when the teams met during the regular season.‘We’ve been kind of stressing trying to play 60 minutes of lacrosse and this year,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘I think either we’ve had a good first half and had to play catch up in the second half, so I thought we got pretty close to 60 minutes of lacrosse today.’Syracuse came out of the gates strong, jumping out to a 2-0 lead behind a pair of goals from senior midfielder Bobby Eilers. The Orange was cruising after Derek Maltz finished a nifty behind-the-shoulder shot along the crease to push its lead to 5-2.Villanova showed some fight, cutting SU’s advantage to 5-4 and clamping down on its attack. The Wildcats held the Orange scoreless for more than nine minutes, but Syracuse ended the drought to retake the momentum 10 seconds before the half with a goal on an extra-man opportunity from midfielder Matt Walters.Frustration started to set in for Villanova goaltender Dan Gutierrez, who slammed his stick into the turf as he sat in front of the cage. The score gave SU a cushion and jolt of confidence heading into the break.And after Tim Desko ripped a hard shot past Gutierrez just 49 seconds into the second half, Syracuse was once again in control.‘It shows you can gain that momentum and keep it going,’ said Eilers, who finished with a game-high and career-high four goals. ‘It’s important to put the first goals out there because you just get the team going and get back into it and it felt good.’Hakeem Lecky, Walters and Scott Loy followed with goals in the quarter to put the Wildcats in a four-goal hole heading into the fourth period. With SU’s role players contributing to the Orange’s brilliance on offense, Villanova entered the final 15 minutes with little hope for a comeback.Syracuse buried the Wildcats in the last quarter with five scores on five shots on goal. Villanova scrambled around the field, trying to force turnovers and leaving the Orange wide open for shots around the net.‘We were just moving the ball well and with the attack dodging hard, and us moving up top, we seemed to get open,’ Loy said.Corrado called the fourth quarter frustrating as his team was run off its home field in the inaugural conference tournament, likely ending its hopes for an NCAA tournament bid.On the other side, Desko was pleased with Syracuse’s dominant performance. After an inconsistent regular season, the Orange put together a complete game to earn a victory with its season on the line.‘I thought the guys really played composed, having the lead, not forcing things too quickly, working for good shots,’ Desko said. ‘As a result, good things happened for us.’rjgery@syr.edu  Comments Published on May 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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