Lacrosse falls to Syracuse
The Dartmouth men's lacrosse team traveled to Syracuse yesterday to take on the perennial powerhouse and defending national champion Orangemen in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but dropped a heartbreaker 13-11 in the Carrier Dome.
The Big Green laid it all on the line in its first appearance in the Big Dance, and hung in tough with one of the top offenses in the country. Sophomore Andrew Goldstein turned in another brilliant performance in net, but a late-game scoring surge propelled Syracuse past the Big Green and into the NCAA quarterfinals against Princeton.
The Orangemen jumped out to an early lead just over one minute into the contest as junior Michael Powell found Brian Nee to record Syracuse's first goal of the game. Powell then orchestrated the following goal by threading a quick pass through the thick Dartmouth defense to find Michael Springer open in front of the net to put the Orangemen up 2-0.
Goldstein and the rest of the Dartmouth defense faced serious pressure early on from the potent Syracuse attack, but stood its ground as the game continued.
Russell Radebaugh '04 cut the early deficit in half later in the first, as he out-muscled the Orangemen defense to line a shot past Syracuse goalkeeper Jay Pfeifer.
Brad Heritage '06 evened the score at two soon after, as Dartmouth capitalized on an inversion strategy against the over-pursuing Orangemen long-sticks. The Dartmouth offense quickly found confidence and started to put more pressure on the Syracuse defense as the opening quarter progressed.
With 31 seconds left in the first, Jamie Coffin '06 laced his way inside toward the Syracuse cage and scored the Big Green's third unanswered goal. The beginning period closed with Dartmouth ahead 3-2.
Powell opened the second frame with a single-handed score, streaking past a swarming Big Green defense and netting a wrist shot past Goldstein. Syracuse followed soon thereafter with a beakaway goal by long-pole Matt Bontaites.
Powell continued the Syracuse offensive fireworks and found Nee again in front of the goal, who slipped the ball past Goldstein to record his third assist, and Nee's second goal of the game.
While maintaining possession for a solid portion of the first half, the Dartmouth attack was soon stifled by Syracuse long-sticks intercepting passes and interrupting close scoring opportunities. Dartmouth was also out-shot 21-15 by the Orangemen in the first half.
Ryan Danehy '06, however, broke the second quarter scoring drought for the Big Green, cutting the Syracuse lead to 5-4.
Goldstein then took matters into his own hands, as he made a spectacular point-blank save off Springer at one end of the field, then sprinted with the ball, unabated to the other and went one-on-one with Pfeifer to beat the Syracuse goalie knotting the score at five apiece. Goldstein kept his defensive effort strong by registering seven saves in the first 30 minutes of play.
A Dartmouth penalty and subsequent miscue gave the Orangemen a golden two-man advantage opportunity, which Nee wasted no time making the most of and potted his third score to give Syracuse another one goal lead at 6-5.
Dartmouth and Syracuse traded scoring opportunities, but did not light up the scoreboard again before the break, as the Orangemen sat on a one-goal cushion going into the locker room.
Dartmouth came out in the third quarter with a conservative strategy on offense, maintaining possession and milking the second half clock while preventing the powerful Orangemen attack from posing any semblance of a scoring threat.
Danehy took advantage of a man-up situation and tied the score at six early in the second half, breaking past a Syracuse defender and notching a top-shelf goal against Pfeifer.
The Orangemen, however, reclaimed the lead as freshman Brian Crocket bounced a shot past Goldstein to give Syracuse a 7-6 advantage.
Heritage registered his second goal of the game as he redirected a pass in front of the net with 5:21 left in the third quarter, keeping up the see-saw scoring summary.
Senior co-captain Scott Roslyn gave Dartmouth its first lead since early in the second quarter on a man-up opportunity as he sprinted past the pursuing Syracuse defense and created an open look for himself seven yards outside the cage.
Danehy then extended the Big Green lead to 9-7 on the ensuing possession with a lightning-quick strike past the Orangemen defense. Dartmouth worked a masterful offensive strategy in the third period of play, hording possession and maintaining pressure on the Syracuse net.
Syracuse's stalling offense caught a break with 46 seconds left in the third period as a shot initially blocked by Goldstein trickled over the goal line off the rebound. Dartmouth, however, stayed in front by a goal going into the final 15 minutes of regulation.
Heritage started the fourth quarter by slicing through the Syracuse defense and found the net for the third time to put the Big Green in front 10-8.
The Orangemen's Kyle Olsen retaliated with a perimeter shot past Goldstein to pull the Orangemen within one less than a minute later.
Crockett then knotted the game at 10 apiece with 8:14 left in regulation. It was clear from that point on that the contest's outcome would be decided by a slim margin.
With the game still even at 10, Dartmouth head coach Rick Sowell called timeout to regroup the troops and hopefully start another scoring rally with 6:19 left on the clock.
Soon after the break, Powell grabbed possession, and with Nee, dashed towards the Dartmouth goal untouched. Goldstein, however, courageously stuffed Nee at point-blank range to keep the score tied at 10.
Roslyn then gave the Big Green an 11-10 lead with 4:23 left as he snuck behind the Syracuse defense to slip the ball past Pfeifer.
Syracuse was quick to respond however, as Springer found junior Sean Lindsay after an official's timeout to even the score at 11. Springer then gave the Orangemen a one-goal lead moments later with 2:18 remaining in regulation. Lindsay continued the Syracuse scoring surge with 1:55 left on a long-range rifle shot past Goldstein, giving the Orangemen a 13-11 lead it wouldn't later relinquish.
Despite the fourth quarter barrage of Syracuse goals, Goldstein again played masterfully, turning away several Orangemen attackers at close range and limiting Syracuse's most threatening weapon, Mike Powell, to just one goal on the afternoon.