MLAX : DOWN TO THE WIRE: SU escapes Baltimore with win over Hoyas on Keogh’s overtime game-winner

first_imgBALTIMORE Syracuse paraded through the tunnel of M&T Bank Stadium. A wave of giddy Orange players marched off the field unable to keep the smiles off their faces. Cries of ‘Go Syracuse!’ and ‘Yeah boys!’ echoed off the walls.Though the team had just escaped with an overtime win over No. 20 Georgetown a team it should have dominated the players rejoiced. Stephen Keogh had just netted the game-winning goal 2:41 into the extra frame to send the Orange back home with a win.‘We kept digging,’ Keogh said. ‘They kept coming back in the game. But we’re happy with the win.’Digging just might be the best word to describe No. 1 Syracuse’s 9-8 overtime win against the Hoyas in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. The Orange (4-0, 1-0 Big East) struggled to solve Georgetown’s newly implemented zone defense, ultimately needing an extra session to prevail. And SU’s offensive patience in the second half allowed the Orange to squeak by a determined Hoya bunch, courtesy of Keogh’s game winner.Facing the No. 1 team in the nation, Georgetown’s coaching staff stressed the importance of not fearing Syracuse. Although they failed to hold a lead, the Hoyas battled back from every SU goal.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We asked these guys to come here with a specific approach, and that was to play to win — not to avoid losing,’ Georgetown head coach Dave Urick said. ‘… I was awfully proud of what they did. They did exactly what we asked them to do.’Early on, that meant testing a zone defense completely uncharacteristic of the GU program. Goaltender Jack Davis said the scheme was implemented for the first time after the team’s last game against Harvard. But despite a short turnaround that left little time to practice it, the zone frustrated the Orange.As a result, many of Syracuse’s goals came on dazzling individual efforts or a single quick pass rather than the ability to break down the zone with precision passing.Jovan Miller put SU on the board less than two minutes into the game with an unassisted shot from the left side of the goal. The Orange’s second goal came off a loose ball scooped up by midfielder Jeremy Thompson, who found JoJo Marasco cutting across the right side of the goal for a successful shot.‘I think our defense really stepped up,’ Georgetown defender Dan Hostetler said. ‘We put in the zone two days ago, and I think the guys played it excellently.’But as the game wore on, Syracuse began to understand how to beat the zone. Longer possessions resulted in SU dominating major stretches of the second and third quarter. In those two periods, the Hoyas only tallied 10 total shots after putting that many up in the first quarter alone.Still, though, the Orange was unable to pull away. It held a two-goal lead four times over the course of Saturday’s game. But each time, Georgetown found a way to creep back. A big reason for that was sophomore attack Davey Emala, who netted five goals.‘I don’t think many people know his name,’ SU goaltender John Galloway said. ‘But they’re going to after this game.’And a defensive midfielder made his name known to at least Syracuse late in the contest. Gerry Reilly scored the game-tying goal with five seconds remaining in regulation to send the contest to overtime.Reilly scooped up a loose ball with 13 seconds left in his own defensive box and sprinted the length of the field towards Galloway. He ripped a shot from 12 yards out on the right side that found the upper left corner of the goal and left Syracuse stunned.The team that never led and had just a .500 record coming into the game hung around long enough to eventually force overtime.‘He doesn’t score a lot of goals,’ Urick said. ‘But he sure as hell scored a big one today.’Ultimately, though, Syracuse’s patience won out. Despite all of the momentum being on Georgetown’s side following a four-goal fourth quarter, SU didn’t hang its head.Syracuse won the opening faceoff and quickly moved the ball into the offensive box. And it never left. Syracuse worked the ball around just looking for that perfect opportunity.Finally, it came. Jovan Miller received a pass left of the goal, drawing a double team from the Hoyas. He quickly dropped a pass to Keogh, who ripped a low shot that bounced through Davis’ legs to end the game.A subpar performance though it was, the patience by his team left Desko happy to survive with a win.‘Fortunately we were patient at the end with our zone offense, and it paid off,’ Desko said. ‘But I’m not going to take anything away from Georgetown. I think they played maybe their best game of the year today.’[email protected] Comments Published on March 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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