Two lacrosse powerhouses collided last Friday when Syracuse met Virginia in the Carrier Dome.
In the previous 21 meetings, SU had a slim 11-10 lead, including the 2008 NCAA semifinals, when they eliminated Virginia in the semifinal NCAA game in double overtime 12-11.Virginia remembered that devastating loss to Syracuse, where the Cavaliers squandered a five-goal lead.
Out for revenge, Virginia got it, staving off the Orange's furious fourth-quarter rally and prevailing 13-12 in front of a huge throng of 16,324, one of the largest crowds in SU lacrosse histoyr.
In the final minute, SU, trying to make yet another comeback, had a few opportunities to even the score. But Virginia's defense forced the Orange into two wide shots and a turnover to hang on.
Virginia's Shamel Bratton had a career-high four goals. Danny Glading and Garret Billings helped with three goals apiece. Goalie Adam Ghitelman finished with eight saves. By winning, Virginia moved to 5-0, and earned the no. 1 national ranking.
For SU, Kenny Nims led with four goals and one assist. Dan Hardy contributed two goals and one assist, as he had done in the last two games. Goalie John Galloway made 13 saves.
Notorious for slow starts, Syracuse extended that trend in their third consecutive game. It only took 45 seconds for the Cavaliers offense to pounce on SU's defense. Glading hammered in a goal and Virginia quickly led 1-0. SU's Joel White answered with his third goal of the season to tie it 1-1.
Both teams traded goals for a while. Among SU's highlights was Hardy distributing an excellent pass that split the two defenders to Steven Keogh, who was wide open in the blue crease and converted.
Despite inconsistent offense the Orange tied the score 4-4 largely due to the 6-5 Keogh, who faked a pass and threw the ball behind his back into the net.