For the Syracuse University men's lacrosse team to earn the no. 1 ranking in the country, it had to go 10-1 and post hard-fought victories over Upstate New York rivals Hobart (9-8) and Cornell (8-7), the latter on a last-second, buzzer-beating shot.
The Orange's 2010 season has, many positives attributes, including the nation's top-rated defense. And John Galloway is making a strong case to be regarded as the No. 1 goalie only allowing 7.3 goals per game with a .736 save percentage.
Since their loss at Virginia back in March 7, the Orange have won nine straight games, including a 14-5 decision over the Providence Friars Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome in front of 4,956 in the team's last regular-season home game.
SU (11-1, 4-0) overcame a sluggish first-half performance as seven different players scored. Chris Daniello and captain Cody Jamieson each contributed three goals and two assists. Sophomore Max Bartig added a pair of goals.
Galloway, who was rarely challenged due to Providence's slow-down game, still made four saves. Providence net-minder Christi Dzwilewski turned away 15 shots, but yielded 14.
SU was hindered by 12 turnovers, some of which were unforced. In addition, the Orange was dismal at the face-off X going nine-for-23, far below their norm. The Orange were only seven-for-12 on clears, which did help its cause.
After SU head coach John Desko gave his team a wake up call speech at halftime, the team regained their composure with a stronger second-half performance.
But credit goes to the underdog Friars, who displayed an effective stall tactic strategy that frustrated the Orange.
"I have not seen anything like that in all four years," midfielder Max Bartig said. "I understand teams want to slow the ball down, but to take the ball behind the cage X like that and completely just not even run a play on offense was frustrating."