Defense helps rally Syracuse past Princeton

Syracuse scored four unanswered goals in the second half and hung on for a dramatic 10-9 win over Princeton at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange came out a little sluggish at the beginning of the game. Princeton fired three goals passed Bobby Wardwell in his first college start. But the defense got behind the young goalie and the entire team rallied. Syracuse went on to score two straight and went into halftime down 5-4. The third quarter is where the Orange shined. Syracuse scored 4 straight goals, including one with just 13-seconds left in the quarter that gave the team a 9-7 lead. Princeton climbed back in the fourth, scoring two unanswered goals to tie the game. With about 4-minutes left, Tim Desko found Tommy Palasek in transition to go up 10-9 and seal the victory.

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WHAT IT MEANS: Syracuse needed a win here in the worst way. The team is teetering on the edge of making the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year and this win against No. 11 Princeton dramatically helped its chances. The Orange showed today that when it puts together a consistent 60-minutes, its tough to beat. Princeton is a very talented team, especially on defense, and Syracuse turned the ball over just 8 times. The Orange defense really stepped up today, forcing 19 turnovers and preventing the Tigers from clearing 6 different times. Even the face off started to click today for the Orange. Ricky Buhr struggled a bit, but Chris Daddio, who has struggled all year, picked up 7-of-11, which was a huge boost for the team. Overall, this win could be a turning point for the rest of the season.

STAR GAZING: Wardwell made the most of the first minutes of his college career and made nine saves. Coach Desko said that Wardwell earned another start. Palasek led the offensive with four goals and an assist.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse travels to Ithaca to play Cornell on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. TV: TWCS.