A quick take on Syracuse’s 14-9 win against Cornell at Schoellkopf Field on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Randy Staats went on a personal 4-0 run in the second half that turned a 8-6 deficit into a 12-6 lead, and Syracuse was never seriously challenged the rest of the contest. Staats showed a little razzle-dazzle on his third of the four goals, a beauty where he corralled a ground ball and beat two Cornell defenders with a hurdle and spin to score. The Syracuse defense was nearly as good as Staats, holding a potent Cornell offense to their lowest output of the season, including a bagel for Big Red leading scorer Matt Donovan. Cornell was also 0-5 on extra-man opportunities.
WHAT IT MEANS: For starters, Syracuse is now post-season eligible, and has plenty of momentum heading into its pivotal conference game against North Carolina, which could cement a trip to the ACC Tournament. It was Syracuse’s most dominating performance of the season against a team that, up until last week, was undefeated and looked like the favorite to capture the NCAA title. Now, Syracuse, which had dropped three consecutive ACC games, seems to have hit its stride late in the season and looks very much like a title contender itself. SU also kept its perfect non-conference record intact in the 99th meeting between the two upstate rivals.
STAR GAZING: Staats was practically unstoppable against the Big Red, and finished with a career-high nine points on five goals and four assists. Kevin Rice chipped in with three goals and four assists, with two of those assists coming on Staats’ four-goal second half run. Chris Daddio had his third straight solid performance at the X, winning 14 of 26 faceoffs. Credit also has to go to Brandon Mullins, who had a large hand in slowing down Donovan.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face No. 4 North Carolina on Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. TV: ESPNU.