Syracuse faceoff specialist Ben Williams won 21 of 25 at the X and the Orange got a late third quarter surge to defeat Army 12-9.
Syracuse improved to 3-0 on the season, and Williams is now 55-78 in faceoffs (70 percent) after SU was just 46 collectively last season. Williams also added a career-high 13 ground balls.
“The faceoffs helped us quite a bit by giving us all those possessions. We had to work for everything offensively and defensively,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said.
SU’s dominance at the X helped the Orange take a 4-2 lead, but Army led by John Glesener’s foul goals, pulled to within a goal to tie the game with 4:03 left in the first half.
“In the first Q there were a couple [of shots] they [Syracuse] did not earn,” Army head coach Joe Alberici said. “We just kinda gave them to them then we started making them earn it. But it came down to pressure and the amount of times Syracuse had the ball.”
The Black Knights took a one-goal lead in the third quarter before a late 5-1 surge capped by a Dylan Donahue goal with 2:49 left in the third quarter put the Orange up 10-7.
The Orange defense would hold Army without a goal for more than eight minutes in the fourth quarter, and Kevin Rice sealed the game with 1:05 left on an empty netter from Randy Staats.
Donahue led SU with a game-high five goals and added an assist while Staats scored two goals and tied a career high with four assists.
“We had to play a good Army team, I think this game is going to make us a better lacrosse team,” said Desko.