A quick take on No. 3 ranked Syracuse’s 11-10 upset win over No. 1 Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon at South Bend, Ind., in front of an overflow crowd at Arlotta Stadium on the ND campus:
WHAT HAPPENED: Playing in their alternate blue jerseys, the Orange (7-1, 3-0) were involved in yet another one goal game, their seventh in eight games played this season, holding on to defeat the Irish (5-2, 1-1) and take over first place in the ACC. Nursing the one goal lead, the ‘Cuse withstood two final Irish flurries to defeat ND for the first time since 2014, and avenge last season’s 10 goal rout at the Dome.
ANALYSIS: In the expected close game between the top two teams in the ACC, in a down year for the conference overall, it came down to faceoffs and possessions. Although the battle at the X between SU’s Ben Williams and ND’s P.J. Finley was largely even (Finley 13-10), Williams won the draws at just the right times to either propel the Orange offense to multi-goal leads (SU led twice by three goal margins), or to stop the Irish’s momentum in the fourth quarter. Defensively, the Orange’s starting unit was rugged in keeping ND’s top scorers in check until the second half, and ‘Cuse leading scorer Nick Mariano had four beautiful shots for scores, and attack Nick Solomon had three goals.
HERO: Besides the importance of winning the faceoff battle in a back and forth game, goalie play is just as critical. Although he only had seven saves for the day, Evan Molloy made the stops he had to make to keep the Orange in the lead in the final frantic minutes of play with the Irish in possession, including one final shot with :12 left.
ZERO: It’s hard to be picky when knocking off the No. 1 team, and yes, there was a non-release, illegal hit penalty against Syracuse in the third quarter that could have changed the momentum, but not withstanding the first game rout of Siena, this was the best game SU played all season at both ends of the field, so we’ll leave out “Zero” for another time.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays on the road traveling to near-by Geneva for the second straight season meeting Hobart this coming Wednesday, April 5. SU won 13-6 last year at Boswell Field. The Statesmen (4-5) last played March 25 falling to Sacred Heart 8-7. Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET / TV – Online: Spectrum Sports (upstate New York) – hwsathletics.com.