No. 9 Syracuse pulled off a memorable 10-6 upset against No. 6 Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon, with goalie Dom Madonna proving to be the star and backbone for the Orange.
Madonna notched 13 saves as he and the Orange defense held the Irish scoreless for the first 11:23 of the game, as SU raced out to a 3-0 lead.
Syracuse’s defense was particularly effective in man-down possessions, with the Irish going 0 for 8. Madonna attributed that success to strong communication on the field.
Notre Dame certainly didn’t play timid, rifling 33 shots Madonna’s way, but he had no trouble adjusting.
“I thought Dom had another special day, making some one-on-one saves, especially in the man-down situations,” Desko said. “It’s difficult to give that many opportunities to the other team. Hats off to him and the man-down defense.”
The man-down defense proved to be the difference late in the game, with Notre Dame going 0-4 in the fourth quarter.
“We’re going to grind through (those possessions) and then we’re going to trust this guy to make a big save at the end of it,” SU defender Nick Mellen said.
Desko mentioned that thanks to film, SU understood and recognized Notre Dame’s ability to move people around and complete skip passes, allowing the Orange to stop them when it mattered.
“We didn’t execute,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We had opportunities, we just didn’t score. He (Madonna) made the saves, so today he wins.”
Madonna’s versatility extended to offense.
After a save in the fourth quarter, he beautifully placed a pass to Riley O’Sullivan running up field, which resulted in a three-on-one fastbreak and Nate Solomon goal: one of those icing-on-the-cake goals to solidify a win for the Orange.
“We wanted to be that energetic team that goes out and makes big plays,” Madonna said.
And that’s exactly what happened.