MLAX : Syracuse defeats Maryland in last major tuneup before season opener

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Nearly nine months have passed since Maryland knocked Syracuse out of the NCAA tournament. On Sunday afternoon, the memory of that day was as present as ever as the Terrapins seemed to be controlling the Orange in just about every way once again.In exclamatory fashion, though, the Orange put together a valiant fourth-quarter comeback and finally earned its revenge against the Terrapins. Sort of.‘We let them jump on top of us,’ midfielder Bobby Eilers said. ‘But once we started getting momentum coming back, the guys got into it, the bench got into it, the crowd got into it, and honestly, it felt like a playoff game.’In reality, this game had a fraction of the significance.Syracuse scored four consecutive goals in the fourth quarter — three in the final 49 seconds — to propel it to an 11-9 win over Maryland in a scrimmage inside the Carrier Dome. SU lost its second scrimmage of the day 11-10 to Canisius, but it was against Maryland when it received the most effective gauge of where it currently stands. For three quarters, the Terrapins controlled the game in every way. Whenever SU made an attempt at putting itself back in position to tie the game or take a lead, the Terrapins managed to quell the comeback for Syracuse. That all changed in the final 15 minutes, when the Orange’s offense kicked into high gear and went on its decisive scoring barrage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt took a mere 11 seconds for Maryland to invoke the spirit of the day these teams last played each other. The Terrapins won the game’s opening faceoff and scored before the SU defense could get into position. That kicked off a half of futility in every aspect of the game for the Orange and sent SU into the locker room at halftime down 6-2.‘I was pretty disappointed with the movement. I think we were standing around a lot waiting for somebody to do it,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘We seemed to get better as the game went on, which is the good thing for us. But I thought we started off a little slow.’But as Desko said, SU’s offense finally came alive in the second half, culminating in a dramatic final 49 seconds.Attacks Tim Desko and Collin Donahue scored in the first two minutes of the third quarter, getting the Orange to within two. Syracuse and Maryland then traded goals, and the Terrapins held a 7-6 lead going into the final minute of play with a win appearing inevitable.Then Bobby Eilers tied the game with 49 seconds left. From about 15 yards out, the senior wound up and took a hard shot straight on from the goal, whizzing it past the Maryland goaltender. It’s a shot that earned him a spot on the second midfield line a season ago and now has him on the starting line.That set the stage for freshman reserve attack Kevin Rice to come through with the heroic goal.With the score tied, midfielder Matt Pratt fed Rice a pass from behind the goal. Rice took the pass and immediately flipped it into the goal to give SU the 10-9 lead.‘We had Matt Pratt behind with the ball on a short stick and coach Desko just told him to drive and create something,’ Rice said. ‘So I just cut to the front of the goal, and he made a great pass.’Ricky Buhr won the ensuing faceoff, ran straight in toward the goal and scored with the final seconds ticking off the clock to seal the win.It was a complete turnaround from a mostly dormant offensive first half.The Orange moved the ball around the offensive zone confidently, stretching the field out and opening up the middle to allow for space to sprint in and shoot. Neither Eilers nor Desko could pinpoint exactly what hampered the offense at the start, only that it needs to find its energy at the start, not halfway through the game.In the Syracuse’s final opportunity to get the most realistic sense of where it stands one week before the start of the season, Desko saw plenty that needs repair. Right now, Syracuse is still a ways away from where it needs to be.‘We’ve just got to get better everywhere, offensively, defensively,’ Desko said. ‘And we just have to come every day in practice to try to get better.’[email protected]center_img Commentslast_img

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