SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated the No. 5 Big Red dominated No. 1 Syracuse, handing the previously unbeaten Orange an 11-6 loss this evening in the Carrier Dome. The win, Cornell’s first against a No. 1 team since 2009, snapped a four-game losing streak to Syracuse and improved the Big Red to 9-2 on the season. The Big Red raced out to a 6-1 lead in the early moments of the second quarter and then kept a four-goal cushion for all but a span of 1:21 of the remaining 44:47 of the contest.
Rob Pannell led the way for the Cornell offense with three goals and three assists, but it was the defense that put on a truly impressive show, causing 14 of Syracuse’s 20 turnovers and holding its top two offensive threats, Stephen Keogh and JoJo Marasco to just one combined assist. Thomas Keith and Jason Noble had four caused turnovers apiece, while Mike Bronzino forced three turnovers. Noble also led the team with seven ground balls and Bronzino scooped up five. The defense was ably backed by sophomore goalie AJ Fiore, who made eight saves.
Joining Pannell’s offensive efforts was Steve Mock, Roy Lang and Scott Austin with two goals apiece, while Mike O’Neil and David Lau added one tally each.
Syracuse (9-1) was led by Josh Amidon’s three goals and two assists, while Tommy Palasek scored twice and registered one helper. Jovan Miller and Marasco had two and one assist, respectively. In goal, John Galloway stopped 10 shots in the loss.
The Big Red held the significant edge in shots (36-25), ground balls (34-26), but Syracuse had a slim lead in face-offs, winning 11-of-21 attempts. The Orange also converted 1-of-3 extra-man chances, while Cornell was held without a man-up goal for the first time in 11 games (0-for-3).
Pannell had a hand in Cornell’s first two goals of the game, first finding Lau with an amazing cross-field pass while being knocked to the ground, and then he sent a cross-crease pass through the heart of the Orange defense, hitting Austin on the crease. With those two assists, he moved into second place in Cornell history for career assists, surpassing Tim Goldstein (122; 1987-88).
The Big Red extended its lead to 3-0 when Mock wrapped around the crease and used a low, one-handed shot to beat Galloway with 7:35 remaining in the period.
Syracuse got on the board less than one minute later when Amidon hit Jeremy Thompson five-yards in front of the cage and he ripped a high shot past Fiore.
Lang answered for Cornell when he bulled his way through three defenders and put the visitors up, 4-1, with 5:40 remaining in the half.
The Big Red defense continued to frustrate the Orange and the offense continued to shine, scoring with 15 seconds left in the quarter when Pannell sent a shovel pass to Mock, who converted from point-blank range.
Less than 15 seconds into the second quarter, Pannell struck again as he dodged past his man and bounced a shot through Galloway’s legs to put Cornell up, 6-1.
Palasek ended a 10:52 Syracuse scoring drought when Marasco found him all alone on the crease and he cut the Cornell lead to four goals.
Some tough defense ruled the play for the next six minutes before Pannell took the ball from the right side of the crease, drove center, rolled back right and bounced a shot that just got in under the crossbar to make it a 7-2 game with 4:20 remaining in the half, a score that would carry over into the intermission.
Back-to-back goals by Amidon, including a 6-on-4 man-up goal, made it a 7-4 game less than five minutes into the third period but Lang returned the momentum to the Big Red when he took a run from midfield through the heart of the SU defense and beat Galloway over his right shoulder to double-up the home team, 8-4.
The defense killed an Orange man-up opportunity when Keith picked off a pass the offense struck again as O’Neil picked up a ground ball near midfield and did his best Lang impression, running through the SU defense and scoring on a bullet shot from 10 yards out.
The Big Red won the restart and moments later, Austin wrapped around the cage, fought off his defender and beat Galloway down low to make it a 10-4 game with 4:24 to play in the third quarter.
Palasek got SU on the board early in the fourth when a loose ball scrum ended with Amidon picking up a ground ball and finding his teammate all alone on the doorstep. Just under six minutes later, Amidon scored off a pass from Miller to cut the Big Red’s lead to four goals, 10-6, with exactly eight minutes to play in the contest.
Syracuse pressed the rest of the way, trying to force Cornell turnovers, but the Big Red got one last goal from Pannell with less than three minutes to play to seal the 11-6 victory.