Syracuse upsets No. 1 Notre Dame
Victory clinches share of Big East title for No. 4 Orange
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 4 Syracuse (13-1, 5-0) clinched a share of the 2011 Big East regular-season championship, handing No. 1 Notre Dame (10-1, 5-1) its first loss of the season, 11-8, in front of a season-high 14,751 fans at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
In the process, the Orange seniors became the winningest class in school history, recording their 58th victory.
Senior Stephen Keogh netted a game-high four goals to pace the SU offense. He passed Brad Kotz on SU’s career goals list with the performance and now ranks 10th in school history with 130 goals. It was also Keogh’s second consecutive four-goal game against the Irish.
Junior Tommy Palasek and senior Jeremy Thompson each contributed two goals. Sophomore JoJo Marasco added three points on one goal and two assists.
With the victory, the Syracuse Class of 2011 improved to 58-7 since the start of 2008, eclipsing the previous record for wins over a four-year period (57) held by the Class of 1986. The largest on-campus crowd in college lacrosse this year, and the fourth-largest gathering to ever see a regular-season game at the Dome, was on hand to witness the feat.
"I think it’s a great opportunity for the No. 1 one team in the country to come into the Dome and we were lucky enough to get the win,” senior Joel White said. “To have that many people here, and to be that loud, it was just a great opportunity for us.”
However, the Irish quieted the home fans early, scoring the first two goals of the game. Syracuse responded with four in a row, including scores by Keogh and Palasek 16 seconds apart, to take a 4-2 lead into the second quarter. Freshman Scott Loy punctuated the run, scoring with seven seconds left in the period after an 80-yard clearing pass from senior goalie John Galloway to Marasco, who then hit Loy on the run with a cross-field pass.
Galloway was crucial to SU’s success in the latter stages of the first quarter, making five of his 12 saves in the opening period to keep the Irish at bay and allow the Orange to grab the lead.
Notre Dame midfielder Zach Brenneman ended the SU run with his second unassisted goal of the game at the 12:41 mark of the second quarter. However, two Orange goals, including a nifty between-the-legs tally by Keogh, extended the hosts’ advantage to 6-3 at the half.
An alley-oop, quick-stick goal by Palasek off a pass from redshirt sophomore Steve Ianzito opened the third-quarter scoring, and Thompson followed with an unassisted goal to give SU a five-goal advantage, 8-3, with 11:04 to play in the period.
The Orange eventually opened up a six-goal margin, 11-5, in the fourth quarter before the Irish rallied for three goals in the last five minutes of the game to produce the final score.
Both teams attempted 33 shots in the contest and Syracuse held a slight 30-29 advantage in ground balls.
In addition to Galloway’s work in the cage, the Orange received a solid individual defensive effort from John Lade. Lade, a senior close defenseman, set a career-high with six caused turnovers and held Sean Rogers, Notre Dame’s leading scorer, without a goal until late in the fourth quarter.
Lade’s play spearheaded a Syracuse defense that forced 17 Notre Dame turnovers.
Brenneman led the Irish with three goals. Fellow midfielder David Earl contributed two goals and one assist. Goalie John Kemp finished with nine saves in absorbing his first loss of the season.