Orange Men Survive at Colgate
Published on May 6, 2017
Story, photo and video by Lauren Walsh
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Time was ticking down in the fourth quarter, Syracuse led 10-9, and it looked like the Orange was about to record its eleventh one-goal game of the season.
After Colgate turned the ball over, missing its last chance to tie with six seconds left, SU goalie Evan Molloy launched the ball down the field to celebrate the win.
Molloy’s heave sailed into the empty Colgate net, giving him his first career goal and Syracuse an 11-9 win over the Raiders.
The Orange (12-2, 4-0 ACC) closed out the regular season with an 8-1 record against non-conference opponents. The win over Colgate (5-9, 3-5 Patriot League) was the fifth in a row for Syracuse, but a game few had expected to come down to the final seconds.
“We still want to get that full 60-minute effort, SU head coach John Desko told CBS Sports after the game. “We made some bad decisions.”
Out of ten one-goal games, the Orange has won eight. The “Cardiac ‘Cuse” has been in close games all season, and head coach John Desko said his team is well-prepared to finish down the stretch in those close situations.
“The fact that we’ve been in so many this year, we really notice a difference in the huddle from our first game to our last game,” Desko said. “The guys are pretty confident and they’re kind of all ears and you can tell by what they’re saying that if they play the way they’re playing, they’re confident they can win.”
Syracuse jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, but Colgate evened the score by the end of the period. SU and Colgate took turns scoring in bulk. The Orange scored three goals to start the second frame, and Colgate responded by scoring four consecutive goals to take the 7-6 lead.
Then, SU scored twice, taking the 8-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Jordan Evans netted a goal in the fourth as did Pat Carlin, his second of the season.
Sam Cleveland sniped a goal past Molloy with 1:30 to play for his twenty-second goal of the season and his fourth in the contest.
Sloppy Offense and Defense
The Orange turned the ball over a season-high 17 times against the Raiders. On the other side of the stat sheet, Colgate turned the ball over just 11 times.
“I think some of it was some of our players trying to make things happen in a close game and I think they forced it a few times,” Desko said.
Molloy added that the amount of turnovers was a result of mental errors from Syracuse. He said some players were beating themselves up and making mental errors as a result.
With all those turnovers and plenty of physical hits, there were many opportunities for groundballs, 57, in fact. Syracuse scooped up 33, and Molloy saw that as an important positive in the game.
“Groundballs are huge,” Molloy said. “Towards the end of the year we’ve really been stressing the importance of groundballs, really getting every single one, and that’s been our mindset.”
Bomberry For Three
Junior midfielder Brendan Bomberry hasn’t flinched in Syracuse’s one-goal contests. The Osweken, Ontario native scored the game-winning goal in the 9-8 win over St. John’s and the 8-7 win over Johns Hopkins earlier this season.
Against Colgate, Bomberry had three goals and one assist. He now has five hat tricks and 26 goals this season.
“Every possession is valuable at that point in an important game, especially in a one-goal game,” Bomberry said. “Just try to make sure you don’t turn the ball over or giving the team another break. You know, just trying to get the goal, put the ball in the net, and hopefully we can come away with a win.”
Bomberry’s 35 points on the season land him fourth on the team in points.
“He’s really nifty, if you will, at finding space inside. He’s really good in that area. I think he could’ve had a couple more and the goalie robbed him a few times,” Desko said on the junior sharpshooter.
The NCAA Tournament Championship will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, M.A. May 27-29. Syracuse finds out its opponent for the first round of the NCAA tournament at 9 p.m. on Sunday in ESPNU’s Tournament Seeding Show and is sure to open with a home game at the Carrier Dome.
When asked if he wanted to be the #1 seed, Desko said, “It depends on who they’re gonna put in at 16.”
He said he thinks Syracuse will be seeded high and that will help the Orange in the tournament. Desko said there are no easy games in the playoffs, so the Orange will come to play every game.