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Chiefs Sweep Tides, Win Sixth Straight

Chiefs Sweep Tides, Win Sixth Straight

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Story and video by Robert Schiff

Photos by Brianna Adams

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An abysmal start to the 2017 season saw the Syracuse Chiefs drop seven of their first nine games this spring. But The club has found its groove over the last week, completing a three-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides on Sunday afternoon, 8-2, and extending its win streak to six games. The Chiefs (8-7) hadn’t won six in a row since last April.

Fast start

The Chiefs jumped on Tides’ starter Gabriel Ynoa early. After back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first inning, Clint Robinson moved the runners over with a fly ball to center. Matt Skole then drove home the first run of the game with a slowly hit grounder to first, allowing Rafael Bautista to come home, giving the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

Ynoa’s struggles continued in the third. After a single by Robinson, Chiefs’ third baseman Brandon Snyder crushed a line drive to center field, scoring Robinson from first. The offense didn’t stop there. Two batters later, second baseman Corban Joseph crushed a liner to right field, increasing the Chiefs’ lead to three. Ynoa’s afternoon didn’t last long, as the former Met was pulled in the fourth after walking Bautista to start the inning.

Cole solid

Those three runs proved to be enough for Chiefs’ starter, A.J. Cole. The young right-hander established his fastball early, striking out two of the first three batters he faced. After a two-out double in the second by Francisco Pena, Cole completely fooled David Washington, who swung at a pitch in the dirt for strike three. After retiring the side in order in the bottom of the third, Cole walked Johnny Giavotella to start the fourth, but the 25 year-old Florida native escaped trouble again. Cole struck out the next batter, Robert Andino, and Chiefs’ catcher Pedro Severino shot a laser to second, gunning down Giavotella for the strike him out-throw him out double play. Cole earned his first victory of the season, going five innings, and allowing just two runs on five hits. He also struck out five.

Nathan’s famous

Longtime closer and MLB veteran Joe Nathan came on in the ninth to seal things up for the Chief’s and easily received the loudest ovation of the afternoon. Nathan made quick work of the Tides, retiring them in order, and securing the win and a perfect homestand for Syracuse. The Chiefs will begin a six-game road trip, starting with a three-game series against the Durham Bulls (11-6) on Tuesday night.

Carolina Edges Orange Softball in Opener, Game Two Called to Catch a Plane

Carolina Edges Orange Softball in Opener, Game Two Called to Catch a Plane

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  It’s always something. After a nearly complete season plagued by bad weather—playing alongside snow piles on the outskirts of the field and throwing softballs dampened from the rain-soaked outfield—the sun finally shined at Skytop Softball Stadium on an Orange game day, Sunday. It wasn’t however, as bright […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  It’s always something.

After a nearly complete season plagued by bad weather—playing alongside snow piles on the outskirts of the field and throwing softballs dampened from the rain-soaked outfield—the sun finally shined at Skytop Softball Stadium on an Orange game day, Sunday.

It wasn’t however, as bright a day for the Syracuse softball team as SU (26-17, 7-10 ACC) fell to the University of North Carolina (36-13. 14-6) 11-10 Sunday morning.

A doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday when game one of the series on Friday couldn’t be played because of the rain. But UNC had to catch a flight back to Chapel Hill, so game two had to end by 2:30 p.m. Game one went into extras innings, killing the chances of the second game being completed in time and it was called with UNC leading 3-1 but before it was an official game.

In that first game, North Carolina had a steady stream of runs scoring throughout—what eventually would be—nine innings.

Syracuse’s output came in spurts. But, those runs did come just at the right moments. Except at the end.

 

The Beginning

In the top of the first, an Orange error led into the first Tar Heels run. Leah Murray led off the game with a double to center field. Third baseman Hannah Dossett fielded a sacrifice bunt but botched the throw. Murray went on to score on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop.

Three more blue runs came in before the first Orange one. That happened in the fifth.

 

Comeback No. 1

The score was 4-0 when Sammy Fernandez drove in that first run for SU with a single. But Kelsey Johnson was gunned down at third trying to advance on the play.

The next batter was Alicia Hansen. With a runner on second, she blasted her second homer of the season to straightaway center.

Faith Cain completed the comeback three batters later with a line drive that smacked the left field fence at full force. The double brought home Sydney O’Hara.

It was knotted up at four after five innings and remained tied going into the seventh. The Tar Heels put three runs on the board in that top half. A home run apiece from Kendra Lynch and Katelyn Shifflett did the damage.

 

Comeback No. 2

But, SU counterattacked in the bottom of the inning, also scoring three runs. Dossett, who came to the plate with runners on second and third, drove home the tying run with one swing of the bat—a single to left. The hit propelled the two teams into extra innings with the game tied at seven.

In the ninth, Syracuse tried to do the same thing it had done two innings earlier: rally back after UNC had put up four runs in the top of the inning.

The Orange almost did it.

 

Comeback No. 3 Falls Short

They drove in three runs when the top three batters singled, tripled and doubled. But the fourth batter of the inning, Cain, who had played hero earlier in the game, grounded into a double play. A run scored but the play left the bases empty and the Orange with two outs.

The next batter was the final batter for SU. Dossett grounded out to short, which sealed the Tar Heels victory, 11-10.

Brittany West knocked in four runs for UNC on two hits, including a double.

Both teams’ starters, Alexa Romero for SU and Brittany Pickett for UNC, gave up seven runs. Although six of Romero’s were earned.

AnnaMarie Gatti was charged with the loss for the allowing the Heels’ offensive rally in the ninth. She is now 7-6 while Lynch, UNC’s reliever, improved to 10-4.

After beating the Tar Heels 3-1 on Saturday, Syracuse wound up with a split in what turned out to be the two-game series.

 

What’s Next?

Syracuse softball is set to take on Colgate Wednesday for a nighttime doubleheader in Hamilton, N.Y. before returning home for the team’s final ACC series against Virginia Tech.

 

 

On Senior Day, One More One-goal Win

On Senior Day, One More One-goal Win

Story and photo by Lauren Walsh SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse seniors marched out of the tunnel with smiling faces, surrounded by their families to honor them on Senior Day. However, Binghamton nearly spoiled that bliss for the Orange at the Carrier Dome, Saturday afternoon. In a back-and-forth game, No. 1 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 ACC) managed […]

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Story and photo by Lauren Walsh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse seniors marched out of the tunnel with smiling faces, surrounded by their families to honor them on Senior Day. However, Binghamton nearly spoiled that bliss for the Orange at the Carrier Dome, Saturday afternoon.

In a back-and-forth game, No. 1 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 ACC) managed to hold on to a 9-8 victory over Binghamton (10-3, 3-2 America East) in its ninth one-goal game of the season.

Head coach John Desko highlighted offensive struggles for Syracuse as a main contributor to the close score. He credited the defense for keeping Syracuse in the game throughout the afternoon.

“It turned into a dogfight in the second half,” Desko said. “Their game plan was a lot of long possessions, so hats off to the defense. They really gutted it out.”

Senior Standouts

Jordan Evans and Nick Mariano headlined the senior contributions. Evans had three goals on eight shots and picked up two ground balls. Mariano, the Syracuse sharpshooter was a little quieter than usual with three shots on the day and just one making it in net for a goal.

“A lot of emotion to start the day with Senior Day,” Desko said.

Syracuse goalie Evan Molloy, a redshirt senior, had nine saves in the win, including stoning Griffin Konen from point-blank range on what would have been the tying goal with eleven seconds left.

“I got a little emotional today,” Molloy said. “Obviously seeing those seniors walk out, there’s just something special about today. I really just took it in.”

One senior who doesn’t necessarily grab your eye on the score sheet is Scott Firman. He quietly anchors the Orange defense and shuts down the most prolific scorers in the ACC. Against Binghamton Firman had three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Despite his 40 points on the season, redshirt senior Sergio Salcido put up a goose egg in the points column Saturday.

“He kept trying to make something happen and a lot of them turned into bad decisions,” Desko said.

Orange Offense Struggles

Syracuse surged to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter, but fell behind 5-4 in the second, before Evans and Mariano put the Orange back up 6-5 at the half. But the Bearcats’ defense shut down the Orange in the third quarter, getting ahead 7-6, until Evans tied it with four seconds left in the quarter.

Goals by Ryan Simmons and Jamie Trimboli gave the Orange a 9-7 lead with 9:43 left, but Syracuse did not score again. When Tom Moore netted his fifth goal of the game to put Binghamton within one at 2:38, it set the stage for Molloy’s heroics and yet another one-goal Syracuse win.

Syracuse’s ace faceoff man Ben Williams, struggled at the X, with the Bearcats’ Austin Macchi taking 12 of 20 draws. Still, Williams passed Chris Cercy in the third quarter to become SU’s all-time faceoff wins leader. Williams ended the game with 626 career faceoff wins in just three years.

Defense to the Rescue

Desko said defense saved Syracuse from an upset.

“We needed to roll up our sleeves and really get between positions on the offensive ends and we didn’t do that,” Desko said.

The Orange forced 14 turnovers on the defensive end. The Bearcats beat SU in the ground ball game 27-22. Not to forget, Binghamton’s Tom Moore netted five goals past Molloy.

Despite some of those defensive shortcomings, the Syracuse defense bailed out a less aggressive offense after a disappointing practice week according to Desko.

“I didn’t think we had a great week of practice last week,” he said. “We need to pick it up again this week.”

Jordan Evans echoed his coach on Syracuse’s rather flat offensive performance. “Our goal as a team has been to get better each game that we play,” Evans said. “I don’t think the bar was set as high today as it has been in past games.”

Although Syracuse forced 14 turnovers, the team also turned the ball over 13 times throughout the game. Desko said overall there were too many turnovers and too many bad decisions from SU.

ACC Tournament Time

The one-goal win over Binghamton was the Orange’s last regular season game in the Carrier Dome and its last game before the ACC Tournament.

Last year Syracuse was the ACC Tournament champion, but had a rather early exit in the NCAA Tournament in a 13-7 loss to Maryland.

This year the  No. 1 seed Orange takes on  No. 4 seed UNC in the first round at Duke.

Earlier this season, Syracuse beat the Tar Heels 12-11 in overtime at Chapel Hill. Sergio Salcido scored the game-winner for  Syracuse’s third overtime win of the season. SU is 8-1 in its nine one-goal games this season.

UNC is 6-7 overall this season and 1-5 in the ACC.

 

The “Cardiac ‘Cuse” begins the first round of the tournament at 6 p.m. on Friday. The other semi pits Notre Dame against Duke.

Chiefs Win 5th Straight, Down Tides 9-4

Chiefs Win 5th Straight, Down Tides 9-4

Story and Photo by Jake Lapin SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a slow start to the season, the Syracuse Chiefs kept things rolling in front of 2200 fans with their fifth-straight win in a 9-4 victory over the Norfolk Tides at NBT Bank Stadium, Saturday afternoon. “We’re playing good baseball,” manager Billy Gardner said after the game. […]

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Story and Photo by Jake Lapin

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a slow start to the season, the Syracuse Chiefs kept things rolling in front of 2200 fans with their fifth-straight win in a 9-4 victory over the Norfolk Tides at NBT Bank Stadium, Saturday afternoon.

“We’re playing good baseball,” manager Billy Gardner said after the game. “Pitching and defense have been key for us right now.”

For a team clicking defensively and on the mound, the Chiefs also piled it on from the plate. Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit in the nine-run explosion. The Chiefs as a team had scored just 13 runs in their previous four wins to start the streak.

Big Bats From Top to Bottom

It was all about the offense in the Chiefs’ second game versus Norfolk in this three-game set. Syracuse put up a crooked number in three different frames, chasing Norfolk’s Tyler Wilson after just three innings and four earned runs. Not only did the entire lineup get a basehit, but also all but Adrian Sanchez crossed home plate.

The bottom three hitters in the lineup today, Caleb Ramsey, Sanchez and Irving Falu in that order, are all hitting above .300 on the season.

Ramsey went 3-for-4 with two doubles on the afternoon, both nearly homers off the right field wall. One of those doubles came with two-outs and drove in two runs, opening up the Chiefs’ lead to five in the bottom of the seventh.

“Any time you get the guys at the bottom of the order swinging the bats and getting on-base you’re going to do some damage,” Gardner said.

Taylor on the Hill

Taylor Hill picked up his first win on the season, throwing six innings of two-run ball. He’s struggled early on this season, with his ERA still over seven, but settled in today after a couple of early Norfolk runs.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Gardner said. “His changeup was very effective, threw some curveballs for strikes.”

Neal Cotts came in with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, one run already scored for Norfolk. He limited the damage started by Mike Broadway to just one more run thanks to a big strikeout of Chance Sisco, the number one prospect for the Baltimore Orioles according to MLB.com, to retire the side.

Those two runs marked the first surrendered by the bullpen in 13 innings. Rafael Martin threw a scoreless eighth and ninth to finish off the win.

Looking Ahead

The Chiefs will be looking for the sweep over Norfolk and their sixth-straight win in the series finale Sunday at 1:05 pm. After that, they hit the road on Tuesday for a three-game set with the Durham Bulls and then a rematch with the Tides in Norfolk.

The Tides have a six-game homestand waiting for them back home starting Tuesday, starting with the Buffalo Bisons and then a weekend series against Syracuse.

Tailored for Success; Balancing Business and Soccer

Tailored for Success; Balancing Business and Soccer

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez     SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When it comes to looking your best for prom, a wedding or any other special event, Giovanni’s Tuxedos in North Syracuse, is overflowing with suits, ties, cummerbunds, cuff links, vests, shoes and pocket squares in almost every color imaginable. The walls are lined […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

 

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When it comes to looking your best for prom, a wedding or any other special event, Giovanni’s Tuxedos in North Syracuse, is overflowing with suits, ties, cummerbunds, cuff links, vests, shoes and pocket squares in almost every color imaginable.

The walls are lined with fabrics and samples of all textures displayed around mannequins proudly displaying the latest tuxedos and suits.

The shop is a Syracuse area staple and has been in business since 1968, opened by Giovanni “John” Scuderi after he came to the United States from Italy.

“I get old”

Back in 2014, Scuderi decided it was time for him to retire but he wanted to make sure his life’s work remained a family business.”I get old,” Scuderi laughs with a thick Italian accent. “So I decided to retire.”

Proving blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water, he sold the business to Syracuse Silver Knights Defender, Domenico Vitale, who had little experience in the tailoring world. Although he had already realized his dream of playing pro soccer, he knew he needed a plan or fallback for when he would no longer be able to play the game.

“Soccer is great,” he says, “But you can never do that your whole life.”

The apprentice owner

Originally, the plan was to have Scuderi help him learn the business for about a year, but that’s now turned into three.

“I still help him,” Scuderi says, “but he’s learned very well, he’s done very good.”

Vitale says even though he had little experience, he felt is was the right move.

“I guess it’s in my blood,” he says smiling, noting that his grandfather was a tailor who used to work with Scuderi.

“I’m still learning, there’s always something to learn like with any job,” he says. “I think I got the most part done.”

 

 

Changing seasons

Vitale says while balancing soccer and business can be challenging at times, it works out because the busy seasons are opposite each other.

“Soccer is winding down now and our busy season is starting here with prom and balls,” he explained, just after the Silver Knights’ season ended.

But above all he enjoys getting to fulfill both of his passions.

“That culture kind of runs in my blood. I had no choice. I had to play.”

The Central New York native grew up playing soccer with family and friends. He says his parents realized when he was young that he could go far with the sport, so he started playing for clyb teams and traveling. He starred for Cicero-North Syracuse High School and LeMoyne College.

Now, with the soccer season over, he is fully focused on his business. He says it is nice that the busy seasons don’t overlap, but when things do get busy he can always rely on Scuderi for an assist.

 

Spring in Their Step

Spring in Their Step

Story, video and photos by Jon Cerio. SYRACUSE, N.Y. –– If Saturday’s Spring Showcase game in the Carrier Dome is any indication, the Syracuse University football team looks to have made some defensive strides in the off-season.  The Orange first-string unit came away with a 14-0 victory thanks to an Antawn Cordy pick-six and an Eric […]

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Story, video and photos by Jon Cerio.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –– If Saturday’s Spring Showcase game in the Carrier Dome is any indication, the Syracuse University football team looks to have made some defensive strides in the off-season.  The Orange first-string unit came away with a 14-0 victory thanks to an Antawn Cordy pick-six and an Eric Dungey 35-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Devin C. Butler.

Admission was free and those who showed up seemed happy they came.

“Well I’ll tell you what, it was fun watching that offense,” Syracuse fan Mark Gallivan said.  “The quarterback looks terrific.”

“For today, by far the most fans that we’ve had for a spring game since I’ve been here,” senior linebacker Zaire Franklin said.  “Just thankful for everybody that showed up and just showed us support today.  This meant a lot.”

 

 

Not your standard football game

The game consisted of four twelve-minute quarters, though that wasn’t strictly enforced.  There was also a five-minute break for halftime.

The game itself is an annual tradition on the hill.  The timing of this game seemed to be a little later than normal.  There was some speculation in the media that this was in part planned to give players more time to heal from surgeries and injuries.

Junior safety Cordy had missed much of last season with a broken forearm.  He had the biggest play of the game, intercepting senior quarterback Zack Mahoney and returning it 40 yards for the score.

“It was good for me to be out there today,” Cordy said.  “With my injury it was tough going out like that.”

The defense came away the real winners on the day, with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, one by Franklin.  Asked if he was happy with how his team performed, he was quick to respond.

“Yeah of course,” Franklin said.  “We got out there.  The defense won today, so I’m always happy.”

 

A happy Babers

“I just thought it was a fantastic effort,” head coach Dino Babers said.  “I thought they were physical, they ran around.”

“There were times when they got a little taxed,” Babers added.  “I remember Cordy made a play, scored a touchdown for the defense, then once they kicked off they had to go right back out there again.  I just said ‘Hey, it’s not me, that’s Cordy’s fault.’”

In fact, for a team last year with such a stark contrast between offensive and defensive effectiveness, today’s performance – though not as exciting, certainly was important.

“I was really proud of the defense,” Babers said.  “I thought it was a really balanced spring,  We’re definitely excited about the improvement on the defensive side.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chiefs Win Fourth Straight on Solid Voth Outing

Chiefs Win Fourth Straight on Solid Voth Outing

Story and photo by Mike Drew SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It didn’t take long for the Norfolk Tides to figure out what they were up against on Friday night. Designated Hitter Johnny Giavotella was the second batter of the night to face Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth. The second pitch of their encounter was a blistering fastball […]

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Story and photo by Mike Drew

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It didn’t take long for the Norfolk Tides to figure out what they were up against on Friday night.

Designated Hitter Johnny Giavotella was the second batter of the night to face Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth. The second pitch of their encounter was a blistering fastball up and in, forcing Giavotella to uncomfortably back off the plate.

Turns out, that was the best term to describe Norfolk’s hitters all night.

Uncomfortable.

Over six shut-out innings, Voth threw struck out five Tides on 87 pitches. He extended the staff scoreless innings streak to 19. He also yielded only four hits, allowing the Chiefs (6-7) to cruise to a 3-0 victory over Norfolk (5-9).

“I wanted to focus on being down in the zone and throwing three pitches for strikes,” Voth said.

Mission accomplished.

Buckling Down

Voth was only truly tested twice all night. Both times in the middle innings.

He walked Giavotella and Right Fielder Pedro Alvarez in the fourth, but managed to punch out Second Baseman Robert Andino and get Catcher Chance Sisco to bounce into a fielder’s choice to short to escape the jam.

Then in the fifth, Voth allowed three singles. The last one was a perfectly executed bunt by Center Fielder Logan Schafer to load the bases with one out.

Promptly, Voth settled down and got Giavotella to pop out to second. Left Fielder Chris Dickerson followed with a ground out to the same spot.

Just as soon as Norfolk mounted a rally, it was over,

“He did an outstanding job of situational pitching,” Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner said. “He was under some pressure there and made the pitches to get out of it and avoid any damage.”

Offensive Support

Despite the current winning steak, the Chiefs’ offense had only scored four runs combined in its last two games.

On Friday, they managed to string three runs together in the third against Norfolk starter Mike Wright (6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K),

It started with a single up the middle from the number eight hitter, Shortstop Adrian Sanchez. Right Fielder Caleb Ramsey followed with a walk. Then, Left Fielder Brian Goodwin delivered an RBI single to make it a 1-0 game.

After that, Designated Hitter Brandon Snyder (who drove in the Chiefs’ only run in Thursday’s win over Toledo) punched a two-run single into the gap in left-center. Ramsey scored all the way from first on the play and all of a sudden the Chiefs were up three.

At this point, most everyone in the ballpark knew the game was over.

It was that kind of night.

Back to Normal

Voth entered this season ranked as the number ten prospect in the Washington Nationals’ system as well as the number three pitching prospect by Baseball America.

Uncharacteristically, he was shelled in his last outing by Rochester (3.0 IP, 9 H, 7 ER).

On Friday, it was clear to everyone that Voth had returned to form.

It was his night.

“He really located well,” Gardner said. “I thought he changed speeds and had outstanding timing.”

Up Next

Both teams will go at it again Saturday afternoon at 1:05. It’s game two of a three-game series that will wrap up Sunday at MBT Bank Stadium. Taylor Hill (0-1, 9.64 ERA) will start for Syracuse, while Tyler Wilson (1-1, 5.40 ERA with the Baltimore Orioles) will get the ball for Norfolk.

Strong Second Half Gives Orange Women Win Over Big Red

Strong Second Half Gives Orange Women Win Over Big Red

Story by Ashley Moore Photos by Dontae Harris   SYRACUSE, N.Y — A close first half followed by a strong second half propelled No. 7 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse past No. 12 Cornell in the Orange women’s regular season home finale, 11-8 in the Carrier Dome Tuesday night. It was Syracuse’s fifth straight win, and third in a […]

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Story by Ashley Moore

Photos by Dontae Harris

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y — A close first half followed by a strong second half propelled No. 7 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse past No. 12 Cornell in the Orange women’s regular season home finale, 11-8 in the Carrier Dome Tuesday night.

It was Syracuse’s fifth straight win, and third in a row over a Top 20 team (Virginia Tech, then No. 20 and North Carolina, No.2)

 

“The defense stepped up in the second half and really came through for us,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said.

 

 

 

Playing From Behind

 

Syracuse (13-4, 5-1 ACC) never held a lead in the first half. Cornell (10-3, 5-0 Ivy League) got off to a quick start as sophomore attack Sarah Phillips scored just over a minute into the contest. Senior attack Devon Parker answered back with her first of two goals in the half, but Syracuse continued to play catch-up.

 

Cornell’s largest lead was two with nearly five minutes to go in the half, when senior midfield Kristy Gilbert ended a nine minute cold-streak for the Big Red with a quick release goal off of a high pass from Sarah Phillips.

 

Just before the end of the half, Parker re-entered the game after serving a two-minute penalty. Shortly after, Riley Donahue tied the game at five on a close-net ground ball after junior midfield, Neena Merola’s shot was denied by Cornell goalie Renee Poullott, who had 14 saves in the game.

 

“I just happened to be in the right position, and saw an open net and shot it,” said Donahue, who had two goals and three assists in the game.

 

Back to the Basics 

 

 

The Orange came out attacking early, going on a 5-1 run in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Parker scored her third goal of the game in the first minute of the second half, giving Syracuse its first lead at 6-5.

 

Parker also had two assists in the game.

 

“We just started playing our offense instead of playing into their defense like we did in the first half,” Parker said.

 

Just five minutes later, Cornell’s Sarah Phillips ricocheted the ball off the ground and into the net to tie the game at six, but that was as close as the game would get as the Orange defense swarmed the Big Red in front of the goal and Asa Goldstock came up strong, totaling eleven saves.

 

Syracuse pulled away from Cornell with great defense and even better offense, handing Cornell its first loss by multiple goals.

 

“A little better timing, a little better looking for each other and communication in the second half,” Gait said.

 

 

 

Next Up


Cornell will go on to face Ivy League opponent, Princeton at home, Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

Syracuse goes on the road to play Louisville in its ACC regular season finale Saturday, at 1 p.m.

 

The ACC tournament starts the following Thursday in Richmond, Virginia. The Orange is tied with North Carolina at the top of the conference.

Making It Meaningful – In the Booth

Making It Meaningful – In the Booth

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — You can recognize his voice every weekday on his talk show on 97.7 and calling play-by-play for the Syracuse Crunch. You may even remember him calling Chiefs baseball for Time Warner– but who is the man behind the voice? That voice belongs to Dan D’Uva. And the bigger question just might be […]

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — You can recognize his voice every weekday on his talk show on 97.7 and calling play-by-play for the Syracuse Crunch. You may even remember him calling Chiefs baseball for Time Warner– but who is the man behind the voice? That voice belongs to Dan D’Uva. And the bigger question just might be how does he do it?

“You learn to anticipate what’s next,” D’Uva says.

 

On the go

Although listeners may only hear him a couple to a few hours broadcasting depending on the day, D’Uva’s jobs, yes plural, keep him busy around the clock. On this Friday in particular, he starts his day at the OnCenter War Memorial Arena, home to the Syracuse Crunch. He then breaks away to walk the dozen or so blocks to the ESPN Radio studio in Armory Square for the radio show for a couple of hours, squeezes in time to grab a late lunch on the go, then it’s back to the War Memorial until game time.

Word painting

About 40 minutes before the puck is dropped, the 5’7” D’Uva eases into the cramped broadcast booth in the rafters of the War Memorial, where he plainly is comfortable. He usually is painting the action with words on radio but is calling TV on this Friday night in the same booth. Soon he is adding his words to the live video of the Crunch beating the Binghamton Senators 4-1.

Between periods he is joined by former Crunch captain Luke Witkoswki for an interview.

And no, when the final horn sounds he’s still not done. He does another radio show for the Crunch post-game and then still has to prepare game notes for the following day’s game against the Utica Comets.

Preparation, preparation, preparation

It takes hours and hours to prepare for a game, and even his interns agree that you can never have “too much” material.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from him it’s that your preparation has to be on point,” says Crunch intern Julian McKenzie, a graduate student from Montreal at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. “It’s a bit intense but if you’re really into sports and really into hockey, you can survive Dan D’Uva.”

Whether he’s interviewing players or coaches, gathering stats or preparing game notes, he’s always working.

“No one’s going to outwork him,” says intern Logan Grossman, a Newhouse a third-year student with senior standing from Livingston, N.J. “He’s got more jobs to do than I can count.”

And as if preparing for a game isn’t a ton of work already, D’Uva balances that with his radio show, “In the Booth” that airs daily on ESPN Radio in Syracuse from 2 to 4 p.m. And yes, he has to prepare for this too. The hours just keep on adding up, but D’Uva’s face shows no wear. He couldn’t be happier to do what he’s doing.

Connecting

D’Uva, who just turned 32 in February, enters the radio booth with a childlike enthusiasm as if he can’t believe he gets to do this every day. It’s like he just found the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. But trade in the candy and chocolates for a microphone and sound board. It’s that enthusiasm that keeps listeners coming back and sticking around for more.

“As much as we think about listeners and an audience,” he says, “really a broadcaster’s relationship with the listener, singular, is what makes it meaningful.” D’Uva attributes this to his idol, Marty Glickman. In fact, he proudly displays a photo of Glickman on his desk, not to mention that as an undergraduate he received the Fordham University radio station WFUV’s Marty Glickman Award for excellence in play-by-play.

The show gets going and D’Uva and Seth Goldberg find their groove and talk sports. Goldberg is a 2016 Syracuse grad who produces “In the Booth” and has evolved into being D’Uva’s co-host for most intents and purposes, The chemistry between them is so natural you’d think they’d known each other all their lives, and they do share some roots. They grew up in towns about 30 minutes apart in northern in New Jersey and D’Uva did play-by-play for Goldberg’s school, Livingston High. Yes, the same school intern Logan Grossman comes from.

“They couldn’t find anybody to announce,” Goldberg laughs, “Enter Dan.” Goldberg’s teacher had previously seen D’Uva broadcasting for Ridgewood High School and showed his tapes as an example for what the productions should look like.

It’s now time for listeners to call in and first up is “Wayne from Solvay” calling to thank D’Uva for his generosity for giving his entire family tickets to a Crunch game. They talk some hockey but mostly D’Uva asks about him, he asks about the listener.

“How many kids ya got?” D’Uva asks. “And how old are they?” He says if you make it a personal relationship and with that in mind you make it a closer bond with the people that are listening to you.

“History is human and as a play-by-play broadcaster I get to write the first draft of history,” he says with a grin. He’s still smiling after a 14-hour day that still isn’t quite over.

 

Beginnings

His first ever go at play-by-play came about when he was about eleven years old watching his younger brother play football.

“My dad’s job was to videotape the games,” he remembers,” and I sat next to my dad with a roster and kind of gave play-by-play a shot.” And since then his interest and passion for sports broadcasting grew. During a journalism class at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, D’Uva and his friend Guy Benson both declared that they wanted to become sports broadcasters and from then there was no looking back.

“We started making play-by-play tapes in my basement of Yankees and Mets games,” he chuckles. “We plotted that by the time we got to high school we would start doing our school’s football, hockey and lacrosse games.” And by the time the two graduated they were on in 280,000 homes in three counties in northern New Jersey. D’Uva started at Syracuse and transferred to Fordham when broadcast jobs in the New York City area presented themselves, while Benson headed off to Northwestern.

But the two wanted to continue broadcasting together so they started the broadcast network for the Cape Cod Baseball League. And since its inception Benson has moved from sports broadcasting to news and politics, making a name for himself as a conservative pundit and contributor to Fox News. But the duo is reuniting this summer for the 15th anniversary of the Cape Cod Baseball Network where they will team up for a reunion broadcast.

“We’ve stayed close throughout the years,” D’Uva says, “It’s great to look back on how far we’ve come since our days at the GW Post in middle school.”

A pretty neat marriage

Going back to his first go at play-by-play for his brother’s football team, a 14-hour day doesn’t compare to how much time and effort D’Uva has put in to his career.  Although his buddy moved to a different realm of broadcasting, D’Uva is confident he’ll stay in sports. D’Uva has been with the Crunch since 2012.

“It seems to me that it’s a pretty neat marriage of loving sports and loving storytelling that has kept me doing this.”

A Monstrous Undertaking

A Monstrous Undertaking

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  This year’s Carrier Dome attendance record of 30,448 for the Syracuse men’s basketball team’s Senior Day win over Georgia Tech was shattered on Saturday when Monster Jam rolled into town.  An estimate of around 38,000 were anticipated for the event, with 32,000 tickets sold three days […]

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Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  This year’s Carrier Dome attendance record of 30,448 for the Syracuse men’s basketball team’s Senior Day win over Georgia Tech was shattered on Saturday when Monster Jam rolled into town.  An estimate of around 38,000 were anticipated for the event, with 32,000 tickets sold three days before the show.

Saturday, the “Loud House” truly lived up to its billing.  The sounds of the trucks revving their engines and the roar of the crowd could be heard several blocks away.

Getting the Dirt

But before any of that could happen, there was a monstrous undertaking to get the arena ready.

“This truck just dumped its load, and now it’s going to go out and back around to Skytop,” Lacey Cole said.  The Syracuse University alum, who’s been on the Carrier Dome staff since 2012, was describing the odd sight of a dump truck exiting the structure.

“It’ll get loaded back up with more dirt, and then come back in,” Cole added.  “And they just make this route all day, until the floor is covered.”

Cole and her crew had been outside on the crisp, sunny Wednesday for approximately eight hours at that point.   She was under the assumption that the work was almost complete.

“We probably have around ten more loads,” Cole said.  “That’s a guess, but we probably have around ten more loads.”

Running its Course

There were more than ten loads to go.

“I’m hoping to get out of here by 11:00 pm,” Pete Sala said.  The Vice President of Facilities Operations for Syracuse University had to constantly run in and out of the building for meetings.

“I don’t know if that will happen, depending on these guys with the dirt.  I’ve got to talk to them about that.  I still see we’ve got quite a few deliveries left to get into the building.”

Staying on Track

The long days didn’t start on Wednesday.  On Monday they started to put the plastic down.  They also had to remove any items that could be damaged.

“Plastic on every piece of carpet in the building, wrapped TVs up with garbage bags, things like that,” Sala said.

Sala brought in 65 students to lay down the plastic and plywood for the event.  You can’t just throw all that dirt on the turf.

“6:00 this morning wrapping up the floor covering,” Sala said.  “7:00 this morning talking through the track layout with the dirt crew.  8:00 the first truck rolled in.  And then we’ve just been going non-stop since 8:00 this morning.”

No Room for Air

It was a sight to behold – two dump trucks at a time, driving through the elephant doors at the Dome’s loading dock.  Since the structure’s roof relies on a constant level of air pressure, the trucks had to squeeze in bumper-to-bumper in the corridor, while a member of the crew closed the outside door.  Once shut, he would then open the massive door to the arena.

Get A Load of That

It was bizarre to see the Dome floor covered in dirt.  It was just as strange seeing the construction vehicles moving mounds of the stuff around to shape the piles for jumps.

Sala estimated it was going to take about 200 loads of dirt to get the job done, at least for Wednesday.  They used garbage dumpsters to pour dirt on top of to minimize the amount that needed to be brought in.

The next day was set aside for shaping and building the tracks, along with painting the cars and course.

But that wasn’t the biggest challenge.

 

Monster Traffic Jam

“The toughest part is the unknown, the things people don’t think about,” Sala said.  “The parking is always challenging, because people still think you can leave – the event’s at 7:00, they can leave at 6:30 and get here and walk in the door.”

That was definitely not the case on Saturday.  Syracuse Orange basketball traffic paled in comparison the line of cars for Monster Jam.  Traffic was backed up to the 81/690 interchange.

Getting in that line wasn’t the way to go.  If possible, you had to stay on 690 until the Teall Ave. exit, and then back track.

Once you got to campus, the struggle wasn’t over.  Cars filled every side street for a mile in every direction.  Even if you had a parking pass for a nearby lot, getting there was nearly impossible.

The only way to get to the show on time if you didn’t leave early enough was to find alternative means.

Going the Extra Mile

One man had the right idea.  He was running a rickshaw around campus, at a great rate too – $5 a ride.  He knew the roads to avoid as well.  Though the route was a little longer than a normal trip to the Dome from Marshall Square Mall – including a stroll through Oakwood cemetery – it was well worth it.

Every person that you passed turned to look, smiling or pointing fingers in amazement.  It was a show in and of itself, before the actual show began.

Jam-Packed

Once inside the Dome, it was quite a sight to see.  Fans were actually filling the upper sections all the way around.  Granted, the bottom sections near the track were blocked off for safety.  Still it was impressive.

The track was colorfully decked out in blue and orange, probably not by coincidence.  That wasn’t the only sight to see on the Dome floor.

The monster trucks were all lined up next to one another on the west end of the arena.  They stood out for their bright paint jobs – an Easter egg assortment of greens, yellows, and blues.

The size of the trucks was hard to miss as well.  When four military servicemen came out to sing the national anthem, they were dwarfed by the beasts on 65-inch tires.

The ‘Loud House’

When the trucks started rolling, the arena was deafening.  It was easy to see why they’re such an attraction.  The raw power and force of these machines at full speed as they burst around the dirt track was a sight to behold.

“As a guy I love it,” Don Baker, a Carrier Dome vendor said.  “The big horse power, loud noise, dirt – life is good.”

The fans actually rivaled the decibel count in the ‘loud house,’ cheering on their favorite drivers and trucks.

In fact it was so loud, the Dome itself couldn’t contain the noise.  Outside, as some last minute stragglers finally found their way into the arena, they no doubt could hear both the engines and the audience’s adrenaline revving.  Some oblivious passersby even stopped to ask what was going on inside.

Heading down the hill past the castle-like Setnor school of music, with a full moon lighting the way, it was still very audible and apparent – something monstrous was running wild in the night

No. 1 Orange Men Whip Big Red

No. 1 Orange Men Whip Big Red

Story by Jacqueline Mundry Photos by Dontae Harris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tensions run high during almost every game, but especially against longtime rivals. That was especially true on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome when the No. 1 Syracuse Orange (9-1, 3-0 ACC) defeated the Cornell Big Red (3-7, 2-2 Ivy League), 15-8. Seven penalties […]

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry

Photos by Dontae Harris

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tensions run high during almost every game, but especially against longtime rivals. That was especially true on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome when the No. 1 Syracuse Orange (9-1, 3-0 ACC) defeated the Cornell Big Red (3-7, 2-2 Ivy League), 15-8.

Seven penalties were assessed against the Orange and six on the Big Red totaling 12 minutes. Five were for unsportsmanlike conduct and another for unnecessary roughness on Cornell’s goalie, Christian Knight.

“I don’t think it was that chippy, honestly, it’s Cornell and Syracuse.” Cornell head coach Matt Kerwick said. “I think that the tradition of this game and the history of this game, back in the day that’d be nothing.”

Familiar Faces

Sophomore attack, Nate Solomon got into it with Cornell’s Brandon Salvatore less than three minutes into the game and both were called for unsportsmanlike.

Syracuse’s Brendan Bomberry and Cornell’s Marshall Peters were flagged for a scuffle early in the fourth quarter. With under six minutes left, the Big Red’s goalie, Knight slammed a shoulder into SU’s Tyler Ford, who’d just cross-checked another Cornell player, earning the roughness call on Knight.

“I just think, we know a lot of people on Cornell, they know a lot of our friends as well, and it’s just a big in-state rival,”  Solomon said.

History

It was the 102nd meeting between the Central New York two teams. They first met in 1920, and Syracuse has ruled the series with a 65-36-1 all-time.

Only Cornell and Hobart (138 games), Johns Hopkins and Maryland (113) and Syracuse and Hobart (103) have played each other more.

Syracuse also has gotten the win in two national championship games against the Big Red.

But last year Cornell upset the Orange 10-9 in overtime at Schoellkopf Field and was looking to do it again Tuesday night.

Big run, face-off control

Cornell took two-goal leads over Syracuse twice in the first half, until Syracuse went on a 4-0 run to end the half and scored ten in a row over the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach.

Not only did the Orange dominate offensively, but Ben Williams, who had been in a slump, won 20 of 26 face-offs. Head coach John Desko said that had a lot to do with the team’s dominance.

“It makes it easier when you score a goal and get the ball right back, you get into a real rhythm of your offense and they didn’t get any opportunities to get the ball to the defensive end of the field and slow things down,” Desko said.

Williams said this comes from practicing as a face-off team throughout the week.

“I think our face-off group has done a good job at keeping our heads down and working week to week,” Williams said. “The wings did a phenomenal job too.”

#1

This week the Orange is ranked number one in the AP poll but Desko’s players say they’re not really thinking about it.

“We’ve got bigger goals ahead of us than the number one seed,” senior attack Jordan Evans said.

Evans, who recorded a hat trick, has been a member of the Orange for all four years and he said this year is special.

“We’ve been focusing more on ourselves than we have on other teams, this is one of the tightest units I’ve been a part of,” Evans said.

Rest

With the seven point lead, Desko had the opportunity to rest some of his players.

“We were fortunate to get in a lot of players tonight for two reasons, so they could get some experience and to rest some of our starting group because we’re going to be hopping on a plane on Friday morning.” Desko said.

Although he would have liked to play a full 60 minutes at full strength, he understands the demands of playing two games in a week.


Up Next

The Orange will have a quick turnaround as it takes on the reigning national champion North Carolina Tar Heels (6-5, 1-1 ACC) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Tar Heels are fresh off a win over Virginia.

The Tar Heels and SU Women will play at noon in the opener of a doubleheader in Chapel Hill.

The Big Red are set to host Lehigh on Saturday at 1 p.m.

A Night at the Show

A Night at the Show

In which our intrepid reporter gives us a look from the cheap seats at WWE in Syracuse on St. Patrick’s Day. Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio Video package:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M8P67T7NIY&t=64s SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in Syracuse.  People often call in sick, or take vacation time, to head […]

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In which our intrepid reporter gives us a look from the cheap seats at WWE in Syracuse on St. Patrick’s Day.

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

Video package:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M8P67T7NIY&t=64s

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in Syracuse.  People often call in sick, or take vacation time, to head to Tipperary Hill on the seventeenth of March.  93Q’s Ted and Amy were there for the 25th straight year, bright and early at seven am, broadcasting live from Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub.  Though early in the morning, all of the bar stools were spoken for.

Throughout the day, the bar saw more and more authentic and would-be Irishmen come to its doorstep.

Few dare hold a non-Irish-themed event on St. Patrick’s Day, off Tip hill no less.

World Wrestling Entertainment bucked the trend, and scheduled it’s live event at Onondaga County War Memorial on St. Patrick’s Day evening, a mere two miles away.

Call it an oversight of Syracuse culture, or confidence in brand popularity, but WWE anticipated a strong turnout.

In fact, WWE Live was the bigger draw on the night – 3,500 strong according to profightdb.com.
Of course Coleman’s can’t fit that many inside.

 

Step right up

They came to the War memorial in droves.  Dozens at a time crossed the intersection of Harrison and State Streets.  They all passed the usual saxophonist playing for events in the area as they approached the front doors to the building.

They had to walk past one of the large WWE trucks that hauled ring and production gear, plastered with the faces of John Cena and Roman Reigns.

WWE t-shirts of superstars like Cena and Reigns, along with Irishmen Sheamus and Finn Balor, outnumbered the green gear on this block.

Whether WWE recognized it or not, some fans agreed that scheduling the event on this night changed their plans.

“Well of course, St. Patrick’s Day is partying night,” Jared Crimmins said.  He came from Oswego to see superstars such as Kevin Owens.  “Why drink when you can see these guys live in action for the first time ever?”

He was there, wearing a black Sheamus t-shirt with green shamrocks on the front, to represent both parts of the special day.  He brought his girlfriend, Shirley Congdon. She was interested in seeing another Irishman, the up-and-coming superstar Finn Balor.  When asked why she was in downtown Syracuse, instead of out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, her answer was simple.

“Oh we love WWE,” Congdon said.  “We watch it every Monday and Tuesday night.”

“The price for this is priceless,” Crimmins added.

And children of all ages

There were more than a few children heading into the War Memorial, accompanied by moms and dads, aunts and uncles.  Many claimed they were there for their kids, but there was a gleam of excitement in their eyes as well.

One father said his son had been watching for five years.  He’s watched for 35-40 years.

Matt Lyon brought his son Jacob, a Brock Lesnar fan, to the event as well. Asked if they changed their plans for the day to come to the event, the father had a simple answer.

“No,” he said with a laugh.  “He had to see it.”

Interviews:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXys6WIAe5w&t=301s


Storm brewing?

When Joe Jarmuz and his friend Wes Alberts arrived on the scene, they were hard to miss.  It wasn’t because of any outlandish gear or crazy hairstyle, rather Jarmuz’s unique personality.

He immediately jumped in front of the camera, and gave a fake weather report as if about to be blown away by a grade-five hurricane.

“Wes and I have been talking about it forever,” Jarmuz said.  “We’ve been watching pay-per-views together, and it finally came to our town.  Here we are.”

When asked why they weren’t out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, they immediately answered.

“We are celebrating!” Jarmuz said.

“This is the real American way of celebrating St. Patty’s,” Alberts added.

Arthur Hunt wasn’t shy about letting his thoughts known, though his wife would have preferred he didn’t.  The lifelong fan from Mississippi knew exactly who he came to see.

“Bayley and Roman Reigns!” Hunt said.

He said the fact that it’s St. Patrick’s Day didn’t affect his plans either.  While some call in to work to go party – he scheduled the day off ahead of time to see WWE live.

“My boss called me and asked if I wanted to work tonight, and I said ‘Nope, I’ve got plans,’” he said.  The boss then asked if he was going to wrestling.

“Yes I am,” he said with a wide grin.

Obstacle course

Once they all headed inside, there was a long, and very slow line to buy tickets for the unfortunate ones who didn’t plan ahead.

To make matters worse for them, the doors to the arena were open, and they could see the popular combo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass in the ring, addressing the crowd.  Amore is a very charismatic, over-the-top sort of character, who isn’t afraid to speak out – so long as his seven-foot-tall friend Big Cass has his back.

Though several missed it, Big Cass ended up winning a one-on-one matchup with the nefarious Jinder Mahal.

Once fans got their tickets, they likely hopped at the end of the next line to grab some WWE merchandise – conveniently located on the way to the arena doors.  The vendor seemed frustrated with the children belaboring the decision between a Roman Reigns’ vest or the latest John Cena t-shirt.

But eventually, families and friends found their seats, and focused their attention on the show.  The closer the better, per usual with the seating, but even up high the seats weren’t all that bad.

Slide show here:

In the house

House shows, or untelevised live events, typically draw a different reaction from the crowd as do the weekly broadcasts of Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live.  Fans more or less cheer for the superstars that the company wants them to cheer for –ahem, Roman Reigns for example.

The first match of the night after the Enzo and Cass segment was an eight-man-tag match.  The good guys, or faces as they’re known in the business, consisted of R-Truth, Goldust, Sin Cara and Curtis Axel.  They squared off with the likes of Bo Dallas, the tag team of Epico and Primo, and Titus O’Neill.

All eight men are very capable in the ring, and have been performing for years.  Goldust in particular started wrestling with the company in the late nineties.

The fans gobbled up everything the performers did, including singing along with the rap entrance as Goldust and R-Truth headed to the ring.  If this match had taken place on Monday Night Raw, there would either be boos from the crowd – or far worse, the dreaded silence.

The show

As the night went on, the names got bigger.  A Cruiserweight Championship match between champion Neville and challenger Rich Swann.  A tag match featuring the popular stars Finn Balor and Sami Zayn against the much larger tandem of Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe.

Owens, the top bad guy, or ‘heel’ in the company, opened up to the crowd before the match about his ties to Syracuse.  He endeared himself to the fans by saying he spent a lot of time training here, and had a lot of good memories of Syracuse, leading to loud cheers from the crowd.

He then followed up by saying how things seem better the farther away you get from them, coming to the stark realization now that “Syracuse sucks.”  Fans were no longer enamored of him after that comment.

After a great performance with four of the company’s top grapplers, Zayn and Balor came away with the win.

Fans were given a 15-minute intermission.  Restrooms and concession stands were a popular choice during the break, but they had nothing on the merchandise booth. People were still waiting in line for gear when the entrants for the next match came out.

Cherish the ladies

The arena crowd cheered loudly for the women’s champion, Bayley, as she made her entrance with the wacky inflatable tube men on stage.  Arthur Hunt was probably among the loudest supporters.

She partnered with Sasha Banks for a women’s tag match against the monstrous Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair, daughter of the 16-time world champion Ric Flair.

Though the top women’s heel, Flair was met with a chorus of “Woos,” the catchphrase made famous by her hall of fame father.

The ladies put on a high-level performance, where the good side ultimately won, per the norm for untelevised live events.  The only time that a heel will win is if he or she is the champion.  Titles don’t change hands at house shows.

Irish eyes

One of the highlights of the night came during a triple threat tag match for the tag team championship belts.  The champions, notorious bad guys Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, garnered their fair share of boos from the crowd.  Though they ended up winning the match, they were disposed of at the end to make way for an entertaining segment for the crowd.

The other two teams, the New Day and Cesaro and Sheamus, were in the ring, dancing to the New Day’s music.  Sheamus, your typical tough-guy Irishman, wasn’t having it.  So Kofi Kingston of the New Day convinced the production crew to play something he’d be more comfortable with, since it was St. Patty’s Day after all.

After about 30 seconds of an old Irish song playing throughout the arena, and Sheamus’ tag partner Cesaro giving him a blinking green shamrock necklace that he borrowed from a fan at ringside, Sheamus obliged and sang the song for a few bars.

“Happy Patty’s Day!” he yelled to the crowd, receiving a big reaction.

Literal big finish

In the main event, the polarizing new face of the company, Roman Reigns, took on the massive Braun Strowman.  Thus far, Strowman has steamrolled through the competition, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Reigns a few weeks back on the pay-per-view “Fastlane.”

Strowman dominated for much of the match, with Reigns getting in a few spurts of offense here and there.  He had his chance toward the end of the match, delivering three “Superman punches” – a running jump with a fist to the opponent’s head – to knock his foe down.  When Strowman kicked out, the action spilled to the outside.  The fans oohed and ahhed with each traded blow.

In the end, Reigns won by disqualification on the outside, the cause of which was hard to discern.  Still, fans were treated to a more enjoyable resolution when Reigns gave Strowman his patented “spear” to send him packing.

Reigns’ music played as he walked around the ring, posing for fans, and climbing up on the turnbuckles to pander to the crowd.

Children, as well as some older fans, scrambled to the ramp to get an up close glimpse at their conquering hero, and maybe if they were lucky, get a picture or autograph, or even a fist bump.

Reigns raised his hands confidently one last time at the top of the ramp before heading backstage, and concluding the show.

Exeunt

Fans immediately gathered their things and made their way through the throngs of people to the exits.  While some lingered to soak in the experience, the majority pushed their way ahead through the arena doors.

The merchandise booth got a few people to stop, but the bulk of the crowd made their way into the cold St. Patrick’s Day night.  They were buzzing about the experience as they made their way down State Street, back to their vehicles.

When one older father and son pairing, Don and Mike Schad, were asked if they were glad they chose seeing WWE instead of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, they didn’t hesitate with their answer.

“Oh yes!” the father said.

“It was awesome!” the son added.