Syracuse’s season ends in 16-15 loss to Johns Hopkins in NCAA tournament quarterfinals

first_img Published on May 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Ben Williams trailed his final faceoff of the season with a dejected jog. He had won 11 of the past 12 of the X, and as he scooped the ball up and took his first step into Syracuse’s offensive zone, it looked like he had gotten possession of his biggest yet.But the ball popped out. A furious three-goal comeback with a four-goal deficit would end with the game’s final 23 seconds. A season in which Williams had won the big faceoffs, and a season when SU’s furious runs were seemingly always enough was helplessly ending before their eyes.“I don’t even know that I was looking at the ball,” Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala said. “I was looking at the clock. Just asking it to tick.”And it did. Down to zero. By then, JHU defender Michael Pellegrino had begun celebrating with his goalkeeper Eric Schneider. By then, Nicky Galasso was on the sideline, watching from his knees as his career came to an end. No. 2 seed Syracuse (13-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) came back from four deficits against Johns Hopkins (11-6, 4-1 Big Ten) on Sunday, but the fifth was just one goal short in a 16-15 SU loss at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.Kevin Rice looked as though he’d been crying when he took the podium during the postgame press conference. He remained composed enough to make short, quiet statements. He had just played his final game for Syracuse. So too had a group of six other seniors that comprised a starting lineup which had garnered the expectations of a do-or-die season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Rice said. “I had hoped to make it to championship weekend, we just fell short.”In the first half, Syracuse answered every Johns Hopkins run. When Wells Stanwick scored JHU’s first three goals to jump ahead 3-1, it was a hard shot from Galasso and a stop-and-turn quick release from attack Randy Staats to tie it up.After the Blue Jays connected twice more, Dylan Donahue scored and then assisted on another as it took SU less than six minutes to knot the game, 5-5, just 4:46 before halftime.Syracuse’s first lead came moments before halftime, but the momentum that the Orange had fought to get a grasp of ended with the first-half buzzer.Wells Stanwick assisted on his brother Shack Stanwick’s two goals coming out of the break. The first tied the game. And after Patrick Fraser scored on a man-up due to a Sean Young delay-of-game penalty, Wells once again found a cutting Shack on an over-the-shoulder pass and finish.“It’s just a part of the game sometimes,” Donahue said. “The other team scoring goals on a run…You have to weather the storm and keep moving on from there.”But Syracuse couldn’t. A two-goal deficit for SU turned to four in a 13-9 game with less than 10 minutes to play. Syracuse head coach John Desko looked up at the scoreboard behind JHU’s goal and the empty stands below it and didn’t talk to anyone. He saw a deficit that Syracuse wouldn’t make up.Staats forced some life into the team when he blew past a defender and pushed a shot into the top right of the goal over Schneider’s shoulder. He punched his fist in the air. The five-goal, 15-10 deficit had become three in just one minute of game action.Kevin Rice cut into a 16-12 lead with 53 seconds left. The sideline didn’t celebrate. The wings just jogged onto the field.After Henry Scoonmaker made it 16-14 with 34 seconds left, there were fist-bumps and claps.The bench begged for and received a man-up after JHU’s third violation of the half on the ensuing faceoff. And once Rice scored again 11 seconds later, his teammates raised their sticks in the air. There was life and emotion where there hadn’t been before.But that hope was taken away seconds later. Hunter Moreland beat Williams for the faceoff and ran down the field as the Syracuse players chased the ball down. The Orange had its chance, but saw it slip away in one last play.Johns Hopkins dispersed around the field, smiling, celebrating the upset win following a mob scene near the JHU goal. Desko gathered his players next to their bench and tried to temper the raw emotions of a team that was never supposed to lose its final game.“I told them, I wish I had some magic words for them,” Desko said. “But I didn’t, because I know their expectations, my expectations, the staff’s expectations. These guys stepped up all year, and you saw that at the end of the game.“We came out a goal short, and just a lot of disappointment right now.” Commentslast_img read more

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