MLAX : BEDEVILED: Syracuse drops 2nd straight game as Duke controls 4th quarter

first_imgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tommy Palasek wishes he could have the sequence back.With a little more than three minutes remaining in the game and the score knotted at 10, the Syracuse attack stood on the crease and squared up to the cage for a one-on-one with Duke goaltender Dan Wigrizer. Palasek had the chance for a go-ahead goal, his fifth score of the day. But he shot high and the ball bounced off the goaltender’s head.Palasek knows how he would have changed his approach. But hindsight is 20-20, and the Orange’s second straight loss still stands.‘I didn’t change my plane,’ Palasek said. ‘I shot high and kept it to the near side. If I’d do it again, I’d probably fake high, shoot low.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn a back-and-forth game that had No. 14 Syracuse (4-4, 2-1 Big East) and No. 8 Duke (9-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) fighting for momentum and the lead, SU’s offense went silent for nearly the entire fourth quarter, while the Blue Devils scored two goals to propel them to a 12-10 win in the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. For much of the game, Syracuse’s attack was efficient, working for shots and creating opportunities. But four final-period turnovers and four fourth-quarter Wigrizer saves ruined the Orange’s chances of staving off another loss.It’s the first time since 2007 that SU has lost back-to-back games. Head coach John Desko said he was happy with his team’s effort, but not with the repeated mistakes. ‘They played well, and I think we played with a lot of heart today,’ Desko said. ‘I think we had a lot of energy. I was happy with our effort, and now I think if we get rid of some of our mistakes and make better decisions, I think this team will get better.’The fourth quarter was essentially a whole new game. Less than two minutes into the final period, midfielder JoJo Marasco shot a hard bullet from about seven yards out low into the cage to tie the game at 10. Marasco raised his arms up in the air and followed with an emphatic fist pump as his teammates ran over to celebrate. The Orange had the game right where it needed it.But Blue Devils midfielder Robert Rotanz had other ideas. The senior scored four goals for the game and took an aggressive 11 shots. With 12:04 left in the game, Rotanz shot low past SU goaltender Dominic Lamolinara to put Duke ahead 11-10. With four giant television screens hanging from the upper level of the stadium, Desko said he had the opportunity to look at every Duke goal to see what went wrong. He could tell if it was a well-placed shot – which he said the Blue Devils had plenty of – or a blown assignment by his defense.That being said, he couldn’t have liked what he saw on Rotanz’s game-winning goal. ‘Jordan (Wolf) passed it to me, and they had already slid, so I just attacked,’ Rotanz said. ‘I dodged pretty much down the side there. There was no slide, so I just shot and it went in, thankfully.’Syracuse would still have chances. Three minutes after Rotanz scored, Marasco had another chance to tie the game. He stood wide open in the offensive zone, but shot high and the ball landed square in Wigrizer’s stick. The midfielder put his hands on his head and stared into the ground, knowing he missed an opportunity.Syracuse still had nine minutes. Plenty of time. With less than seven minutes left, SU attack Collin Donahue took a shot, but Wigrizer stuck his leg out and knocked it away for a stellar save and another missed Syracuse opportunity.‘We’re very proud of Danny and how he hung in there,’ Duke head coach John Danowski said.Three minutes later, Blue Devils midfielder Jake Tripuka finished the dagger that clinched the win for his team. A short shot went right past Lamolinara, and Duke took a key two-goal cushion. Lamolinara stood in front of the crease with his hands on his hips while SU’s close defenders tried to console him.This loss, though, rested on Syracuse’s offense. Six fourth-quarter shots. One goal. In the end, when it counted, Duke was the better team.‘I think we came out fired out as best as we could. … We came out hot,’ attack Tim Desko said. ‘We didn’t play a perfect game; we played a really good game.’ Published on April 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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