May 26, 2008
FOXBOROUGH, MA - Third-seeded Syracuse used a 4-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to extend a 9-8 lead to 13-8 and held off a late-game rally by fifth-seeded Johns Hopkins as the Orange knocked off the Blue Jays, 13-10, in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship game at Gillette Stadium Monday afternoon. Syracuse ends the season with a 16-2 record, while the Blue Jays had their eight-game winning streak snapped and finish 11-6. A pro-Syracuse record crowd of 48,970 attended the game.
Hopkins trailed just 9-8 after Paul Rabil's fourth goal of the game with 4:17 remaining in the third quarter, but Syracuse scored the next four to push out to a five-goal lead. Dan Hardy opened the run as he swept in from the side and lifted a left-handed shot into the top right corner of the goal just 28 seconds after Rabil's tally. Neither team scored over the next six minutes, but the Orange struck for three straight in a span of just over four minutes in the fourth quarter to take control.
Kenny Nims broke the ice after the six-minute scoreless stretch as he took a pass from behind the goal from Mike Leveille and had time to lock-and-load before ripping home his second goal of the game. Back-to-back goals in a span of just 10 seconds midway through the period effectively put the game away for the Orange. Brendan Loftus ended an extended Syracuse possession as he picked the near post on an ally dodge with 8:25 remaining. The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff, but turned the ball over and Leveille easily beat Gvozden from in front after taking a pass from behind the goal.
The Blue Jays sliced the five-goal deficit to 13-10 with a pair of goals by Rabil in the final seven minutes - he ended the game with a career-high six goals and tied his career-best with seven points - but Syracuse eventually took possession with just under a minute remaining and ran out the clock to secure its first national championship since 2004.
A fast-paced first half saw the Blue Jays build a 4-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, only to have Syracuse fight back to take a 6-5 lead at intermission. The deficit may been larger if not for the play of Gvozden, who posted 14 of his career-high 20 saves in the first half.
Rabil opened the scoring with an unassisted goal on ally dodge as he blew a left-handed laser past John Galloway to polish off a long possession for the Blue Jays. That lead held for just over three minutes before the Orange got going with an extra man goal by freshman Stephen Keogh. Keogh scooped up a loose ball after an original shot had been deflected and went behind-the-back to put SU on the board.
Rabil gave the Blue Jays a one-goal lead with 5:13 remaining as he took advantage of miscommunication in the Syracuse defense and beat Galloway from 10 yards out. The three goals scored in the first 14 minutes of the first half were then matched in a 25-second span late in the period as Hopkins sandwiched a pair of goals around an SU tally in the final 35 seconds.
Senior Kevin Huntley tied JHU's career NCAA goal-scoring mark (a mark that Rabil would eventually surpass with his six-goal effort) when he scored from the doorstep in transition after Gvozden stuffed Leveille from in tight at the other end. Syracuse faceoff specialist Danny Brennan scored the first goal of his career 6.1 seconds later as he won the faceoff after Huntley's goal cleanly and beat Gvozden from seven yards out. A faceoff win by the Blue Jays followed Brennan's goal and Stephen Boyle dodged from behind the goal and beat Galloway and a late slide from in close.
Syracuse took advantage of miscommunication on the Blue Jay defensive zone to slice the deficit to 4-3 as Joel White found Keogh alone in front while the Blue Jays were checking up and he fired one home from five yards out with 9:01 on the first half clock.
A five-star save from Gvozden with 8:10 remaining jump-started a transition opportunity for the Blue Jays that freshman Kyle Wharton cashed in on with 7:59 remaining. Gvozden stuffed Keogh from two yards away after a Blue Jay turnover and quickly worked the ball up field and sophomore Michael Kimmel found Wharton to give Hopkins a 5-3 lead.
The Orange closed the first half with a 3-0 run to build the 6-5 lead at the half. Kenny Nims made the Blue Jays pay for a turnover while playing with the extra man as Leveille came up with a loose ball behind the JHU goal and fed Nims out in front, where he had time and room to shot before finding the back of the net. A pair of goals in the final four minutes gave SU the halftime lead as Pat Perritt dodged from the top and got inside his defender before scoring from in tight with 3:46 remaining and Hardy scored from 10 yards out with 1:34 left after Steven Brooks drove the ally and dumped it back to him.
The Orange came out of the halftime break running as Hardy came in nearly unmarked from the top of the box after Syracuse won the opening faceoff of the third quarter and pushed the lead to 7-5, while Brooks scored 58 seconds later when he worked to his left from 10 yards away and picked the far post to make it 8-5.
Rabil and Huntley scored back-to-back goals in a span of just over two minutes a short time later to make it 8-7 and the Blue Jays were still within 9-8 after Loftus and Rabil traded goals later in the period, but Hardy jump-started the deciding run a short time later to end Hopkins' hopes of claiming its second straight national championship.