Junior Derek Maltz picked up a rebound in front of the Denver cage and scored with 19.2 seconds left to propel No. 1 seed Syracuse (16-3) to 9-8 victory against the fourth-seeded Pioneers (14-5) in the NCAA semifinals Saturday, May 25 at Lincoln Financial Field. Maltz's goal capped a furious rally that saw the Orange tally five of the game's last six goals to overcome a 7-4 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
The Orange will face Duke on Monday, May 27 at 1 p.m. in the national championship game. The Blue Devils defeated Cornell 16-14 in Saturday's first semifinal.
'I think these guys have done a terrific job, and to keep their composure and play the way we did at the end of the game, and the way the defense played in the second half was very good,' SU head coach John Desko said. 'Dom (Lamolinara) was good in the cage at the end, too. We look forward to playing Duke.'
Senior JoJo Marasco led the Orange offense with five points (two goals, three assists). Classmate Luke Cometti recorded his third hat trick of the season, finishing with a team-best three goals, including the game-tying tally with 59 seconds to play. Lamolinara totaled eight saves, including six in the second half, to help spark an Orange defense that only allowed three goals after intermission.
Syracuse trailed nearly the entire game. The Orange went down 3-0 early and fell behind by as many as four (6-2) early in the third quarter before finding a way to win its seventh game by one goal.
Syracuse outshot Denver 40-24 for the game and held a 24-23 edge in ground balls.
The Orange improved its record in NCAA semifinal games to 17-10 and the team own 65- 21 all-time in the NCAA postseason.