Syracuse was running for its life from UAlbany.
Then Henry Schoonmaker was running for his life from his Syracuse teammates.
The Great Danes stormed back from a 16-11 deficit to get to overtime at the Carrier Dome for the second year in a row, but the top-ranked Orange won it this time, 17-16, on Schoonmaker’s goal 28 seconds into OT on Sunday.
No. 10 UAlbany, the highest-scoring offense in the country last year, scored five unanswered goals in a span of seven minutes, the last on John Maloney’s shot off a rebound of a save by Syracuse goalie Bobby Wardwell, a Shenendehowa graduate.
The Danes had a chance to win it in regulation, but Wardwell made another save, and with possession carrying into overtime, Schoonmaker finally ended another wild game between the teams. He took off running before being caught by the Orange for the celebration.
“I think that might’ve been the most tired I’ve ever been,” Schoonmaker said with a smile. “But it was a good feeling.”
The Orange, who beat Siena, 19-7, on Monday, improved to 2-0. Like last year, when Miles Thompson won it for the Danes, 19-18, in double overtime, the Dome trip served as the opener for what it is a very promising season for UAlbany.
“Here we are again. And what a game,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said. “Just an unbelievable atmosphere and a wonderful college lacrosse game. Credit to both teams for how hard they played. I can’t say enough about my team and the ability to battle through adversity throughout the game.”
“As the game went on, we were saying as a staff that it was going to come down to whoever had the ball last,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “Fortunately, we had the ball last and were able to put it away. Hats off to Albany State. They didn’t panic when we had the early lead.”
Randy Staats, playing in just his second Division I game, had five goals and two assists for the Orange, and Ty Thompson scored five goals for UAlbany, including two during the 5-0 run to tie it in the fourth.
The Great Danes trailed by 5-1 to start the game and 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored Syracuse, 6-2, in the second quarter.
Staats scored with three seconds left to tie it at 9-9 at halftime.
It was 13-11 after three quarters, and Staats scored two of the Orange’s three goals to start the fourth.
UAlbany’s Lyle Thompson, who finished with five assists, was injured when he was sandwiched while maneuvering near the crease, but came back a minute later to score just as a two-man up advantage was ending for the Danes, making it 16-14.
Blaze Riorden made a big stop on Syracuse’s Matt Walters, leading to Ty Thompson’s goal, and Maloney was in the right place at the right time to tie it with 2:06 left in regulation.
Wardwell made a save, but the rebound popped up in front of the crease to Maloney for an easy goal.
“The first half, I felt like I was getting open more,” Ty Thompson said. “In the second half, they were right on me, so I had to read off what they were giving me and just play it.”
“From day one in September, this team has matured, and the maturity shows in a place like this,” Marr said.
“There’s no other place in the country like this, and when you get down, it’s very easy to fold. And we did not fold.”
UAlbany 3 6 2 5 0 — 16
Syracuse 7 2 4 3 1 — 17
UAlbany scoring: Ty Thompson 5-0, John Maloney 3-1, Ryan Feuerstein 2-0, Lyle Thompson 1-5, Miles Thompson 1-2, Will Stenberg 1-1, Derrick Eccles 1-0, Matt Garziano 1-0, Jimmy Haugen 1-0, Matthew Bertrams 0-1, Eric Cantor 0-1. Syracuse scoring: Randy Staats 5-2, Dylan Donahue 3-2, Billy Ward 3-0, Scott Loy 2-0, Henry Schoonmaker 2-0, Kevin Rice 1-2, Matt Harris 1-0, Derek Maltz 0-1, Brandon Mullins 0-1.
Goalie saves: UAlbany, Blaze Riorden 11. Syracuse, Dominic Lamolinara 8, Bobby Wardwell 8.