For a half, the University at Albany had Syracuse in trouble.
The Great Danes held a 6-2 lead over the Orange at halftime in their NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament first-round game Sunday night. A chance at winning at the Carrier Dome seemed in reach.
But Syracuse was a much different team coming out of the locker room for the second half. The Orange outscored the Danes 9-3 in the second half to pull out an 11-9 victory.
Eighth-seeded Syracuse advances to face top-seeded Maryland in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Providence, R.I.
The Danes’ season ends at 12-4.
“I am extremely proud of the effort that my team put in from September until now,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said. “These seniors took over a team that had two or three of the best players in the game the previous four years, playing in their shadow, and got us back to this position. We had an opportunity to play for a national championship, and they helped us get the first at-large berth in program history.”
UAlbany took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter on goals by Connor Fields, John Maloney and Adam Osika.
The Danes increased the lead to 5-1 in the second quarter as Seth Oakes and Derrick Eccles scored. Sergio Salcido stopped UAlbany’s run on a tally with 5:01 left in the quarter, but Fields regained the Danes’ four-goal advantage with 2:45 left.
The Orange started their comeback on goals by Nick Mariano and Tim Barber 43 seconds apart early in the third quarter. John Glancy scored for UAlbany to make it 7-4. Jordan Evans made it 7-5 with 9:58 left in the third. Matt Lane pulled the Orange within one 1:35 later. Then Derek DeJoe tied it with 2:09 remaining.
The Danes took an 8-7 advantage on Maloney’s second goal of the game with 12:41 left in the fourth quarter. Barber tied it less than a minute later, and then Salcido gave the Orange their first lead of the game with 9:54 remaining.
Joe Gillis gave Syracuse a two-goal cushion with 7:15 to go. Osika provided the Danes some hope when he scored 27 seconds later, but Jordan Evans regained Syracuse’s two-goal lead with 4:12 left.
UAlbany got the ball back on a Syracuse turnover with three minutes left and got five shots off, including a Glancy straight-on shot that was saved by goalie Evan Molloy.
The final chance, a high shot by Eli Lasda, was picked up by Brandon Mullins of Syracuse. The Orange drained most of the remainder of the clock to seal the win.
UAlbany senior goalie Blaze Riorden had nine saves.
“Overall, I can’t stress enough how proud I am of all of these guys. We went out and battled,” Riorden said. “I am just proud to be a Great Dane.”
UAlbany 3 3 1 2 — 9
Syracuse 1 1 5 4 — 11
UAlbany scoring: John Maloney 2-1, Connor Fields Connor 2-0, Adam Osika 2-0, Seth Oakes 1-1, John Glancy 1-0, Derrick Eccles 1-0, Eli Lasda 0-1; Kyle McClancy 0-1, Justin Reh 0-1. Syracuse scoring: Sergio Salcido 2-2, Tim Barber 2-1, Jordan Evans 2-0, Nick Mariano 1-0, Derek DeJoe 1-0, Matt Lane 1-0, Joe Gillis 1-0, Dylan Donahue 1-0, Paolo Ciferri 0-1.
Goalies: UAlbany, Blaze Riorden, 9 saves. Syracuse, Evan Molloy, 12 saves.