DU loses in a final-minute heartbreaker
Special to the Daily
PHILADELPHIA — Denver reached the NCAA lacrosse semifinals with a fourth-quarter rally.
The Pioneers were denied their first trip to the championship game when Syracuse turned the tables on them Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The top-seeded Orange erased a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter, surging past fourth-seeded Denver for a 9-8 victory before 28,444. Syracuse’s Derek Maltz scored off a rebound with 19.2 seconds left to give the Orange their first and only lead of the day.
Eric Law scored three goals and Eric Adamson added two for the Pioneers (14-5), who couldn’t get off a shot in their final possession as time expired.
The Orange (16-3) will play seventh-seeded Duke (15-5) in Monday’s title game.
Denver built a 5-2 halftime lead, largely because of goalie Ryan LaPlante’s play. The sophomore, who was yanked less than 10 minutes into the Pioneers’ quarterfinal defeat of North Carolina, stopped a season-high 13 shots.
However, Tierney stuck with his usual goalie rotation, sending Jamie Faus out for the second half. Faus made only four saves, but he and the Pioneers’ defense still did a solid job of containing a Syracuse bunch averaging 11.72 goals per game.
Denver maintained a three-goal advantage entering the fourth quarter, but the Orange rallied as it often does. Derek Maltz and Scott Loy scored to pull Syracuse within 7-6 with 8:17 to go, only for Law to finish off Taylor Young’s nifty feed three minutes later to bump the lead back to two.
Syracuse quickly took advantage of the first extra-man opportunity of the game as JoJo Marasco beat Faus in a 6-on-4 situation. Denver won the ensuing faceoff but soon turned it over to hand it back to the Orange.
Syracuse, which needed a similar rally in the quarterfinals against Yale, forged the first tie of the game when Luke Cometti deposited Marasco’s feed with 58.8 seconds remaining.
Marasco, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, had two goals and three assists.
The Orange won the ensuing faceoff and used its final timeout to set up its offense. Faus stuffed Cometti’s shot from close range, only for Maltz to pick up the rebound and quickly toss it in for the game-winner.
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