There was a point during the Syracuse Orange mens lacrosse game against Denver that many on press row thought the Pioneers would play for their first title.
But anyone here that covers Syracuse knew, it wasn't over until the clock read zero.
And that was the case, as Derek Maltz delivered the Orange to a 9-8 victory over Denver by way of rebounding a missed shot by Luke Cometti for the victory.
Remember, it was just a week ago that SU rallied from a 2-goal deficit with three minutes left against Yale to make it to this point. On Saturday, SU did it again, this time against a powerful Denver team.
"Our guys, it's our 10th oneâ??goal game, and unfortunately I'm almost getting used to it, but we keep coming out on the right side of it. I think these guys up here have done a terrific job, and to keep their composure and play the way we did at the end of the game" said Head Coach John Desko.
That sentiment was echoed by senior All-American JoJo Marasco "I went to Syracuse because they played in the Final Four so many times, and we have 11 National Championships. That's why you go to play there, unbelievable coaches and great team spirit and when you step on that field every time you're playing for the fans, Syracuse community, your families, everyone. It's just expected, and I think that's why we've been here so many times, because we play so hard, and the talent is just â??â?? it rises every time in close games, especially when it comes down to the last four teams in the Final Four. To finally make it here is huge as a senior".
In the first half, the Orange was reeling at points. Denver netminder Ryan LaPlante stopped 13 shots, an incredible number. All the while, SU only mustered two goals. Denver, at that point, had a four goal lead. All season long, the Pioneers have switched goalies at the break. And while Jamie Faus played very well, the door was open for more late game heroics from the Orange.
"To be honest I was shocked when they made a goalie switch, but they've been doing it all year and we prepared for that all week. When that goalie was making all those saves, the coaches just kept telling us to keep shooting. I think that's the only thing that you can do and they're going to fall. Luckily we had some big goals and some key moments to get us to advance to Monday" said Derek Maltz
With the win, SU now plays for its 12th national championship, this time, against Duke at 1 p.m. on Memorial Day. And while it remains to be seen if SU will capture another crown, one thing remains certain this time has been a lot of fun to watch. 10 games decided by one goal, and it wouldn't shock anyone of the championship game is just as close.