Surran, Lehrman save the day Both goalies rise to occasion in final

June 01, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Three years ago, Chris Surran was getting shelled by Salisbury State in the Division III quarterfinals. Two months ago, Gary Lehrman was an afterthought on the North Carolina roster.

Despite their humble beginnings, the goalies were in the forefront in Syracuse's 13-12 victory over North Carolina in yesterday's NCAA championship game.

Surran made 20 saves, several in the middle of a 17-minute, 30-second stretch of the second half in which North Carolina didn't score. He was voted the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four, but the award just as easily could have gone to Lehrman, whose 18-save performance was marred only by the winning one-on-one goal by Matt Riter that he could not stop.

North Carolina had a 10-8 lead with 4:26 left in the third period, but the Orangemen made a four-goal run while Surran threw up a roadblock at the other end. In a span of five minutes early in the fourth quarter, he stopped strong shots by Jason Wade, Donnie McNichol and Ryan Wade, and in between he gained another possession by beating Dan Levy to a shot going out on a sideline.

"This is the first time I've ever won anything in my life," said Surran, who was taking painkillers for a bruised sternum. "Still, the [Most Outstanding Player] trophy belongs to my defensemen and midfielders. I have plenty of bodyguards."

Two seasons ago, Surran sat behind former goalie Jerry DeLorenzo. The season before that, he had played for Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa., and didn't come to Syracuse until after he spent part of the summer of 1990 at West Point.

"I sat the bench for a year behind DeLorenzo, unfortunately," said Surran, who got no scholarship aid until this year. "Coach was biting his nails about me starting last year."

In Surran's first season as a Division I starter, he took Syracuse to the 1992 NCAA final, where it lost in double overtime to Princeton. He had something to prove then, just as Lehrman did after North Carolina regular Billy Daye suffered a season-ending neck injury in a victory over Johns Hopkins on April 3.

Lehrman has listened to complaints about his play since North Carolina lost the following week to Virginia, its only regular-season defeat. He had 14 saves Saturday against Hopkins, and yesterday's 18 saves were a career high.

"I think I've proven some of my critics wrong," said Lehrman, a junior who was helped by the eight Syracuse shots that hit pipes. "The pipes are a goalie's best friend."

Said Surran: "Lehrman played great today. The kid's been knocked unnecessarily, and he was fantastic."

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