No. 1 Jays rally, beat Orange in OT

Peyser's goal wins it, 12-11

Hopkins had trailed by six

College Lacrosse

March 19, 2005|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - For a while, it looked as if top-ranked Johns Hopkins was on its way to a drubbing at the hands of the awakened Syracuse Orange. But, as has been the case with this rivalry in recent years at the Carrier Dome, things got close and tense.

Then with 1:34 left in overtime, senior midfielder Greg Peyser ended the suspense by stunning the Orange and the home crowd. After a game-saving stop by Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman, Peyser drifted inside Syracuse midfielder Jarett Park to the middle from about 13 yards out, then fired a shot past Syracuse goalie Jay Pfeifer to give the Blue Jays a dramatic, 12-11 victory before 5,137.

This one was sweet for the Blue Jays, who never led until the end. By erasing a 7-1 second-quarter deficit, Hopkins (4-0) won after trailing by six goals for the first time since its 1999 season opener.

And the Blue Jays, who absorbed a five-goal night from Syracuse freshman attackman Mike Leveille and played poor defense in the first half, showed their mettle by dealing the No. 6 Orange a crushing loss.

Syracuse, the defending national champion, is 1-3 for the first time since 1975 and has lost back-to-back games at the Dome for the first time since 1995.

"That was a huge comeback. We overcame a six-goal deficit. I don't care who we were playing, that's big," said Peyser, whose third goal was the biggest of the season for Hopkins so far. "We played for that last possession, and [Syracuse] kind of left me alone. [Pfeifer] is a lefty. I tried to shoot it off-stick. I prayed [that it would go in]."

Said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala: "I was extremely disappointed with how we played in the first half, but I'm proud of the way we fought back. There was no yelling and screaming in the locker room at halftime. We had played our worst lacrosse to date. This shows an awful lot of character."

On a night when its attack could generate only two goals from sophomore attackman Jake Byrne, the Hopkins midfield saved the game by scoring 10 times. The Blue Jays also unveiled a budding star in freshman midfielder Paul Rabil, whom Pietramala inserted in the first quarter to join Peyser and senior Kyle Harrison (two goals, three assists) on the first unit.

The trio gave Syracuse matchup problems all night, but Rabil changed the game's momentum and led the Blue Jays with four goals. He ran by short-stick midfielder Andrew Boyle twice and scored twice in a one-minute span late in the first half. The second goal, with 2:21 left in the half, cut the Syracuse lead to 7-3 at halftime.

Rabil opened the Hopkins scoring in the second half, then capped a wild fourth quarter - the Blue Jays closed within a goal three times, only to fall behind by two - by beating Boyle once again and scoring with 1:42 left in regulation.

That tied the game for the first time at 11-11. Pfeifer (14 saves) then stuffed a 10-yard shot by Peyser with 55 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.

Hopkins had the first chance to win it, but Harrison missed from in close. Syracuse then got a good 10-yard shot from attackman Brett Bucktooth with 2:10 left, but Schwartzman (nine saves) stopped it. That set up Peyser for the game-winner.

"I talked to the team all week about this being a great opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country. We knew we were going to have to elevate our game to beat the Blue Jays," Syracuse coach John Desko said. "We've got to climb a bigger hill now."

Johns Hopkins 0 3 4 4 1 - 12 Syracuse 3 4 1 3 0 - 11

Goals: Hopkins, Rabil 4, G. Peyser 3, Harrison 2, Byrne 2, Malo 1; Syracuse, Leveille 5, Rommel 2, Crockett, Brooks, Bucktooth, Park. Assists: Hopkins, Harrison 3, LeSueur; Syracuse, Brooks 2, Crockett 2, Bucktooth, Park, Rommel. Saves: Hopkins, Schwartzman 9; Syracuse, Pfeifer 14.

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