Orange's Hardy comes through

He scores game-winner, leads Syracuse in points

NCAA men's quarterfinal Syracuse 11, Notre Dame 9

May 19, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Dan Hardy picked a good time to play one of his best games of the season.

For only the second time this season, the junior midfielder led the Syracuse men's lacrosse team in scoring, and his third goal helped the Orange weather a furious Notre Dame rally and escape Schoellkopf Field at Cornell with an 11-9 victory before an announced 6,121 in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal yesterday.

Hardy's goal with 5:05 left in the fourth quarter broke a tie at 9 and eventually paved the way for third-seeded Syracuse (14-2) to a semifinal meeting with second-seeded Virginia (14-3) in Foxborough, Mass., on Saturday at noon. Top-seeded Duke (18-1) takes on defending national champion Johns Hopkins (10-5) at 3 p.m.

The Cavaliers won the teams' first meeting, 14-13, in overtime at the Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on March 1.

The Orange could exact a measure of revenge thanks to Hardy.

"I've been shooting a lot better, taking smarter shots," said Hardy, who failed to score a goal in six games this season. "At the end of the game, I saw that we had an unsettled situation. We like to take advantage of that."

Hardy, who had two goals and an assist to fuel a 4-0 run that Syracuse turned into a 6-2 advantage at halftime, scored the game-winner as the sixth-seeded and Great Western Lacrosse League champion Irish (14-3) tried to get a sixth defenseman onto the field.

Moving across the high slot from right to left, Hardy ripped a shot that eluded senior goalkeeper Joey Kemp and bounced into the bottom-right corner of the cage.

Senior Danny Brennan won the ensuing faceoff (he took 17 of 24 faceoffs), and with 3:14 left, senior midfielder Steven Brooks beat Kemp from about 10 yards out to cement the victory.

The late-game heroics overshadowed Notre Dame's comeback in the third quarter.

Junior midfielder Peter Christman, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Irish to an 8-7 victory over Colgate on May 11, scored two goals and added an assist to ignite a 5-0 run. His goal with 5:02 left in the third period gave Notre Dame a 7-6 lead - the team's first of the game.

"I thought we got some good looks in the first half, but we either weren't taking the right shots or just weren't capitalizing on them," said senior attackman Alex Wharton, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate who paced the Irish with two goals and two assists. "We started canning some of those shots, and once you get two or three, it becomes real easy to start rolling."

The teams then began to trade goals, setting the stage for the Orange's frenzied finale.

"I think all year, we've tried to play a full 60 minutes," said senior attackman Mike Leveille, who recorded a goal and two assists. "We had a tough third quarter, but we never stopped playing, and we do have depth with a lot of guys who can step up and score and make plays offensively."

Syracuse might have ended the contest in the first half if not for the stellar play of Kemp. The Orange took 19 shots in the first quarter, including 14 on net. By halftime, Syracuse had a 30-14 advantage in shots but only a 6-2 lead on the scoreboard.

"The kind of game I prefer is one where I'm getting peppered," said Kemp, who finished with a season-high 19 saves. "I kind of get into a groove. Today I was seeing the ball."

Kemp outshined Orange freshman goalie John Galloway, who made 11 saves despite contributing to a Notre Dame goal when he inexplicably passed to an Irish player with the ball finding its way to Christman for a score.

"I definitely don't think I played one of my better games," Galloway said. "I'm just glad my offense was there for me, and my defense really stuck down at the end."

Notes -- The Orange is 25-2 in the quarterfinals and has won its past 24 appearances. ... The Irish are 1-3 in the quarterfinals. Their only semifinal appearance, in 2001, ended when they lost to Syracuse, 12-5. ... Yesterday's loss ended Notre Dame's seven-game winning streak.edward.lee@baltsun.com

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