Hobart senior goalie Max Silberlicht produced a career-high 23 saves but the second-ranked Syracuse lacrosse team escaped with a 9-8 victory and the Kraus-Simmons Trophy thanks to junior attackman Stephen Keough’s goal with 43 seconds remaining in overtime.
Senior attackman Chris Daniello started the game-winning sequence from behind the cage, passing to Keough who was about 7 yards in front of the goal. He gave a slight stick fake and fired, slipping his shot just past Silberlicht’s right hand.
The entire Statesmen defense, which entered the game 10th in the nation in scoring defense, turned in its strongest performance of the year against its toughest opponent to date. Hobart limited SU to just two goals in the first quarter and none in the second to build a 5-2 halftime lead.
Junior midfielder Jovan Miller opened the scoring for the Orange just 82 seconds into the game. Hobart pulled even with 2:22 left in the frame on a goal by senior midfielder Mike Suits, assisted by senior attackman Kevin Curtin. SU reclaimed the lead 39 seconds later on a strike by senior attackman Cody Jamieson, set up by first-year attackman JoJo Marasco.
The Statesmen (2-4) stunned the defending national champions with four unanswered goals in the second quarter, all in a span of just over four minutes. Sophomore attackman Sam Miller began the run, depositing a pass from junior midfielder Tim Bigelow. Senior midfielder Tyler Cassell followed with an unassisted tally. Curtin netted the next two for Hobart. Both times he drove his defender past goal line extended and spun back to the cage for a point-blank shot. Just like that, the Statesmen led 5-2 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.
SU (5-1) began its comeback in the third quarter, sandwiching goals by Marasco and Keough around a marker by Hobart junior long-stick midfielder Alex Caton.
Miller and Marasco scored back-to-back to tie the game at six with 11:58 left in the fourth quarter. Sophomore attackman Chris Pedersen put the Statesmen back in front off an assist from first-year defenseman Reid Rosello.
Daniello registered consecutive unassisted goals, the last at 5:08, to put Syracuse ahead 8-7.
With 1:04 left in regulation, Pedersen forced overtime with a left-handed laser to the upper left corner of the SU cage.
The Orange took 56 shots in the contest (to Hobart’s 24), but Silberlicht handled the building pressure, making eight of his stops in the fourth quarter and another in OT. SU also had the edge in ground balls (31-25) and faceoffs (11-10). The Orange (6th in the nation in man-up offense, 54.5%) went 0-for-5 with the extra man, while the Statesmen were 0-for-2.
Daniello and Marasco finished with three points apiece for Syracuse, while Curtin had three to lead Hobart.
Silberlicht’s counterpart, junior John Galloway, earned the win with seven saves.
Hobart will return to action on March 27, when the Statesmen visit ECAC rival Fairfield. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will be televised as the ECAC Lacrosse League Game of the Week. Syracuse is off until Mon., March 29, when the Orange host Villanova at 3 p.m.