Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s last-second loss to Navy

first_img Published on April 21, 2018 at 4:38 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+ Joe Varello lined up against his little brother, Danny, in the most important faceoff of the game. Tied at 12 with nine seconds remaining, one of the brothers had an opportunity to set up their team with a game-winning goal.Joe won the faceoff and ran toward the goal, with Danny close behind. Joe tried passing the ball, but it missed his target and a scrum ensued. But the loose ball ended back in his stick, and he jumped in the air and fired. It beat Syracuse goalie Dom Madonna.Joe ran toward the 10-yard line near the Navy bench and his teammates mobbed him. He scored the game-winning goal to lift the No. 14 Midshipmen (9-4, 7-1 Patriot) over the No. 9 Orange (7-5, 4-0 Atlantic Coast), 13-12, on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. And he did it by beating his brother in a heated matchup at the faceoff X.Here are three reactions from the game.Brothers at the faceoff XAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Navy and Syracuse lined up at midfield, just before the opening faceoff, Danny and Joe Varello stood across from each other. The two high-fived before hugging and walked away before reconvening less than a minute later. In a rarity in lacrosse, two brothers bent over at the faceoff X and battled each other.Danny pulled away the opening faceoff, but the ground ball ended up in a Navy wing’s stick, giving the opening win to his older brother, Joe. The battle remained close throughout the entire game, but Joe ultimately won the faceoff battle 16-11.Most times, it was a grapple that lasted a handful of seconds before a scrum ensued for the loose ball. Other times, it was a clean win by one of the two. Danny won the first-half battle by one, 7-6, after winning the last two faceoffs entering the break.Joe took over the third quarter, winning 4-of-5. But the back-and-forth game saw many turnovers or point-blank saves from SU goalie Dom Madonna, and the success at the faceoff X did little in making a difference in the outcome — both teams scored a pair of goals in that quarter.Danny won the first faceoff of the final quarter, setting up a David Lipka goal that gave SU its first lead of the game. He won another faceoff before Joe ripped off five straight. Navy used Joe’s momentum and, after trailing by two, scored back-to-back goals to tie the game at 11 with under three minutes to play. The two split the next pair of faceoffs and Navy used a late goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 12-12.Out of the timeout, the two brothers lined up for the most important faceoff of the game. Joe won and scored the game winner with his brother trailing right behind him.Rehfuss lends a handLittle went right for Syracuse’s offense early. It fell behind and began chipping away at Navy’s lead. Attack Stephen Rehfuss led the charge, assisting on six of the Orange’s 12 goals.Rehfuss finished with the most assists for a Syracuse player this season and tied a season-high in points (seven), which Brendan Bomberry also achieved in SU’s season opener.After a shot landed out of bounds, Rehfuss restarted possession and quickly found a cutting Bomberry to give SU its first goal of the game. Then, in the second quarter with SU down two, Rehfuss had a turnaround jump pass to a wide-open Nate Solomon. He finished the first half with four assists on six SU goals.The second half began much like the first for the Orange, with Navy taking a two-goal lead. This time, instead of assisting on the play, Rehfuss went low-to-high to score himself, pulling Syracuse within one. Then, to open the fourth quarter, he assisted on a pass to Lipka to give Syracuse its first lead of the game. He added an assist to Bomberry later that quarter to give SU an 11-9 lead.Though Navy came back and eventually won, Rehfuss kept the game close enough to give Syracuse a chance.Not enough in netNavy’s offense attacked Syracuse early and created plenty of open opportunities to pull away. Whether it was from dodges, picks or spin moves, the Midshipmen had plenty of point-blank shots on Syracuse goalie Dom Madonna. But most of them were stopped by the redshirt senior.Late in the third quarter, just after Syracuse tied the game at eight, Navy won the faceoff and the transition ended in an open shot. Madonna saved it. The Midshipmen retained possession and another open shot from Dave Little bounced off the post. Navy’s Chris Hill added an open shot, but Madonna again saved it. The third quarter ended with the tie still intact.Madonna finished the game with 11 saves, tied for his second-most this season, as his presence in net once again helped give Syracuse the opportunity to put the game away late. The defense struggled often to block shots or force off-balanced ones, and Navy took advantage. On the last play of the game, the jump shot from Varello was wide open. It was a constant theme for Navy throughout, and Madonna’s performance almost bailed SU’s defense out. Commentslast_img