Jeff Zywicki Powers Men's Lacrosse Past Defending National Champion Syracuse 16-15 In NCAA First Round
May 15, 2005
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior All-American Sean Morris (Marshfield, Mass.) beat three Syracuse defenders and bounced a shot into the back of the cage with 1:12 left in regulation to propel the No. 8 University of Massachusetts men's lacrosse team past Syracuse, 16-15, this afternoon on Garber Field in the NCAA First Round.
UMass (13-2) defeated the Orange for the second time this season, both on Garber Field by a one-goal margin. The loss eliminates Syracuse from the NCAA Tournament, making it the first time since 1981 that the Orange will not make it to the NCAA semifinals.
Senior Jeff Zywicki (Napean, Ontario) led all scorers, recording a season-best six goals on the afternoon and adding an assist. Morris would tally three goals and three assists, his fourth six-point performance of the 2005 campaign. Both players came out of the game with 42 goals in the season. This marks the first time since 1981 that UMass has had two players with 40 or more goals in a season.
After Zywicki netted a man-up goal, his sixth goal of the game, with 6:01 remaining in the game, the Minutemen found themselves with a two-goal lead, 15-13. The Orange would answer back, with goals from Greg Rommel at the 4:06 mark, and the game-tying tally with 3:06 remaining from Brett Bucktooth, his fourth goal of the game, to bring the match even.
Morris attacked from the right side of the field, and jumped in the air as two defenders closed in on him, and slipped a bounce shot past Syracuse keeper Jay Pfiefer with 1:12 left on the clock, sending the 4,038 in attendance into an uproar.
Senior Ryan Connolly (North Andover, Mass.) would tally the first goal of the third quarter, one of 13 combined that were scored by the two teams in the period. Greg Rommel and Morris would trade goals at the 11:00 mark, before the Orange scored five of the games next seven goals to cut the UMass lead to one, 11-10. Brian Crockett tallied three goals in the stretch for the Orange, while the Minutemen received tallies from Zywicki and sophomore Andrew Recchione (Mahwah, N.J.) to withstand the rally. Senior Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, N.Y.) and Brett Garber would give UMass a three goal lead with 1:54 left in the quarter, only to have Greg Niewieroski cut the lead to two at the end of three quarters of play.
Morris would push the lead to 5-2 in the second quarter before the Orange would register back-to-back tallies from Steven Brooks and Bucktooth. Just 10 seconds after the Bucktooth goal, junior Jake Deane (Annapolis, Md.) delivered a pass to Zywicki who found the back of the twine to regain a two-goal lead for UMass. Sophomore Brian Jacovina (Hicksville, N.Y.) would record the final goal of the half off a feed from Morris, giving UMass a 7-4 lead at halftime.
The Minutemen lit up the scoreboard first, as Zywicki buried his first goal of the game just over two minutes into the first stanza. Sophomore Brett Garber (Avon, Conn.) would give UMass a 2-0 lead when he finished an unassisted goal at the 11:20 mark. After a pushing penalty by junior Jack Reid (Glastonbury, Conn.), Syracuse would get their first tally of the game, a man-up goal from Brett Bucktooth with 10:15 remaining. A goal from Brian Crockett would tie the contest up, before senior classmates Zywicki and Chris Doyle (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) would find the back of the cage with under a minute remaining.
Senior Bill Schell (Mahopac, N.Y.) came in to protect the cage for the final 4:06 of the game, recording two saves, and picking up his 12th win of the year. Sophomore Efosa Guobadia (Baldwin, N.Y.) played terrific in his second-career start, stopping eight shots in the first half.
UMass travels to Baltimore to take on No. 1 Johns Hopkins (13-0) at Homewood Field on Saturday, May 21. Face-off is slated for Noon in a game that will be air nationally on ESPNU.