No. 5 Syracuse Dominates No. 6 Irish in Big East Semifinals

VILLANOVA, PA No. 2 seed Syracuse defeated No. 3 seed Notre Dame 9-3 in the 2013 Big East semifinals on May 2 at Villanova Stadium in a match-up of top-five teams. The Orange will play the winner of the second semifinal, which pits No. 1 seed Villanova against No. 4 seed Georgetown, in the title game on Saturday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

SU held Notre Dame to a season-low three goals, holding the Fighting Irish scoreless for a drought of 35:19 to grab the victory. The Orange are seeking their second-straight Big East Championship title and automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.

"We challenged ourselves," said Syracuse head coach John Desko. "It's difficult to play a team that we just played. But the guys did a good job of being mentally and emotionally prepared."

The Orange jumped out to a lead to start the game, taking a 2-0 advantage on goals by redshirt-freshman Henry Schoonmaker and sophomore Kevin Rice. Notre Dame's Tyler Kimball scored the Irish's first goal of the game to cut SU's lead to 2-1 out of the first quarter.

All-Big East Second Team selection Sean Rogers tied the game for the Irish five minutes into the second quarter, but Syracuse recaptured the lead seven minutes later as redshirt-freshman Dylan Donohue, redshirt-sophomore Hakeem Lecky and Rice each found the back of the net to give the Orange a 5-2 edge heading into the half.

Syracuse held a 22-10 advantage in shots through the first two quarters and won five of the nine faceoffs.

Junior Derek Maltz, an All-Big East Second Team honoree, scored back-to-back goals for the Orange to give Syracuse a 7-2 lead with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Lecky recorded his second goal of the game four and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, as the scoring drought for the Irish reached 30 minutes. Senior Luke Cometti added to the score three minutes later off an assist from Big East Midfielder of the Year JoJo Marasco, who assisted on four of the Orange's nine goals.

The two teams played six days ago in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Orange posted a 10-4 victory against the Irish to finish the Big East season 5-1, earning a share of the regular-season title.

The Irish were only held to single-digit goals four times during the regular season, going 2-2 in those games.

"Each game we are getting stronger and its showing," said Marasco. "John Kemp is a great goalie and for us to put 10 and nine goals against him in two games shows a lot."

The Orange faced both teams in the second semifinal during the conference season, defeating Georgetown earlier in the season, winning 9-8 on April 20 at home. The Orange lost to Villanova 11-10 on March 23 on the road.

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VILLANOVA, Pa. Junior Derek Maltz (Ashburn, Va.) and senior JoJo Marasco (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) each had four points to lead second-seeded Syracuse (12-3) to a 9-3 win against No. 3 seed Notre Dame (10-4) in the semifinals of the Big East Championship Thursday, May 2 at Villanova Stadium.

Maltz recorded two goals and two assists, and Marasco finished with four assists to tie Paul Gait's school season record for most assists by a midfielder (34 in 1990).

The Orange advances to the conference championship game for the second straight year and will face either Georgetown or Villanova Saturday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

In addition to Marasco and Maltz sparking the offense, Syracuse received a tremendous effort from its defense for the second time in six days against the Irish. Last Saturday, Notre Dame scored a season-low four goals against the Orange. Syracuse did even better Thursday, limiting the Irish to three goals. The Orange kept Notre Dame off the scoreboard for a stretch of 35:19 from the second to the fourth quarter and helped force 15 Irish turnovers.

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