Wardwell sparks Syracuse to 2nd-half comeback over Duke

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb CHESTER, Pa. — It’s a rare occurrence, but there have been a couple of games this year in which Dominic Lamolinara dominated between the pipes and earned the right to stand between them for longer than one half.But Friday was not one of those outings, and Bobby Wardwell’s role became more comparable to a savior than an equal replacement that usually enters to close out the game.“Bobby’s been playing really strong for the last four or five games,” Desko said. “We’re very confident in him going out there.”Still, it didn’t ensure Wardwell would have any less trouble with Duke’s lethal attack, the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, than his senior teammate did in the first half.Lamolinara struggled to pick up the Blue Devils’ shots, allowing 10 to go past him in the first 30 minutes of Friday’s matchup and stopping just five. The Orange sent in Wardwell to replace him and try to stop the bleeding, and he did just that. Wardwell made eight saves in the second half to stave off No. 2 Duke’s (12-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) offense and allow No. 4 Syracuse (10-3, 2-3) to pull off a second-half comeback and triumph 16-15 in the ACC semifinals on Friday at PPL Park.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter allowing a Duke goal from distance to start the game, Lamolinara made a stop on a Jordan Wolf attempt. But he couldn’t track down the rebound until Deemer Class flipped it into an open net for the Blue Devils’ second goal, and would yield a long bouncer from Class in the second quarter.Lamolinara relented three goals in the final two minutes of the half as Duke hung a 10 spot on the scoreboard. If not for SU’s efficient second-quarter offense, the Blue Devils could have easily pulled away from the Orange.“I think in the first half, we were testing it out,” Wardwell said. “Then in the second half, we knew what we were doing. Everyone started talking more in the second half, and that made it a lot easier.”It wasn’t the easiest of starts, however, to Wardwell’s night. The Blue Devils netted a pair of scores in the first two minutes of the second half and stretched the lead to 12-8.But they wouldn’t score again the rest of the frame.Whether the shots were low, to the side or even right at him, Wardwell handled them with ease.Thanks to Wardwell’s four saves in the third frame, the Orange trailed by just two going into the final quarter.“He took everything away that he should have, and more,” Desko said. “He made a couple of saves he shouldn’t have made today, too. He played great.”Again Duke struck twice early in the quarter with scores, but once again Wardwell would stand his ground in net as Syracuse scored three unanswered to draw within 14-13 with 6:40 remaining.On one possession, Duke had three chances to double its lead.“We took 22 shots in the second half, and that’s pretty good in a Division I game,” Duke head coach John Danowski said. “And they were some pretty good looks.”Duke’s Kyle Keenan had a look from the left doorstep. Then Walsh had one.Wolf shook off SU midfielder Tom Grimm and ripped a shot low, but just like the previous two attempts, it didn’t beat Wardwell. Instead, the Orange pushed ahead in transition and tied the score at 14.Wolf would get a wraparound past Wardwell to go ahead 15-14 — snapping a span of more than 10 scoreless minutes for Duke — and the Blue Devils would get one more possession to give themselves some breathing room.No such luck. Wardwell made a save with less than two minutes remaining, setting the stage for the Orange’s last-minute miracle.“Coach Danowki and the staff made that well aware to all the players every single day of the week,” Duke attack Josh Dionne said of SU’s goalie platoon. “We knew it was coming, and we thought we knew what to do to solve it.” Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply