May 10, 2009
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Junior goalkeeper Brent Herbst was strong between the pipes and kept his team in the game through three quarters of play. He finished with 11 saves (five in the first period) and allowed just six goals to the nation's top offense (13.1 goals/game) heading into the final period. But No. 2 seeded Syracuse went on a run in the fourth quarter and shut the door, defeating Siena 11-4 in the NCAA Tournament's first round Sunday evening at the Carrier Dome. It was Siena's first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
Scott Montgomery won the opening face-off and the Saints settled into a quality first possession. Something they wanted to establish early and often. Senior midfielder Kenny Mazzone ripped a shot from straight away that was saved by goalkeeper John Galloway.
But turnovers, especially in transition, hampered the team's success offensively. Syracuse dominated possession in the first half and outshot the Saints 17-10. Herbst was up to the task and kept his team in the game. He made eight saves and allowed just four goals in the first half.
The Orange (13-2) broke through at the 7:05 mark of the first period. Kenny Nims passed to Cody Jamieson behind the cage and he came around unmarked and fired the shot past Herbst. Nims led the Orange with five points (1 G, 4 A). Syracuse added a man-down goal 64 seconds later on a fast break. After Galloway made a save on Shaun Dunn, he sent the outlet pass down field and Josh Amidon fed Stephen Keogh for a wide open goal.
Syracuse had success clearing the ball (24-for-26) while Siena was just 11-for-19.
Although Herbst made more flashy saves, Galloway was equally solid in the cage, making eight first half saves and keeping Siena off the scoreboard. He finished with 13 saves. It was the first time this season that Siena was held scoreless through the first half.
Siena failed to execute on man-up, converting just 1-of-6. The Saints manufactured quality shots, but Galloway was there to make the save.
Siena broke through with three minutes left in the third quarter. On an extra-man opportunity, Mazzone ripped a shot off the inside far post to make it 5-1. He led the Saints with three points (1 G, 2 A). But Syracuse answered a minute later on Jamieson's second goal of the game. Jamieson finished with three goals and one assist.
Siena made it 6-2 on a goal by Jordan Loftus six seconds before the end of the third quarter. Bryan Hale forced a turnover in his own end and ran it down field where he found Loftus who took the quick shot from the left side and buried it near post.
Down 6-2 entering the fourth period, Siena still had a chance. But Syracuse put an end to that with three straight goals in less than six minutes to take a dominating 10-3 lead. They scored on the first five shots they put on cage.
Syracuse contained MAAC Rookie of the Year and Siena's leading scorer Bryan Neufeld. He managed his first shot of the game at the 12:19 mark of the fourth quarter. He later scored with 50 seconds left. Mazzone dodged his man and found Neufeld at the top of the crease.
Siena's 16 seniors end their careers with a 38-26 (.590) record, three-consecutive 10-win seasons, two MAAC regular season championships, one MAAC championship and the program's first NCAA tournament appearance.