Published on April 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm Contact Paul: email@example.com | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Syracuse suffers 10-9 defeat to Cornell in overtime ITHACA, N.Y. — The game was tied, and then it wasn’t. Then it was tied again and Syracuse regained its lead. Cornell answered. This time, the tie only lasted 40 seconds.On three occasions, Nick Mariano broke the deadlock. In a game notable for the back-and-forth battle between the two teams, Mariano was the one who allowed the Orange to keep poking its head above water.As the overtime bout hung in the balance, the most crucial tiebreak didn’t go to the junior midfielder. Instead, the Big Red broke the final tie and Cornell celebrated the goal which ended the extra frame and led to its 10-9 win.“We wanted a bigger lead and that’s what we were trying to do offensively,” Mariano said. “But that didn’t happen.”And Mariano’s not to blame. All four of his goals extended No. 9 Syracuse’s (6-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) lead in the eventual one-goal loss to Cornell (5-5, 1-3 Ivy) at Schoellkopf Field. The four scores were a season-high for Mariano who previously hadn’t played midfield since he was in sixth grade. He’s used to taking on defenders with long poles and exploited the favorable matchup on Tuesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn two previous overtime games this season, the Orange’s offense never touched the ball. This time, Ben Williams won the opening faceoff and SU quickly called timeout to set up a play.After cycling the ball around for nearly a minute and a half, Derek DeJoe sprinted toward the goal from the right wing. He nearly got to the goal-line and unleashed a low-angle shot that flew beyond the opposite sideline.Syracuse head coach John Desko said Mariano’s defender had a short stick.“I wanted the ball definitely,” Mariano said.“I wanted him to have the ball at the end also,” Desko said.Mariano never took a shot on the Orange’s only possession in the extra period and Cornell scored on its first chance with the ball.What he did during the first 60 minutes, though, was enough to leave one of the biggest imprints in a game that teetered from one side to the other.“Nick had the hot hand,” Desko said.Mariano’s second goal came when he caught a pass from Jordan Evans about 10 yards in front of the net. The lefty wound up with his dominant hand and fired a sidearm shot toward the center of the goal, but it snuck just under the crossbar. Syracuse, 4-3.His next came off a roll dodge from the left side of the field. As Mariano switched his stick into his left hand, he leapt off the ground to generate power and scored his third goal to record his fifth hat trick of the season. Syracuse, 8-7.After Cornell tied it up at eight, Mariano had the answer again 40 seconds later. Another lefty rip. Another broken tie. Except this time, Mariano barely celebrated. He kept his arms at his sides and simply started walking toward the sideline. It was becoming routine. Syracuse, 9-8.“He was shooting the ball extremely well,” Desko said. “He had the opportunities he was put in, he was dodging hard, he was playing with a lot of confidence.”For the past eight years, Mariano had played attack. In two years at Massachusetts, he often drew opponents’ best defenders. He switched to midfield before the season and 10 games into his career, he’s still occasionally drawing short sticks even as the Orange’s leading goal scorer.That’s what helped open him up several times against the Big Red.“When I get a shortie on me, I get a little red in the eye,” Mariano said.After the game, a father and son stood near reporters and watched as Syracuse packed up its truck for the 53-mile drive back to SU. The son, wearing an orange jersey, posed for a photo with Desko as his dad captured the moment with his phone.Moments later, Mariano finished fielding questions from the media just a few yards away from the field he had his best game at Syracuse on.“He played great,” the father said to his son.But then Mariano turned around, the lights on top of reporters’ cameras turned off and he walked back to the Orange’s locker room. It didn’t matter how great Mariano played. Comments
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