Spencer Bodian | Staff PhotographerMen's Lacrosse
LOVE HURTS: Hobart’s star attack stuns Syracuse 13-12 to take Kraus-Simmons Trophy
The Carrier Dome was nearly empty one hour after the game except for the Hobart players and fans.
At 10 p.m. a booming “Woo!” echoed across the Dome. Four minutes later the excitement bubbled once again and the cheering intensified. Three minutes later it grew even louder, finally stopping at 10:10 p.m.
Hobart (6-6, 2-3 Eastern College Athletic) had every reason to celebrate. It staged a stunning comeback over heavily favored No. 3 Syracuse (9-3, 3-1 Big East) an hour earlier, beating the Orange 13-12 in front of 2,362 at the Carrier Dome. Alex Love scored six goals for the Statesmen, setting the team’s single-season scoring record and leading his team to a victory it’s coveted for years.
“I know when we play Syracuse we always get a lot of fans,” Love said.
Hobart’s comeback attempt against Syracuse came up one goal short last season. The Statesmen trailed 12-9 with 11:17 remaining. They scored three of the next four goals, but failed to capture the game-winner.
This year, the situation was similar. Down 12-9 with 11:36 to go, Hobart stormed back once again. This time, though, they sealed the deal.
Love’s game-winner with 2:13 remaining gave Hobart its first win over SU since 2006 and just its third win over SU in the last 27 years. It left Syracuse players stunned on the sidelines, and paved the way for the uproar an hour later that put a bow on the remarkable comeback.
On the final goal, SU’s Drew Jenkins inadvertently pushed the ball in Love’s direction. Love knew he had to act quickly, so he scooped the ball from right to left to clear space.
Love torched Syracuse all game with his left hand, sidearming the ball underneath Brian Megill and scoring from all over the field. He prematurely fired what he called a “horrible shot” on the previous possession and said that shot was in his head.
“I was like ‘Oh, I should probably pull this out,’” Love said, “and then the kid backed in a little bit so I was like ‘Uh, it might be time.’ So I let it go and it went in.”
Love recognized the Hobart faithful by sprinting toward the sideline and launching an imaginary arrow their way.
But Syracuse wasn’t done. Steve Ianzito had one last chance. He sprinted down the field as the milliseconds dwindled and the Orange’s fate became imminent.
Hobart goalie Peter Zonino, who finished with 18 saves, made his most critical save with 18 seconds left. Ianzito immediately fell to the ground, face-planting into the turf in disbelief. From there, Hobart ran out the clock and completed the upset.
Love’s six-goal outburst matched a career-high and gave him Hobart’s all-time single season record with 42 goals.
He torched Syracuse the year before with four goals but was unable to come away with the win. Syracuse head coach John Desko said he expected a close game from Hobart despite the team’s sub-.500 record.
“He did last year, too,” Desko said. “We had a really good lead early and they came roaring back once again. They don’t quit and it’s a Hobart-Syracuse game. The guys know each other and it’s right down the road, so we expect this kind of game every year from them.”
Love’s lefty, sidearm shot was too sly for Megill to handle. With two minutes left in the second quarter, Love snuck one inches under Megill’s stick and past SU goalie Dominic Lamolinara. One minute later he scored on a pass from Jake McHenry right outside the crease.
“He’s got a great shot,” Megill said. “He’s really good at getting his left hand open. He had a couple nice rips from up top on man-up and then one in transition and a couple times he got me on that rocker.”
Love stole the show Tuesday night with four in the second and two in the fourth. And after two goals from Derek Akner and one from Cam Stone, the game was tied.
Just eight seconds after Akner’s second goal, Love delivered for the final time.
And when the comeback was finally complete, Love sprinted over to his teammates and chest-bumped with teammate Ryan Munnelly. He let out a massive scream, just like the team did an hour later, still in bliss.
Said Love: “It’s a big game for our school – well, maybe not for Syracuse, but for us at least.”
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