Navy’s last-second goal from Joe Varello stuns Syracuse, 13-12

first_imgBrothers Joe and Danny Varello walked up to the faceoff X with the score knotted and less than 10 seconds remaining. The elder, Navy’s Joe, edged his younger brother on the clamp and swam free off his attempt at defense around the 40-yard line.“Our decision on that face off was to set our guys back,” Joe said. “And if I could push the ball forward, to try and make a play.”The senior faceoff specialist then moved the ball over to Jeff Durden. The long-stick midfielder bobbled the pass. The ball lay loose on the turf. Joe scooped it off the bounce, his younger brother trailing behind him. The elder brother rifled a shot to the top left of the cage past SU goalkeeper Dom Madonna.With less than a second remaining, Joe emphatically fist pumped into the air before welcoming his teammates around him to celebrate the game-winning goal. Danny’s head hung, slowly walking away form a deflated SU team. Published on April 21, 2018 at 4:30 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 Joe Varello’s final face-off win and subsequent goal were the deciding factors in a back and forth game for No. 9 Syracuse (7-5, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) against No. 14 Navy (9-4, 7-1 Patriot) in a 13-12 Midshipmen victory. The last time SU and Navy played was in the 2004 National Championship, with SU winning by one goal. Fourteen years later, the back and forth continued. Syracuse narrowly won the groundball battle by three, while Navy bested SU by two shots. The Midshipmen turned the ball over twice more than SU. Stephen Rehfuss posted seven points to Navy’s Jack Ray’s six. But in the end it was the matchup that had been hyped all week, brother against brother, that decided the game. Joe won 16 faceoffs to Danny’s 11.“To come here in the Carrier Dome, get behind a couple of goals and win it, especially at the end like they did, my hat’s off to the them,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “And Joe did a terrific job at the end and to get rewarded with a goal, he’ll probably remember that for a long time.”The brothers split the first two faceoffs of the game but Navy scored twice while Syracuse struggled to finish. Midway through the first quarter, Rehfuss snagged a loose ball and threaded a pass 20 yards toward the cage and SU attack Nate Solomon. On the doorstep, with no one but the Navy goalkeeper to beat, Solomon was stuffed. Navy retained possession.The next time SU had the ball, Rehfuss fed Bomberry in the middle of Navy’s zone defense. The shot clung off the crossbar. SU snatched the ball once more and this time, Rehfuss’ feed didn’t go to waste. As the redshirt sophomore attack ran away from the cage along the hash marks, he fed to the other pair of dashes, where Bomberry streaked toward the cage. He caught and shot the pass all at once for Syracuse’s first goal.Navy led for much of the first half, with Joe and Danny drawing a near stalemate at the faceoff X (SU entered the half leading 7-6 in draws). Syracuse rattled off three-straight goals to close the second frame out, one directly off a Danny faceoff win, and two more off assists from Rehfuss.In the second half, momentum swung, repeatedly. First, Navy recaptured a multi-goal lead with a sweep from Greyson Torain in which the junior midfielder ran from the left hash marks all the way through the right side of Syracuse’s defense before scoring on the run. Then, Ray picked up a shot off the back of the SU net and swung around the crease for a tuck-in finish.Then, everything went SU’s way. Rehfuss scored along the right-side wing from one knee on a sidearm shot. Solomon fed Curry from the X for a spot-shot goal. And a Rehfuss feed, which he admitted postgame was intended for Brendan Bomberry, found the stick of David Lipka for Syracuse’s first lead of the game.“It looked like the third quarter the tide turned,” Navy head coach Rick Sowell said. “They went ahead but we kept fighting back and then they’d go ahead, probably didn’t look great when we were down two but then we fought back to tie it, then they go up again, just back and forth.”With about a minute remaining in the game and the score back even, Tucker Dordevic rang along the left hash mark with a defender beside him. As Dordevic quickened his steps, the Navy defender struggled to keep pace. When Dordevic slammed both feet into the ground, initiating his roll dodge, the Navy defender continued past the SU midfielder. Out of the spin and with newfound separation, Dordevic cranked a low screamer past Navy’s goalkeeper for what would have been his second game-winning goal of the season.But after gaining possession on the ensuing faceoff, SU couldn’t hold onto the ball. Rehfuss was jumped down low and coughed up possession. Down at the other end, Ray had a step on his defender in the heart of the SU defense. He caught a feed from John Salcedo and scored with less than 10 seconds left. Then, Joe Varello beat his younger brother Danny, and eventually the Syracuse Orange.“I was just out there trying to put forth the best effort for my team and I looked at this as Navy versus Syracuse,” Joe said. “And then once that final whistle blew, he was back to being my brother again. But for the 60 minutes during the game, I tried to look at Danny as just No. 42 on Syracuse.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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