In standout Senior Day performance, Marasco steadily leads Syracuse offense in comeback win over Rutgers

first_img Published on April 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories DOWN AND BACK: Syracuse scores 7 4th-quarter goals to pull off stunning comeback over RutgersFreshman Palasek gives Syracuse tight defense, stifles Rutgers scorers during Orange’s late-game comebackPaduda replaces Daddio at X, earns Syracuse critical possessions in win over Rutgerscenter_img JoJo Marasco was all smiles as he strolled into the interview room after his team’s breathtaking comeback victory. He joked with a reporter as he walked in and sat down at the interview table before any of other teammates even came into the room.“We’ve got to stop making it so exciting,” he said, drawing laughs from the reporters and cameramen in the room.But it couldn’t be any other way on the day celebrating the career of one of the most enigmatic players in Syracuse history.The day started with high hopes – a Senior Day celebration before a game against a two-win Rutgers team – quickly turned south with a five-goal deficit in the second half, and ultimately ended in remarkable fashion as Marasco and the No. 7 Orange capped an astonishing comeback with a 12-11 victory over the Scarlet Knights on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.When Marasco arrived at Syracuse, he earned a reputation as overconfident with his desire to immediately wear the prestigious No. 22 jersey. Instead he was given No. 1.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe underachieved during his first year. He was the No. 5 prospect in the nation, but only played in 10 games as a freshman. He earned No. 22 before his breakout sophomore campaign, but disappointed during Syracuse’s atypical 9-8 season a year ago.Now there’s arguably no one in the country playing better.“He’s not only a threat to go to the cage, but at any time he can pass you the ball,” SU midfielder Luke Cometti said. “Once our offense realized that, that’s why guys are cutting, that’s why guys are getting open and that’s why he’s playing real well.”He’s turned in perhaps his two finest performances in the last two games. On Wednesday he outplayed Tewaaraton Trophy favorite Rob Pannell to upset No. 2 Cornell. On Saturday he turned in five assists, including three during the fourth-quarter comeback, scored once and caused the biggest turnover of his career to shock the Scarlet Knights on the Carrier Dome turf.“You start thinking ahead and all the sudden, like you say, you look at Rutgers and go, ‘Wow,’” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “Now we’ve got to go to Georgetown on the road, we’re going to be in the Big City Classic for Notre Dame, and all the sudden those become almost must-wins.”Marasco started the Orange’s late run the way that most of it went: with a feed to Cometti. A few smooth dodges bought him some time before he found the hulking midfielder with his back to the net for a quick turn-and-shoot.Two and a half minutes later, they connected again. Marasco once again flipped the ball to Cometti for a catch-and-shoot goal to cut the lead to 10-7 with more than 11 minutes remaining.Syracuse fought back to tie it at 10 before midfielder Anthony Terranova pushed RU’s lead back to one. With two minutes remaining, Marasco tacked on his fifth and final assist on an equalizer by a cutting Derek Maltz.“The whole game we always know that if we get the ball, then we think we’re going to score,” Marasco said. “So I think it really came together in the fourth quarter.”A year ago that unabashed confidence could have been mistaken for hubris. He scored just 12 goals and dished out just 19 assists. He scored his 13th goal Saturday and his assist total climbed to 27. He never turned into the goal-scoring threat that the Orange faithful hoped he would, but he’s elevated his game as a passer to an entirely different level.It’s why Marasco, who seldom plays on the defensive end, sprinted back on defense in the waning moments of a tie game, ultimately chasing down defender Andrew Parrilla and whacking the ball out of his stick.Seconds later, after Syracuse defender Brian Megill scooped up the ground ball and raced the other way, Maltz scored the go-ahead goal.“I just saw that their guy was breaking and I put my head down and tried to run there as fast as I could,” Marasco said.He lay face down for a moment after falling on his stomach while causing the turnover, but got up in just enough time to watch Maltz’s shot ripple the twine.The only No. 22 without a national title has felt the ire of Orange fans disappointed with his inconsistency for three seasons. Those criticisms are gone. SU is 9-2, likely to crack the top five on Monday and a real national championship threat.On his wrist he wears a bracelet with the word “BELIEVE” written in all caps, bold lettering.He believes his offense can score at any time. He believed he could catch Parrilla to force one last turnover. Now the Orange fans that have been critical of him during his time at Syracuse can believe in him.“Even though it’s Senior Day,” Marasco said, “it’s more about the team.” Commentslast_img

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