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With 11 minutes left in the first half and Syracuse trailing by two, Bobby Gavin planted his feet in front of the cage. He wasn’t looking toward the field though, instead keeping his toes on the crease while he looked at Maryland’s Keegan Khan through the netting.
Khan immediately sprang from behind the cage to the front while Gavin followed his movements with his stick. Gavin knew that Khan was not looking just to shoot, in case a player was open near the crease. So when Khan flipped the ball into Jack Koras’ stick, Gavin was ready, flipping his stick in the other direction, and catching the shot near his waist.
“When we gave them tough shots, he made saves,” head coach Gary Gait said. “We were happy with his play.”
The Orange’s defense stepped up as Gavin had 11 saves, finishing with a 44.0% save percentage. The Terrapins entered the game averaging 20.5 goals, but Gavin and the rest of Dave Pietramala’s revamped defense held them to six fewer in Syracuse’s (1-1) 14-10 loss to Maryland (3-0).
Gavin had eight saves in the Orange’s season-opener against Holy Cross, coming out for Harrison Thompson after the first half. Following the 28-5 win, Gait said that SU’s starting goalie position was still up in the air. But Gavin got the start on Sunday and following two penalties by Syracuse’s defense — one for pushing by Nick Fraterrigo and another on Dami Oladunmoye for illegal procedure while substituting into play — he recorded his first save.
Khan shot from 10 yards out, but Gavin deflected the high strike out of bounds. Still, Daniel Maltz picked up the ground ball for the Terrapins and assisted Anthony DeMaio, who easily scored past Gavin.
Without Tewaaraton Winner Jared Bernhardt this season, former Syracuse player Logan Wisnauskas has become the Terrapins main option, recording eight goals in two games this season.
On one play, Wisnauskas got past Brett Kennedy, bouncing off a hit from Saam Olexo before unloading a strike from the center. Gavin couldn’t get to it, or another strike from Wisnauskas four minutes later, as the Orange’s defense didn’t pick up the slide. Gait said Gavin played well, but goals like Wisnauskas’, where he was left wide-open because of defensive mistakes, led to easy strikes.
“We left him hanging a few times. There were some seven-yard step-downs and I wouldn’t want to be in the net guarding those,” Gait said. “There’s not a lot of guys in the country that can stop those shots from those guys.”
The Terrapins continued to break down the Orange’s defense, though Gavin made some crucial saves either by trapping the ball on the turf with his stick or deflecting it to himself on long strikes.
“I couldn’t have made those saves without the awesome defense I had in front of me,” Gavin said.
Early in the second period, Gavin was left with a two-on-one situation as the rest of the defense fought for a ground ball near midfield. Gavin tracked Khan with the ball before shifting his attention to Eric Malever, who was on his left side. Malever shot high at point-blank range, but Gavin trapped the ball with his stick, preventing a seventh score.
Gavin continued his strong play into the third period but near the end, Wisnauskas got the ball unguarded again from 15 yards out from the cage. He sent an underhand left strike from the right side of the field, hitting the top left corner of the net for his final score.
Wisnauskas’ ability to shoot with his left hand made it hard for Gavin on some saves, the goalie said, but he finished with two stops against the Terrapins leading scorer.
But in the final period, Maryland started to pull away offensively with five goals on 10 shots. During the fourth, the Terrapins also had 14 ground ball pickups compared to the Orange’s five, allowing them to get on the offensive end to attack Gavin.
Gavin didn’t record a save for the final 12 minutes, but early in the fourth period, DeMaio curled from the left side of the cage. DeMaio didn’t have an open option to pass to like Khan did earlier in the game, instead deciding to score himself. DeMaio’s attempt was off the mark on the right of the cage, and Gavin was able to trap the ball on the turf, sending it to Fraterrigo for the clear.
“We had all fight in us today. We never gave up. It didn’t go the right way for us but we are excited to bounce back next week,” Gavin said.
The post Bobby Gavin records 11 saves, holds Maryland’s offense below its season average appeared first on The Daily Orange.