first_img Published on March 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb When Syracuse flopped in its first three attempts at an Atlantic Coast Conference victory, Chris Daddio was always the scapegoat.Opposing faceoff specialists beat him time after time as the Orange never had enough possessions to compete with its new conference foes, let alone beat them, and the Syracuse defense spent too much time, frankly, playing defense.But when SU finally got over the hump for its first-ever ACC win Saturday, Daddio was the reason why. The SU senior captured 15-of-24 draws to lead No. 9 Syracuse (5-3, 1-3 ACC) to a potentially season-changing 11-10 victory over No. 7 Notre Dame (4-3, 2-1) before an ecstatic audience of 5,454 at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.“I just came out more confident, tried to forget about the beginning of the season. Obviously, I didn’t have the best start,” Daddio said. “I just tried to forget about that and come out confident like I’ve been having a great season the entire time.”Notre Dame came into the Carrier Dome with what was supposed to be the perfect formula to beat Syracuse, and officially squash SU’s hopes of an ACC tournament appearance. The Fighting Irish boasted the nation’s best faceoff percentage at 68.5, and the country’s No. 2 faceoff specialist in senior Liam O’Connor.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut Daddio pieced together his most impressive performance of the season at a time his team needed it most.At 1-3 in ACC play, the Orange sits at the dead bottom of the ACC standings. With enough fortune and perhaps a turnaround at the X, though, Syracuse might be able to sneak into the late-April conference playoffs.“Everyone pins it on the faceoffs,” attack Kevin Rice said. “We played awful last week in every phase of the game, but he gets the blame for it.“So I’m glad he came out here and played awesome today. He should get all the credit for the win, too.”In three of SU’s last five games, Daddio had been pitted against a faceoff specialist that now ranks in the country’s top 15.And the results showed. Daddio won just 5-of-17 against Maryland. Five-of-22 at Virginia. Three-of-16 at Johns Hopkins.At Duke on Sunday, SU head coach John Desko sent out an untested freshman in Daddio’s place to take the game’s opening draw. Daddio was eventually thrown out there, but won just 1-of-7 in a pitiful 21-7 humiliation.“What a difference a week makes,” Desko said after beating UND on Saturday.O’Connor took the faceoff to kick off the second quarter, and the Irish buried an equalizing goal six minutes in.But that was only temporary. The rest of the quarter was Syracuse’s.Daddio picked up his physicality at the X, boxing out O’Connor and throwing shoves to create space. He won 5-of-7 faceoffs the rest of the period, and with them the Orange attack capitalized to head into the locker room with a 7-5 lead.“I wasn’t winning them clean, but I was staying down on the ball and fighting,” Daddio said, “My wings helped me a lot, so it came together.”Daddio won 3-of-4 in a third quarter dictated by tough defense, while a score by Rice allowed SU to enter the fourth quarter up by one.A Dylan Donahue goal pushed Syracuse’s lead to two, and Rice capped off a possession won by Daddio with a score. The Orange was ahead 10-7, with 13:41 standing between SU and potentially its biggest win of the season.But Notre Dame grabbed two of the next three draws and strung together a 3-0 run to knot the score at 10, with 6:29 left on the clock and the game in the hands of whichever side would have the ball more.Daddio won the next draw, but Rice turned the ball over behind the cage. After getting a stop on defense, SU pushed it back the other way in transition.Quick ball movement within the box, from Randy Staats to Donahue to Rice, set up Rice for a shot from the left doorstep. After a hesitation move, he cut back toward midfield for a better angle and fired it inside the left post to put Syracuse ahead 11-10 with 2:05 left.Daddio won the next faceoff by violation, the SU defense got one more stop in the final minute and the Orange stormed the field having finally joined the rest of the ACC in the conference win column.“At that point, I thought it was the game,” Rice said of his fourth and final goal, “with the way that Chris was winning faceoffs and the way we were making them work for everything. Chris made it so they didn’t even get a chance.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img