Sergio Salcido’s five points carry No. 10 Syracuse to last-second win over No. 9 Virginia
Ally Moreo | Photo Editor
With 30 seconds left, Sergio Salcido ran toward the top of the box. Virginia pressed out and cut off all of Syracuse’s players — except Salcido. So, he dodged. Virginia’s Michael Howard was right there, but Salcido tried again. And again. Eventually, Howard slipped and Salcido wound up.
As the clock struck 15 seconds, the ball flew past goalie Will Railey into the back of the net. Syracuse had not led for 59 minutes, 45 seconds until Salcido stroked the game-winning goal.
“When I got the ball,” Salcido said, “I looked over and they were shutting everyone and making me take the matchup they liked. I knew my team needed me to make a play.”
For the third straight game, the last 15 seconds decided Syracuse’s fate. This game marked the first time the Orange had not led at any point. When Virginia cut off Syracuse’s top attackmen Nick Mariano and Jordan Evans, Salcido’s experience and quickness surfaced. His five-point performance proved vital in No. 10 Syracuse’s (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) 14-13 win over No. 9 Virginia (4-2, 0-1).
The redshirt senior had not played much until last season, a “project years in development,” ESPN lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon said. As a redshirt junior in 2016, Salcido broke out, becoming a constant on Syracuse’s offense. He finished second on the team in goals (29) and assists (24), earning All-American status. He earned 2017 Preseason All-American First Team honors.
“There’s not many people quicker than Salcido in Division I lacrosse,” Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany said.
Before the Army game Feb. 25, head coach Joe Alberici said Salcido posed a matchup issue because of his speed and ability to get off his own shot. Last week, Tiffany said Salcido posed a dangerous matchup for Virginia.
In the season opener against Siena, Salcido had a pair of goals and assists on 13 shots. A week later, versus Army, Salcido took only three shots. He made up for it by adding a goal and trio of assists. On Sunday afternoon, he added 11 shots, two goals and three assists.
Ally Moreo | Photo Editor
Salcido uses his speed and vision to find open holes and easy opportunities, as he has this season as Syracuse’s most seasoned veteran. After tallying three assists Sunday, Salcido ranks near the nation’s top 10 in assists per game.
On Sunday, Virginia jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before Salcido began to pull Syracuse back. He fired a pass across the field, finding Mariano in front of the net. He put it in with ease. Later, as Virginia held a 3-1 lead, Salcido caught a pass on a breakaway transition, then found a wide open Evans, rather than taking the shot.
“Make sure if I’m trying to shoot the ball,” Salcido said, “it’s a quality shot.”
Through four games, Salcido has battled injury, SU head coach John Desko said. He has been “banged up” and has missed practices because of it. Even leading up to Sunday’s game, he had not practiced each day. After a Harvard scrimmage on Jan. 4, Salcido hobbled off the field. Against Albany on Feb. 18, he had a “charley horse” that held him out for some time during which the Great Danes tacked on two goals. When he returned, he scored a pair of goals and assists.
“That’s a lot to ask of him,” Desko said. “It’s hard to go out after not having some good runs during the week and play game day.”
Salcido’s path to dominance started last season. Then, he wasn’t the go-to option. Dylan Donahue and Mariano were. Salcido facilitated the ball. As the offense sometimes stalls, Salcido needs to step up.
And he did on Sunday. It wasn’t Mariano who was called on the final shot, like he had against Albany. It was Salcido.
Published on March 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm