Revenge is sweet for the Orange, who suffered a brutal 21-7 loss to Duke earlier in the season.
Dylan Donahue had four goals for the Orange, including the final go-ahead goal to give Syracuse the one-point lead over Duke with one second left in regulation.
"We came out. [Duke] came out as a terrific team, played very well and once again took advantage of our mistakes," Coach Desko said after the game. "Fortunately these guys made a great effort to get the win for us."
It's an accurate statement. Both teams played with great vigor. Syracuse erased a three-point deficient in the first quarter by scoring four goals to start the second before Deemer Class tied the game at 6-6 at 8:39.
Syracuse never had more than a one-point lead in its hard-fought victory, and closed a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter with six goals in the final nine minutes.
Playing through rain that sent several players sliding on the turf, Syracuse had a fourth quarter for the ages. Donahue scored the equalizing goal, assisted by Kevin Rice, with 4:29 left in regulation.
When Blue Devil Jordan Wolf answered a minute later to give Duke a 15-14 lead, Duke held on to a lead--and what looked like victory--for three minutes, until senior Billy Ward, in a deja vu moment, scored on an assist from Randy Staats to tie the game 15-15.
Fourteen seconds later, at 0:01, Donahue's last-minute goal send the Orange to the ACC Championship in its first appearance in the tournament.
When asked where the game ranked in his all-time list, Desko chuckled and said, "Right now? Pretty high."
"It's a good feeling," Donahue said after the game. "They're a really good team."
"And we've come along way since that last game against Duke," Rice added. "We could've folded [in the beginning] but we showed them we weren't that same team that got beat down earlier this season."