Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue scored with 13 seconds remaining to lift top-seeded Syracuse past Yale 7-6 in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals Saturday.
The Orange (15-3) will face the winner of Sunday's Denver-North Carolina match in next Saturday's semifinals in Philadelphia.
Donahue's goal completed a three-goal rally in the final 3:04 for Syracuse. Yale (12-5) had held the Orange scoreless for more than 43 minutes after surrendering the first four goals of the game.
Yale had a chance to take the lead with 1:21 left, but Syracuse goalie Dominic Lamolinara (nine saves) stuffed Bulldogs midfielder Conrad Oberbeck to secure possession for the Orange.
After a timeout with 55 seconds left, Syracuse midfielder JoJo Marasco patiently waited for an opportunity to develop before finding Donahue a few yards from the goal for the winner.
"They were looking to slide to JoJo," Donahue said. "I could see all the guys wanted to go and my guy turned his head and he left me open for a while there. I was just waiting for JoJo. I think he saw me the whole time and was just waiting for the right time to pass it."
Syracuse advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2009. The three-season absence was the Orange's longest since first reaching the semifinals in 1980.
A return this year almost didn't happen.
Yale spotted the Orange a four-goal lead, then held Syracuse scoreless for the next 43:18. By that point, the Bulldogs built a 6-4 lead and were poised to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1990.
"I think we got a little too comfortable with things," Syracuse coach John Desko said. "They started changing their defense and started going from a zone defense to a man-to-man defense and started doing some different things. We got sloppy. Give them credit for the D they played, but we got sloppy."
Kevin Rice and Luke Cometti scored within a 44-second span for the Orange to tie it, but Yale had a chance to reclaim the lead when Conrad Oberbeck took a shot that Lamolinara managed to snare with 1:21 left.
"I just found a loose end," Oberbeck said. "I really thought I canned it. Some breaks just don't go your way, but yeah, I thought it was going to go in."
Instead, Syracuse cleared it and called timeout with 55 seconds remaining. After working about 30 seconds off the clock, the Orange allowed Marasco to orchestrate the offense.
Eventually, he saw Donahue drift away from his man and slipped a pass inside to set up the winning goal.
"D.D. just backed out and was right by the net," Marasco said. "I tried to hit him with the pass and I saw him early. I trust him every time. The whole year, he put the ball in the back of the net and look what he did in a quarterfinal game. It was just huge for us."