Three Thoughts: Big East Tournament Semifinal

The Orange dominated Villanova on its home turf in the opening round of the Big East Tournament in Philadelphia

It was a close game for the first half of the Big East Tournament semifinal, but the back-and-forth game didn't last for long. The Orange led 6-4 at the half but a nine goal second half and a scoreless fourth quarter for the Wildcats gave Syracuse a 15-6 victory. 

Here are three thoughts from the game:

1. Bobby Eilers is dangerous against a short-stick... 

As a coach looking at a defensive scheme against the Orange, there are a couple options. You could either put a long-pole on JoJo Marasco or Bobby Eilers. Villanova chose to keep the long-pole on Marasco and Eilers punished them. He scored four goals against the Wildcats. So, it's simple, move the long-pole to Eilers and have a short-stick on Marasco. Wrong. If you open up Marasco then he will be the one to punish you. Syracuse's offensive weapons have started to cause a defensive nightmare for opponents and they will continue to haunt the dreams of coaches as long as Eilers and Marasco stay strong. 

2. Is Wardwell the difference?

Earlier this season at the Carrier Dome, the Orange fell to the Wildcats by one goal. One major change since the last match-up is between the pipes. The goalkeeper is no longer Dominic Lamolinara. Freshman Bobby Wardwell has stood tall in net and he made a huge difference against Villanova the second time around. His 12 saves were a huge reason the Orange went on such long runs. When a goalie lets in goals, the momentum goes away. Wardwell kept the momentum going. Of course, he isn't the only difference between the games. Syracuse picked up 41 ground balls to Villanova's 22 and held the advantage at the face-off X. But Wardwell standing strong in the goal certainly helped the Orange's cause. 

3. St. John's did the Orange a favor...

This thought isn't even about the Syracuse-Villanova game, but the one right before it. Unranked St. John's took down the No. 2 team in the country. Notre Dame had just beaten Syracuse last week and it would have been a tough championship match-up for the Orange. Now, Syracuse faces a team it beat earlier in the year. St. John's struggles in two areas. One major problem for the Red Storm all year has been face-offs. Sound familiar? Since St. John's wont be too competative at the X, it gives Syracuse more chances to pick up more possesions. The other area where the Johnnies struggle is clearing the ball. The team was exceptional today, but with a hard ride from Syracuse, expect a lot of Red Storm turnovers. 

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.