No. 1 Orange split games in season-opening exhibition

The No. 1 ranked Orange split a pair of exhibition games Saturday, losing to Hofstra 6-5 and beating Le Moyne 10-5.

The last time Syracuse played in the Carrier Dome, Army used physicality and double overtime to pull a stunning upset. After an all-to-long offseason, the Orange players were ready and eager to begin avenging the loss.

“It was nice to be back in here and wash away the bad memories,” SU goalie John Galloway said. “It’s out of the memory bank. Now it’s time to focus on 2011.”

Photo: Brandon Weight

The Orange opened up the day with a scrimmage against Hofstra, who had just finished playing Le Moyne in the first of three exhibition matches. The Pride ­– loose and adequately warmed up – were noticeably sharper than Syracuse, which committed far too many turnovers.

Hofstra topped Syracuse 6-5 in SU’s opening match before the Orange toppled Le Moyne 10-5. The Pride left its starters in for most of the game, unlike the Orange. Syracuse head coach John Desko opted to play more of his reserves in the first game, before giving the starters more time in the second one.

“We gave the starters more time (against Le Moyne) to build a stronger chemistry with each other,” Desko said. “We wanted to emulate a game situation.”

Syracuse fell behind 2-0 to Hofstra after the first period, but looked to have found its stride in the second with three goals. Jovan Miller had a goal for the Orange, and Josh Amidon had two points in the quarter, as SU and Hofstra entered halftime tied.

In the second half, SU’s starters, including Galloway, saw limited time against the Pride starters. Jamie Lincoln scored the winning goal with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth.

Some of the bigger storylines from the first game was the play of Johns Hopkins transfer Tommy Palasek, senior captain Thomas Guadagnolo starting on defense, and seeing Desko’s initial second-line midfield squad of Steve Ianzito, Pete Coleman, and Jeff Gilbert.

“Palasek did a good job out there today. He was a threat despite no point production,” Desko said.

Desko also said Orange fans will see many different personnel combinations, including one rather successful one in Palasek and sophomore JoJo Marasco.

As for the Guadagnolo, the senior looked slow on defense, getting beat on Hofstra’s first couple of goals. Ianzito and Coleman didn’t stand out much either at middie, while Gilbert looked decent.

Stephen Keogh, who had 36 points (31, 5) last season, also looked a bit flat despite a goal in both games Saturday. The senior was stoned on the doorstep twice in the Hofstra game on shots he normally would have buried.

“The goalie made some nice saves, but I didn’t really use any fakes, and I shot pretty poorly,” Keogh said. “I’m still kind of used to shooting on John (Galloway), I’m used to his tendencies. When we watch the film, we’re going to see the offensive players with their heads down. We rushed, we just need to take our time.”

Keogh also noted that with the departure of last year’s seniors like Cody Jamison and Chris Daniello, other players will need to step up more.

“I’ll probably need a few more assists too,” he said.

Against Le Moyne the offense somewhat returned to form, scoring eight goals in the first three periods when the starters saw most of the time.

Syracuse will next take the field Thursday at 11 a.m. in an exhibition against No. 4 Maryland. While Desko knows he has a formidable opponent in the Terps looming, he was clear after the two scrimmages on what his team needs to do between now and then.

“It’s simple, first and foremost, we need to take care of what we’re doing on our end, then we can focus on them,” he said.

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