Syracuse Edges St. Johns in Big East Opener

The Orange lacrosse team scored a goal in the final two minutes of the game to put away the Red Storm.

The Syracuse University men's lacrosse team won a 9-8 thriller against St. John's on Saturday  at DaSilva Memorial Field in Jamaica, New York. It was a cold day in southern New York, but that didn't stop both Orange and Red Storm fans from showing up in full force. The game was close throughout, but the Orange had a slight 2-1 advantage after the first quarter. The Red Storm surged in the second and took a 4-3 lead into halftime, thanks in part to two goals from Kevin Cernuto. The game was tied at 5-5 after the third quarter, and then in the fourth, with 1:25 left, Tim Desko found the back of the net and sealed the Orange victory. 

Here's three thoughts from the game:

1. Kevin Drew is officially back.

Before this season started, many weren't sure if Kevin Drew would take the field this season after offseason trouble with the law. He wasn't seen during the preseason scrimmages or the first two home games against Albany and Army. But last weekend against Virginia, Drew took the field and wasn't much of a factor. This week's game against St. John's was a different story. Drew came out and scored two goals on his only two shots. He also helped the Orange clear the ball. If the goalie or one of the close defensemen can get the ball to Drew, he will singlehandedly clear it. Orange fans should be happy that he's back because he will make a big difference this season. After the game, coach John Desko said he is still catching up on his conditioning but helped in a big way today. 

2. Ground balls and face-offs are becoming an issue.

After starting the season with a couple of solid performances at the X, the Orange seem to have lost it. Last week against Virginia, the Orange struggled, and those struggles continued today. Chris Daddio, the go-to face off guy, got just 3-of-12 face-offs. Ricky Buhr, the backup go-to face-off guy, got just 2-of-5. So coach Desko finally acted and put a long stick, Brian Megill, at the X to take face-offs. Megill was able to win 3-of-4 face-offs and kept the Orange in the game in the fourth quarter. His long stick allowed him to reach further than his opponent and pick up the ball before the wings got involved in the play. But I doubt coach Desko wants Megill taking face-offs for the rest of the season, so this needs to get sorted out as soon as possible. 

3. The Orange are still searching for their identity in net.

Will it be Matt Lerman or Dominic Lamolinara? No one really knows. Neither of them shined today, and the race for the starting job is still a dead heat. Each goalie let four goals in today. Lerman had six saves through the first two quarters, and Lamolinara had two saves through his half. Lerman let by some really easy ones, but Lamolinara wasn't challenged like Lerman was. Either way, the Orange's next opponent is their rival Johns Hopkins, and without a solid goalkeeper, the Blue Jays will be tough to beat. 

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