Three Thoughts: Syracuse vs. Rutgers

The Orange trounces the Scarlet Knights at the Warrior Classic in Charlotte, N.C.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-8, 1-4 Big East) jumped out to an early 2-1 lead against the Syracuse Orange (6-5, 3-1) on Saturday at the Warrior Classic in Charlotte, N.C., but it didn't hold that lead for long. The Orange went on to score 12 straight goals, taking a 13-3 lead into halftime. The second half featured more domination until the last second ticked off the clock. The final score was 19-6. 

Here are three thoughts of the game:

1. Don't get too excited.

Any win is a big for an Orange team struggling to stay above .500. But beating Rutgers isn't something to call home about. The Scarlet Knights have no quality wins this season and no one really expected a big game from a team with just one Big East win. But there are two positives associated with this game. This was a huge confidence booster. Coach John Desko said it himself after the game, it's a big deal headed into an away game at Hobart on Tuesday. The other positive associated with today's game is Desko gained the opportunity to try out a lot of different things. Junior midfielder Matt Pratt got the chance to shine on the extra man opportunities. Sophomore attack Billy Ward showed how great of a passer he is. This kind of stuff doesn't happen during close games. I think Desko now has a better idea of how he will play these guys during the last three games of the regular season. 

2. Can Brian Megill play two positions?

Megill played really well at the faceoff X, winning 8-of-12 draws. It was just the lift the Orange needed after struggling with faceoffs all year. When the Orange does not get possessions, the team doesn't play well. Today, Megill earned SU the possessions and Desko said after the game that he would continue to get chances at the X. But can Megill be as effective at close defense, where he has established himself as an All-American, when he is taking so many faceoffs? What happens when Megill has to guard a high-caliber attack, such as Virginia's Steele Stanwick? I'm not sure he can do it all. But which is more important? I'd rather get those possessions. I'd give up a goal if it means the Orange was going to get two after winning a couple faceoffs. 

3. The Orange has one real challenge left.

Hobart always gives Syracuse a game. But it shouldn't be too challenging of a game this year. Following that game is Georgetown — a team Syracuse should also defeat. Syracuse's final game before the Big East tournament is at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently in first place in the Big East and are No. 6 in the country. Saturday's game, followed by Hobart and Georgetown, give the Orange enough time to work out the kinks for Notre Dame and the postseason. If it utilizes the tune-ups to improve on the little things, Syracuse can make itself a threat to make a run in the NCAA tournament. 

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