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Syracuse falters against rival Johns Hopkins

The Orange went down early and couldn't climb back to catch the Blue Jays on Homewood Field in Baltimore

The No. 2 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (7-0) flew by the the No. 5 Syracuse Orange (3-2) in Baltimore, 11-7 on Saturday afternoon. Johns Hopkins jumped out to an early 4-1 lead and never looked back. There was even a 20-minute span of time when the Orange didn't score a goal at all. They couldn't get anything going on offense and the defense struggled to stop the Hopkins sharp shooters. 

Here are three thoughts from the game:

1. This team demonstrates shades of the 2007 Orange.

In 2007, the Syracuse Orange went 5-8 and didn't make the NCAA Tournament. It was a reloading year and Syracuse had trouble finding an identity. The team lacked leadership and struggled because of it. After losing so many seniors from last season, the Orange resemble its 2007 version. That year, Syracuse lost to Johns Hopkins 17-9. The next two years, the Orange went on to win two straight national championships. So a down year might just be what this Syracuse team needs to climb back to success. 

2. Face offs and extra man unit are the biggest weaknesses. 

Syracuse continued its struggles at the X today, picking up just 7-of-20. Chris Daddio (6-for-12) and Ricky Burh (1-for-5) both struggled so coach John Desko employed the same strategy as last week, putting in long pole Brian Megill to take a few. That strategy didn't work this week as he went 0-for-2. 

The extra man unit went just 2-for-7 on its chances Saturday and it was a huge momentum killer. Whenever it looked like the Orange was about to get back into the game, it couldn't capitalize with an extra man on the field. There were a few instances where the Orange got a good shot, but most of the time Syracuse wasn't even threatening. That unit needs to be improved if the Orange wants to be successful this year. 

3. Desko found his man in the net.

Desko made a statement today. Goal keeper Matt Lerman struggled in the first half, allowing 7 goals and just saving 1 shot. But Desko decided to leave Lerman in for the second half and the remainder of the game. Even though Lerman didn't have a spectaular performance, Desko stuck with him. I think this will be a huge confidence booster for Lerman and we will see improvement in his game over the next couple of weeks. 

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. 

Three thoughts from SU vs. Virginia

No. 1 ranked Cavaliers score 10 second half goals to hand the Orange its first loss of the season

Syracuse (2-1) led Virginia (5-0) 6-4 at halftime after going on a 4-0 run to end the first half, but the Cavaliers overpowered the Orange in the second half and secured the 14-10 victory at Klockner Stadium. Sophomore attack Derek Maltz scored three goals and registered 2 assists. Tim Desko also had 3 goals, one of them was a highlight-worthy between the legs shot in front of the net that sparked the first-half run. 

1. The defense is starting to click.

Virginia's offense features its fair share of weapons. One of those weapons is 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Steele Stanwick. The senior attack was Brian Megill's assignment today and Megill wasn't intimidated. Stanwick scored just one goal and it was on a defensive switch when Megill wasn't guarding him. David Hamlin and Matt Harris were also dynamic today. The Orange have developed a hard-nosed, physical defense that forces turnovers and features big hits. By the end of the season, this defensive unit has the potential to be special.

2. Can the Orange win faceoffs?

It sure didn't look like they could today. Syracuse won just 8-of-28 faceoffs after having such a great performance last week against Army. The wing play was starting to come around and the Orange was really starting to pick up ground balls. But today, everything changed. Coach John Desko was forced to play two long sticks at the wings in an effort to pick up more ground balls off faceoffs, which impaired them offensively. 

3. Syracuse has no identity between the pipes.

The Orange goalie woes continue. After an incredible first half with six saves, stunting the Cavailers offense, Matt Lerman was given the nod to start the second half. Earlier in the week, coach Desko said he would start sophomore Dominic Lamolinara in the second half no matter what, but Lerman's performance convinced him otherwise. Desko finally thought he had found his man in the net. But in the third quarter, Lerman collapsed and gave up six goals. So in the fourth quarter, Lamolinara came in cold and didn't make a save. One of these two really needs to step up as the go-to guy within the next couple games. 

Orange goes 1-1 in final preseason scrimmages

No. 8 Syracuse beats No. 7 Maryland in friendly scrimmage

The Syracuse men’s lacrosse team mounted a comeback in the final minute of the fourth quarter Sunday to beat No. 7 Maryland 11-9 in the first scrimmage of the afternoon. The Orange then fell to Canisius 11-10 after a Golden Griffin goal with one second left on the clock.

The last time Syracuse played against Maryland was during the quarterfinals of last year's NCAA tournament. The Orange lost in overtime in that game.

On Sunday, Maryland came out firing and scored two goals on goalie Matt Lerman, who played in the first half of the Maryland scrimmage. Goals from Orange midfielders Hakeem Lecky and Luke Cometti tied the game before the Terrapins scored two more to take a 4-2 lead after the first quarter. The final goal of the quarter came with a second left on a desperation shot from 30 yards away, and the Orange finished the quarter down by two.

In the second quarter, Maryland scored two more goals to extend the lead to 6-2. The Orange had five shots on goal but couldn’t find the back of the net. At the half, Lerman took a seat and former Terrapin Dominic Lamolinara took over.  The sophomore transferred from Maryland after his freshman season last year and is excited to wear Orange.

 “I wanted to go to Syracuse before going to Maryland.” he said. “I came up here to visit my junior year, and it was a perfect fit for me. It just didn’t work out [before].”

Lamolinara started off strong and only gave up one goal on five shots in the third quarter. That’s when the Orange offense came to life, with two quick goals from Tim Desko and Collin Donahue. Kevin Rice and Tommy Palasek both added unassisted goals to bring the Orange within one.

Syracuse eventually tied the score in the fourth quarter, but then Maryland scored two more goals to retake the lead with three minutes left. Scott Loy scored and cut the Maryland lead to one. With 49 seconds left, Bobby Eilers scored off an assist from JoJo Marasco to tie the game at 9-9. Rice scored the go-ahead goal with 16 seconds left in regulation to win.

The second-half comeback against Maryland can be credited to good goalkeeping, offensive execution and solid play at the X. The Orange won six of eight faceoffs in the fourth. However, the Terps played the final quarter with mostly backups, so the numbers are slightly misleading.

Head coach John Desko played primarily backups against Canisius and gave the starters a break after a hard-fought Maryland game. The Orange led by as many as five goals in the third quarter, but Canisius went on to score six unanswered goals on their way to victory.

“We’re definitely not in midseason form,” Desko said. “But mentally we’re ready to go, and as coaches, we’re going to spend a lot of time the next couple days watching film and evaluating what we saw on the field.”

The Orange will take the field at the Carrier Dome next Sunday at 2 p.m. for its first regular-season matchup against Albany. 

Lacrosse season begins with two scrimmages

The Orange go 2-0 against Hofstra and Le Moyne

The Orange men's lacrosse team took the field at the Carrier Dome for the first scrimmages of the year on Sunday. The annual exhibition games against both Hofstra and Le Moyne featured a variety of different scorers and gave Orange fans a look at the season to come. In the first scrimmage of the day, the eighth-ranked Orange defeated 14th-ranked Hofstra 7-5. In the second, Syracuse cruised passed Divison II Le Moyne, 11-5.

1. The Orange have a cast of stars waiting in the wings...

After losing so much talent, many expected Syracuse to have a tough time rebuilding this season. But waiting on the sidelines in the shadows of the senior seven last year were a cast of stars that Orange fans will soon know the names of. Sophomore Derek Maltz will be the man on the crease this year. He found the back of the net in both scrimmages today and looks promising as a starting attacker. Another guy to watch out for is redshirt freshman Hakeem Lecky. He scored one goal today in the first scrimmage and it looks like he will be starting on the first midfield line alongside veterans JoJo Marasco and Bobby Eilers

2. A fairly solid defensive performance...

The Orange only gave up 10 goals between the two scrimmages today. Starting on close defense this season will be junior Brian Megill, sophomore Matt Harris and redshirt junior David Hamiln. Megill was named All-Big East second team last season and looks to carry that performance into this year. Harris played in 16 of 17 games last season and Hamlin saw time replacing John Lade when he went down with injury. Overall, it's a good defensive line that will get even better as the season progresses. 

3. Goalie Battle Over?

A few different goalies saw action today but Matt Lerman, the front runner for the position, started each game. Lerman recorded two saves in two quarters of action in the first game, and one save in the one quarter he played against Le Moyne. But it was Maryland transfer Dominic Lamolinara who shut down the Hofstra offense in the third quarter of the first scrimmage. He recorded five saves and looked good in his one quarter of action. Last week at practive, coach John Desko seemed pretty set on Lerman as his keeper, but don't be surprised if Lamolinara sees minutes this season.