This edition of Syracuse lax has been all about adjustments; at goalie, on offense, and defense, the team has lost starters and had to replace talented playmakers. That inexperience showed in a tough 14-10 loss to UVA last weekend.
John Desko said this week he was proud of the way his team played Virginia, but could have done without some of the rookie errors.
“We had some freshmen make some mistakes in that one, some redshirt freshman made mistakes, as far as riding and in transition.”
The poor transition game performance was the dagger for SU. As the Orange prepares to face off against St. John’s, sharing the highway with the 30-1 hoops team on the way to New York City, Desko says it will need to take the Red Storm very seriously.
“I expect a hard-fought game from them. I think they have a bad taste in their mouth from last year’s game, with the score the way it was. I know some of their players weren’t happy about that. They’ve played some very good teams, tough this year so far. I know they played Hopkins and it wasn’t a pushover for Hopkins, they really competed in that game.”
Last year SU annihilated St. John’s in the Carrier Dome 20-6. Syracuse has never lost a game in the Big East (now in its third season). Even Dom Lamolinara, a newcomer to the conference, knows what that means heading to Queens on Sunday.
“I believe we’ve never lost a Big East game. Even if it’s one of our last years in the conference, we definitely want to get out there and finish off with an undefeated record. It would be great to not have any blemishes on that record.”
All season long, questions have circulated about SU’s curious habit of switching goalies midway through games, and against Virginia, the swap may have been a reason it lost. Once again, Lamolinara answered questions about what he thought of the goalie position, which he splits with sophomore Matt Lerman.
“I trust these coaches. I mean, they’ve won more national championships than any other coaching staff I’ve ever heard of. They’re going to keep doing the right thing. It’s going to work out in the end, I have no doubt about that. So, whenever we get to that point where they just pick one goalie, I’m sure it will be the right choice.”
Syracuse allowed more goals Sunday (14) than in its last 64 games (playoffs and regular season). However, responsibility for the loss is equally distributed to defense, goaltending, the transition game played at midfield, and the low number of possessions the offense had. Desko spoke about improving in those areas.
“I really think it came down to possessions. We were 8-for-28 on face-offs, so that’s 12 more possessions that [Virginia] had to start with their offense. I’m not so sure it’s that the defense broke down, they just had to play defense the whole period. It really came down to possession time, and we have to get the ball at our offensive end of the field–to give our defense a little break, and to give our offense an opportunity to score goals.”
Sophomore midfielder Drew Jenkins echoed Desko’s sentiment.
“Face-offs are probably the most important part of our game right now that needs improvement. If we fix face-offs and get possession, even 70% of the game, then we’ll really start to pull away from teams, keep that control, and finish games.”
With a Syracuse team that has the pieces to be dominant, Desko says his team will need to be firing on all cylinders to add another win at St. John’s.
“Sure it is [a potential trap game]. St. John’s trying to prove themselves, coming off of a big win against Siena, and for Big East standings also.”
Syracuse looks ahead to face dangerous road trip Johns Hopkins after the Red Storm as it finishes out a three-game stretch away from the Dome.
Posted: Jake Moskowitz