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Big City Collapse: 3 Takeaways from Syracuse’s 2nd Half Stumble Against Duke

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Syracuse lax has officially established a trend this season: the Orange struggles when it messes with its uniforms. Though the ’01 throwbacks reminded us all of the Golden Powell Age, the team wearing them played a game the first family would have frowned at. In a 12-10 loss to Duke at the Big City Classic, SU’s struggles continued.

Syracuse (4-4) fell even though you couldn’t necessarily point to a hangover effect from last week’s defeat at the hands of Villanova. The Orange played a much better game than what unfolded on the field. Here’s The Fizz’s top takeaways:
  • SU’s offense has changed
We saw it last week against the Wildcats, and again this week in East Rutherford – Syracuse has changed its offensive strategy in a major way. The Orange has moved from a style where it sets up crease attacker Derek Maltz in the center to an emphasis is on taking longer-range shots.

 

The original pattern is not entirely gone. Tim Desko found Luke Commetti once in the middle, and there were a few beautiful offensive sets in transition, sparked by defensive stops and clears. For the most part, though, shots came from at least 15 yards out. When you win a game shooting those long range bombs, it’s all good. But when you lose it’s tough to swallow, especially since the Orange got good looks from that distance. At least that’s what attacker Tommy Palasek (4G, 1A) said afterwards.
“We got great looks at the cage, and we just hope we’ll get those looks late in another game.”
Palasek, who had a banner afternoon, had a late chance to tie things up at 11 with just over four minutes to go in the game.
“I didn’t change my plane. I faked high, and shot to the nearside pipe. If I could do it again, I’d probably fake high and shoot it low, and maybe it’d be a goal.”
Meanwhile, Maltz was as absent on the field as he was in the press conference. He had been a stud early in the season, but this marks two weeks in a row Maltz has been a non-factor. SU’s offense was efficient and active, winning the face-off battle more often than Duke throughout the game. That’s something you can’t say for most games this year, and an impressive feat especially playing a team with the talented C.J. Costabile. But the SU offense didn’t create enough. Syracuse took just 29 shots through the afternoon compared to the Dookies’ 42.

 

The scariest part about the loss? SU’s superstars had career games. Palasek was enormous, and Desko had a huge showing, posting a 4-point game with 2 goals and 2 assists. But through 8 games of a 14 game season, does Syracuse at .500 have the raw talent to compete with the elite? Suggesting Syracuse has a lack of impact players on offense is normally sacrilege, but one begins to wonder what the tournament outlook for this team really is.
  • Goaltending Inconsistency
The Orange has finally gotten in the groove of starting sophomore transfer Dominic Lamolinara in net. Starting his 2nd consecutive full game, DL had highs and lows.  First, the bad news from Lamo:
“Obviously I didn’t play well enough to get the win. I’m still just trying to get some experience. That was a great game for it, a great atmosphere, a lot of people there, it got loud at times so talking was struggling. I think all in all the defense gave me the shots they needed to give me, and I just need to make some more saves and get some more wins for this team.”
Now for the good news: outside of a second quarter debacle in which he allowed six goals, Lamolinara had a good 1st, 3rd, and 4th quarters. He made some impressive point blank saves and kept SU in the game until the very end.

 

Is it Lamolinara’s fault that he’s “still just trying to get some experience?” It’s an interesting question, given the SU coaches’ indecisiveness in net through the first quarter of the season. What’s done is done; but the harsh reality is that the guy who seems to be SU’s starting goalie is still adjusting to full games while the season is more than halfway over. It doesn’t bode well for Syracuse’s tournament chances.
  • Syracuse Left it All on the Field
One of biggest reasons this loss hurt was SU gave everything it had and still came up short. on the field. When the Fizz spoke to locker room leader Brian Megill last week, he said this game would have to be the turning point for his team. One thing all four representatives in the press conference agreed upon was that the team laid it all on the line. Coach?
“I think we played with a lot of heart today. We played with a lot of energy and I was happy with our effort.”
Unfortunately as we all know, D1 lacrosse doesn’t hand out national championships for trying hard.  he revved up start did make a difference for Tim Desko, though.
“I think we came out fired up as best we could, we did a lot of stuff to work on the energy before the game, and we came out hot.  I mean, we didn’t play a perfect game, we played a really good game.  There’s just a couple of things that could have turned the game around.  I’m proud of the team today, and it’s hard to lose, but we’ll get the next one.”
Syracuse fans certainly hope they will. Now at just .500, SU faces Ivy foe Princeton next week at the Dome, and elite lacrosse relevance is on the line for a school that has been the best for so long.

 

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

 

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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