When trying to analyze a lacrosse team’s statistics the first place one should look is to face-offs. Having possession of the ball is so critical in lacrosse that face-offs can separate the good teams from the great teams. The Orange have been propelled to the number one ranking in the country due, in large part, to their new face-off specialist, Ben Williams.
Williams is in his first year with the Orange after transferring from Holy Cross. In his freshman season Williams won 53% of his face-offs. This season, he is a new player at a new school winning 71.4% of his face-offs through the first five games of the season.
Williams’ dominance was most evident in the win over then #5 Virginia. He won 15 out of 19 draws over the course three quarters as he left the game early in the fourth with a minor arm injury. When he left the game the Cavilers had four goals and at the end of the game they had nine goals.
It is not a coincidence that the Orange struggled to shutdown the Virginia offense once Williams left the game. Williams’ ability at the “X” allowed the Orange to dominate the first three quarters and took the pressure off the Syracuse defense and Bobby Wardwell because the Cavs almost never had the ball.
Williams stepped up again in the Orange’s trip to Kennesaw, Georgia on Saturday. Syracuse found themselves facing a multi-goal deficit against St. John’s for the first time this season as they were held off the scoreboard in the first quarter. After the lead was stretched to 4-0, the comeback began and it began with Ben Williams.
Williams won all three of the face-offs in the second quarter and at halftime the lead was cut to 4-2. In the second half, Williams won nine of the fourteen draws and the Orange poured it on offensively en route to a 14-6 victory to improve to 5-0.
This Syracuse team has the potential to be truly special. With Williams at the “X” and the leadership of Kevin Rice, Dylan Donahue and Bobby Wardwell the Orange have the chance to add to the collection of eleven National Championships.
Posted: Logan Grossman