Syracuse flexed its muscle (however small or large it may be) in a 14-9 win over Stony Brook. SU and Stony traded blows in the first half much like they did in 2021, but things changed after halftime. The Orange outscored the Seawolves 5-1 in the third quarter to breakaway to a five goal win.
The victory marks the 67th consecutive time in which Syracuse has won a game while holding an opponent under ten goals. So the defense was impressive down on Long Island and the offense impressed as well behind some big individual performances. Where did SU show improvements? What still needs to be better? Let’s roll the film and discuss.
This is how the SU offense will take the next steps. Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry are ELITE and show up with their “A-games” every time they take the field. Why are they so good? They can create their own offense. Now what if they took that one step further and found opportunities to create offense for their teammates? This would allow the Orange to play TEAM offense, something we haven’t seen enough of on a consistent basis.
Gary Gait was pleading for more of a “dodging to pass” mindset from guys like Dordevic heading into this game. Well that’s exactly what Dordevic was doing here. The attacker draws the slide and pinpoints the open man as a result of the help defense. This allows Mikey Berkman (someone who can’t create his own shot) to get an open shooting lane and make an impact.
Dordevic just demonstrated his distribution abilities which he is still fine tuning. Here you get a glimpse of his natural goal scoring trait. Now, the Oregonian is far from a one-trick pony but he loves this little spin move. The Tewaaraton Award Watch Lister cradles in his left, creates separation, and opens up some space to rip a right-hand shot off of the tornado.
Some of the elite level defenders in the ACC may pick up on this dipsy-doo by watching film, but the thing with Dordevic is it may not matter. The former midfielder can play with either hand proficiently so perhaps he can set up shots for himself using this move as a decoy.
We haven’t really seen Brendan Curry invert the offense that much this year. Typically Griffin Cook takes the ball to “X” and dodges against a short-stick midfielder. Why is this usually the case? Well because opposing defenses are smart and try to lock off the three-time All-American with a long pole. In the few instances that the Tewaaraton Award Watch Lister gets a short-stick mismatch, he needs to take it and this play depicts why.
Curry deploys the nastiest split dodge of the season and leaves a former Virginia Cavalier in Chris Merle in the absolute dust. The Calvert Hall product uses the same move in the alleys against long-stick defenders, clearly it carries over from behind cage. Syracuse could maybe do a little more motion stuff to try and draw that mismatch the same way you would in basketball. And again, if Curry gets an SSDM on him, that’s an automatic green light.
Play 4 & 5
A few things to hash out here. The first play you see is Dylan Pallonetti narrowly missing a step-down shot. Now this shouldn’t even have happened. Keep an eye on Brett Kennedy (11) in the stages leading up to the pass and shot. The experienced defender is playing way to loose off of Pallonetti (who is Stony Brook’s best player) and he’s ball watching. These are things we’ve mentioned in previous weeks about Kennedy and this defense as a whole.
Syracuse ultimately didn’t get away with it because Stony Brook would score on the ensuing play. Nick Caccamo (28) does a spectacular job ushering Kevin Mack (4) to the alley and take away any chance at a shot. Keep your eyes on the crease though, there’s an SU defender just standing in front of Bobby Gavin (GK) covering nobody. Why is this a problem?
Well obviously because he leaves his man (the goal scorer) wide open. Additionally, there are no Seawolves on the crease, they’re in an open offensive set. This means the Orange defense should be sliding adjacent and not from the crease. So what purpose is Landon Clary (30) serving? The LSM is not supposed to be the one sliding if Caccamo gets beat. To be fair, Clary hasn’t played much this year but still this a defensive fundamental.
This is a routine defensive breakdown. Kevin Mack (4) forces and adjacent slide in the near alley from Kennedy. This leaves the ever so dangerous Pallonetti uncovered. Before we get to the 2 slide (or lack thereof), there was no reason for Kennedy to slide. Mack was not that big of a scoring threat here if at all. Caccamo had a whale of a game and is definitely the best on-ball defender this squad has. The simple solution here is to not slide when you don’t need to.
However, Kennedy did slide which means Syracuse needed to rotate with that 2 slide which never came. In this situation, the next closest defender, Brandon Aviles (43), should have met Pallonetti. Think of this movement like a string, when Kennedy goes someone needs to follow. When Aviles goes, someone needs to fill his spot. Instead, SU left Gavin out to dry by allowing the America East Conference’s best attacker to get a free look on cage from ten yards out and of course he buried it.
It’s a crime if a short-stick defensive midfielder gets matched up against Dordevic. The redshirt-junior notices the “mouse in the house” and calmly saunters to “X.” The converted attackman flashed his passing ability again and dipped into the pool of chemsitry he has with Curry. Notice (16) on the bottom of your screen begging for the rock. Dordevic sees it, dishes it, and allows his former linemate to take care of the rest.
Owen Seebold attempted this move from behind cage several times during this game. The results were mixed, this was the only situation that he cashed in on. Stony Brook’s goalie Anthony Palma was a brick wall between the pipes. The takeaway here is that Seebold needs to do more of this to create his own offense. This seems like a skill the Dallas native has mastered based on the confidence he has to use it several times during each game.
The main points this week are that the defense is definitely improving thanks to Nick Caccamo, but there are still fundamental things that need to be cleaned up. On the offensive end, we saw some stuff we had yet to see this season. If Dordevic can set up his teammates, this offense can reach more elevated heights.