The worst year in major Syracuse athletics continues to get worse. SU dropped its fifth consecutive game and really demonstrated just how far it must go to get back to a relevant level in the ACC. UVA clinched a share of the regular season conference title with the win in the Dome.
Perhaps people thought things would change in the second matchup because the Orange were back at home, a place they’ve played pretty well. That was not the case though, the Cavaliers started the first quarter hot and the third quarter hot to blow by Gary Gait and Company. Let’s roll the film back on this loss.
One of the few bright spots on the day as is typically the case with Tucker Dordevic. The attacker is close to reaching 50 goals on the season, something an SU player hasn’t accomplished since 2015. We haven’t seen the Oregonian do a ton of work from “X.” The converted attacker looked comfortable here though with a couple nice combination moves then a score off of a question mark dodge.
What makes this even more impressive is that Dordevic cooked one of the best on-ball defenders in the ACC in Cole Kastner. Should be interesting to see if the All-American stays at attack or shifts back to midfield next season.
This is going to be a question we ask ad nauseum this week: where is the two slide? Brett Kennedy (11) falls which throws a wrench in stuff but he recovers well enough for Syracuse to still get the stop. Unfortunately, Nick Caccamo (28) is too slow recognizing where he needs to fill the vacant space. As a result UVA punches in a score with great ball movement.
Chalk this one up to miscommunication. Nick Caccamo and Max Rosa (10) are working defensively behind cage. UVA did a great job using eye candy and screens to try and force Syracuse to make quick, decisive decisions. As we know at this point in the year, this defense is not very good at making said decisions. Caccamo should have slid and picked up the dodger here because Rosa was clearly a couple steps behind.
Here’s another case of Syracuse just hurting itself by wanting to play too aggressive. Saam Olexo (48) has struggled in the defensive end all season. In this instance, he’s caught ball watching and loses his man. Against this UVA team, all it takes is one step to get behind and that’s what happens here. Olexo’s assignment catches the pass and scores on a step down shot.
This is egregious lack of execution and communication. Virginia gets a fast break opportunity and it’s exactly as it looks. No SU defenders step up and make the initial slide to stop the ball. Making this move is key in fast break defense, someone needs to play the ball and force the offense to move it around. Nobody spoke, nobody knew what to do and as a result the Cavs get a gift in transition. This is basic fundamental defensive stuff…
Jackson Birtwistle. Get to know the name folks. The redshirt-freshman popped on Saturday leading this SU team with five goals. On this play and throughout the game he flashed his elite catch and shoot ability. The attacker excels with speed in not only his shot but his release. The ball is in and out of his pocket in the blink of eye which is extremely valuable. Perhaps he could start at attack next season with Owen Hiltz and incoming Joey Spallina?
This just simply cannot happen. If you ever wonder what disorganization looks like, look no further. Against a top 5 team in the country, in your penultimate game of the season, mistakes like this just can’t happen. When the ball is out of play, figure out who has who, there can’t be a wide open man ten yards from cage.
Syracuse really struggled with UVA’s two-man offense behind goal. It just doesn’t make sense why these lapses happen. The only thing that comes to mind is that Dave Pietramala, SU’s DC, is handcuffing his players and forcing them to no switch and cover specific players.
This is apparent here because Nick Fratterigo (25) has to run a lot more than he should have too. He’s working with Carter Rice (12) who could have easily switched and picked up the dodger. Instead, the pair doesn’t switch and the UVA attacker uses Rice as a screen to get his hands free and score.
Look there are like ten more plays we could go over this week but let’s not waste our time. This defense was been horrific against offenses with an actual pulse this year. Yeah it was year one under a new coaching regime and the talent cupboard is quite bare. However, this unit GOT WORSE from last year and progressively worse throughout the season. Basic stuff like fundamentals just clearly aren’t understood. This side of the ball has a LONG way to go before it gets respected in the ACC.