SU MLAX head coach John Desko talks Princeton

Since taking over the Princeton men's lacrosse team in 2009, head coach Chris Bates has molded the Tigers into something of his own creation. It's a beautiful thing according to Syracuse head coach John Desko.

"[Chris] has done a good job," Desko said. "He has changed how they play. Princeton had always been a very calculated, kind of a slow tempo offensive team and stingy defensively. The last few years, you have seen an entirely different team. They've been up tempo in their offense and their defense has been very aggressive in the past along with having an All-American goaltender."

That same high powered offense will be on display when the No. 8 Orange takes on the No. 8 (yes, believe it or not, the teams tied in points in the latest USILA Division I Coaches Poll) Tigers on the road this Saturday, April 6, at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

The Orange will embark on its first of two games against ranked opponents, the Tigers this weekend and No. 2 Cornell the following Wednesday.

Scouting Princeton: If there was one question mark for the Tigers it would be its defense. The team lost three key players and goalie Tyler Fiorito to graduation last year. Freshman Matt O'Connor has gotten the majority of minutes in cage, beating out sophomore Eric Sanschagrin.

"We just want to take good shots against their freshman goalkeeper," Desko said, "especially early in the game. We don't want to give him a lot of confidence."

Desko noted that success on the X -- something that has been an Achilles' heel for the Orange as of late -- will be crucial in terms of keeping the ball out of Princeton's sticks.

"We want to put some pressure on that defense because its offense is so explosive," Desko said.

Speaking of that explosive offense, the Tigers are loaded. Junior midfielder Tom Schreiber is one of the most versatile players on this Princeton team. Described as the quarterback by coach Bates, Schreiber has been asked to get it done on both ends of the field this season. The 2012 All-American has 17 goals and 16 assists on the year.

"[Schreiber] is a little bit like our JoJo Marasco," Desko said. "He leads the way. He is a threat with both hands and he can really find the open players on the field. We aren't going to see a midfielder like this every week."

When asked about who will guard Schreiber, Desko suggested that Peter Macartney, a long stick midfielder, may be a better matchup because of how he plays.

"We will get a feel for it as the goes on," he said.

Other notable offensive threats: Freshman Ryan Ambler (10g, 12a), sophomore Mike McDonald (21g, 9a), senior Jeff Froccaro (20g, 6a) and freshman Jake Frocarro (11g, 5a).

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