Behind a stingy defense and an explosive offensive showing in the fourth quarter, No. 7 Syracuse took down No. 1 Notre Dame in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic Saturday evening in East Rutherford, NJ. I point out what stood out to me in this impressive win:
Halftime adjustments: The first half against the Irish was, well, like watching grass grow. It was obvious early on that this contest would be a battle of defenses. The Orange had numerous stall warnings issued against them throughout the game, however, I don't think Syracuse was doing it on purpose; the team was just trying to figure out what the Notre Dame defense was all about.
Aggressiveness from the sides and behind the cage were lacking, too, in the first two quarters. I kept yelling at my television screen for senior Jojo Marasco to take it behind and get something started. After all, aside from Kevin Rice, the senior is one of the best at dishing it off to his teammates.
The second half, specifically in the fourth quarter, Syracuse got into its offensive flow. The Orange took advantage of the Irish's miscues on defense and abundance of turnovers. Once the Orange got one, two goals-in-a-row, the confidence started to build.
Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan probably watched tape of the debacle this morning. Those film notes will come in handy next weekend when the two teams link up again in the Big East Conference tournament.
Defense: The Notre Dame defense may have headlined entering Saturday's game against Syracuse, but it was the Orange who got the last laugh, allowing just three shots on goal and one score in the final two quarters. Syracuse goalkeeper Dominic Lamolinara turned away six and for the most part, had a solid game in net.
Kevin Rice: When it comes to the attack position, my eye -- always – goes to two very important statistical categories: goals and assists. I, ultimately, want to see how balanced my attackman is. Does he get his teammates involved? Can he anticipate plays before them happening? When the play breaks down, can he create for himself? All those factors are what I want at that position and Rice possesses all those intangibles.
Alongside Marasco, the two make up for 53 of the 107 total assists. Rice was instrumental in the win, accumulating three assists and finding the back of the net once. The scary thing about Rice is he is only a sophomore and there is always room for improvement. Watch out.
Dylan Donahue: This redshirt freshman is showing a lot of promise early on in his collegiate lacrosse career. Donahue chipped in three scores, all of which came in the fourth quarter, and fueled a six-goal blitzkrieg.
A West Genesee High School lacrosse product, Donahue is a slinky attackman who always seems to be near the goal at the right time. His instincts are spot on, too. I really like the chemistry that is developing between him and Rice as well. The duo will have at least two more years to perfect their craft together.
Hakeem Lecky: It's been somewhat of a transition period for the redshirt sophomore. Last season, Lecky started all 16 games as a freshman on Syracuse's first midfield line, tallying six goals and one assist. This year, Lecky finds himself on the second midfield line with the likes of Ryan Barber and Henry Schoonmaker. The shifty- quick footed midfielder has often been knocked for being one-dimensional, a dodger that may not fit, right now, in Syracuse's off-ball style of offense.
However, in last night's game against the No. 1 team in the country, Lecky stepped up and notched two big goals – one in the first quarter to tie the game up at one apiece and another in the fourth – and showed why he is an important cog on this Orange team.
'Cuse builds resume, beats No. 1 ND
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