The Syracuse men's lacrosse team avenged its regular season loss to Villanova in convincing fashion en route to a Big East Conference title Saturday afternoon. Lets take a look at what stood out in the 13-9 victory:
Tewaaraton Top 5 nominee: Despite being blanketed by Villanova's John LoCascio, senior Jojo Marasco still made Syracuse lacrosse history, surpassing Paul Gait with the most ever assists by a midfielder (35).
Syracuse coach john Desko mentioned earlier in the year that the senior is playing within himself and making sound decisions on the offensive end.
Marasco certainly deserves to be in the Tewaaraton Top 5 discussion, however, it is likely that frontrunner, Cornell's Rob Pannell, will secure the trophy that goes to the best lacrosse player in the country.
Finding a flaw come playoffs: If one really wants to nit-pick, you could point to the team's up and down struggles at the X. Junior faceoff specialist Chris Daddio redeemed himself against the Wildcats, going 11-for-24 (46 percent). Freshman Cal Paduda took just two reps and went 0-for-2.
Give the coaching staff credit here, after a 2-for-24 performance in the regular season matchup against Thomas Croonquist, they decided to stick with Daddio. Heading into playoffs, this can only bode well for his confidence. The fact that coach Desko and company had faith in him to carry out his job at the X speaks volumes.
Style of play: Watching Syracuse play, you will quickly find out that its not a transition team. The Orange find success in a midfield setting.
The high-tempo, settled offense works best with Marasco quarterbacking from up top and/or sophomore Kevin Rice wheeling-and-dealing from behind. Syracuse incorporated mini picks and screens from behind the crease, too, to try and set up Rice in the big-little game against his defender. An interesting tactic to create space for the sophomore.
Syracuse is not afraid to run-and-gun, though. As pointed out in the last article, 'Cuse overcomes mental test, beats ND; redshirt senior Steve Ianzito has the ability to rev up Syracuse in that aspect.
Man-up opportunities: Syracuse was clicking on all cylinders against Villanova, going 3-for-4 (75 percent) in this statistical category.
Come playoffs, opponents will not only have to play smarter, but pick its poison in terms of defensively scheming against Syracuse. As noted before, the Orange's off-ball movement is executed thoroughly and with precision.
Kevin Rice: The attackman has found his swagger these last couple of games, erupting for five points against Villanova (two goals, three assists). Like redshirt freshman, Dylan Donahue, Rice is an important piece to the Orange's national championship run.
Desko mentioned last week that Rice is an extremely smart lacrosse player who works hard on and off the field. The heady sophomore has great vision and anticipates plays before them happening.
Evaluating the Orange's play against 'Nova
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