A little more than three weeks ago, the Syracuse lacrosse team (No. 4, 8-3, 2-3 ACC) fell to the Duke Blue Devils in embarrassing fashion. On that day, the Blue Devils took 30 more shots, recovered 21 more ground balls, won 16 more faceoffs and ultimately outscored Syracuse, 21-7.
But now, that disaster seems like a distant memory. After an in-house meeting, Syracuse has rattled off four straight wins, including three against ranked opponents (No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 6 Cornell and No. 4 North Carolina).
When Syracuse squares off against the Hobart Statesmen (4-7, 3-2 NEC) for the 100th time in the two teams' history on Saturday, it looks to avenge last year's loss of the Kraus-Simmons Trophy (Hobart shocked Syracuse 13-12 last season at the Carrier Dome).
In the meeting of the bitter rivals, the Statesmen can expect a much different team than the one that was blown out in Raleigh.
Here are some things to watch:
Similar to Syracuse with Chris Daddio, Hobart utilizes one faceoff specialist. For the Statesmen, it's number 16, Jake Shapiro. So far this season, he's won 90 of 202 draws (45 percent). For the Orange, Daddio has won 115 of 234 draws (49 percent). Daddio's numbers have been better than that as of late, though. During the four-game win streak, he's won 57 of 98 (58 percent) at the X and in three of the four games, he's won the category. With recent success against national powerhouses, look for Daddio to outmatch Shapiro.
After scoring 13 points in two games, Kevin Rice was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week. Add Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats to the mix and Hobart can't be feeling too confident. The trio propels an Orange offense that ranks 11th in the country in goals scored per game (12.27). Hobart averages more than three goals less than Syracuse (9.00), placing the Statesmen in 50th place nationally. In addition, all three Orange stars have at least eight more points than the highest Hobart point-scorers, Jake McHenry and Cam Stone (T26).
Against Duke, Syracuse Head Coach John Desko split time evenly amongst Syracuse goalkeepers Dominic Lamolinara and Bobby Wardwell. Four games later and he hasn't stopped. Besides Wardwell's extra time in overtime against North Carolina, the keepers have split time right down the middle and it has worked. Hobart takes a more traditional approach of using one goalie—senior Peter Zonino. Zonino recorded 18 saves in Hobart's upset win over Syracuse last season.
Strength of Schedule
According to LaxPower, Hobart's strength of schedule (31st nationally) pales in comparison to the schedule of Syracuse (3rd nationally). That fact, combined with the recent development of Syracuse playing its best lacrosse of the season, doesn't bode well for Hobart's chances in this one.