MLAX : Orange defense smothers talented Denver attack

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Three minutes. That’s how long Denver’s first possession lasted.Three minutes of almost no offense.The Pioneers made a couple of runs at goal, but the advances were quickly cut off by Syracuse’s help defense. It was mostly cycling the ball around the zone, hoping something would open up. Junior midfielder Patrick Rogers finally tried a shot as he pivoted for a little space, but it sailed high.Denver retained possession, but junior Alex Demopoulos’ pass on the restart bounced off his teammate’s stick and was scooped up by SU defender Tom Guadagnolo.Syracuse took over, and Denver had nothing to show for its three minutes of possession.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat’s how most of the day went for the Denver offense as Syracuse went on to a 13-7 win. The seven goals equaled the Pioneers’ lowest-scoring output from last year. The Orange held Demopoulos, Denver’s leading scorer last season, to just one shot and an assist.The Pioneers failed to score more than two goals in any quarter.‘I thought the defense picked up where they left off last year,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘They did a very good job of understanding who the personnel were on the field.’Denver struggled to get good looks all game, putting only 16 shots on target. They also coughed the ball up 15 times.‘We did it to ourselves,’ Pioneers head coach Bill Tierney said. ‘Every time we got the ball, we seemed to throw it away. We just weren’t patient enough.’But when Denver wasn’t turning the ball over, Syracuse shut down its best scorer in Demopoulos.Senior defender John Lade covered him all game and gave him no room to work, even without the ball. Lade said he worked in practice all week on keeping an eye on his man rather than the player with the ball, and it worked well Sunday.‘He’s a very good off-ball player,’ Lade said. ‘I just tried to keep my head on a swivel and watch him off ball as much as possible. I was surprised they didn’t give him the ball to dodge because I think he’s probably one of their best dodgers.’Syracuse dominates XThroughout Sunday, Syracuse rarely struggled in faceoff situations behind midfielder Jeremy Thompson.The Orange won 17-of-24 faceoffs against Denver, including 3-of-3 in the second quarter and 7-of-8 in the third.‘I thought they won some early and thought we adjusted,’ Desko said. ‘Jeremy Thompson did a very good job for a stretch to keep the possessions after goals in Orange sticks.’Thompson’s consistent faceoff victories over Denver attack Michael Pirone gave Syracuse plenty of opportunities to go on scoring streaks. For much of the game, Denver struggled to get the ball back into its offensive zone as a result of that.Pioneer head coach Bill Tierney said Pirone, a freshman, only began taking faceoffs last Monday. Tierney said it wasn’t an excuse but an explanation as to why Denver was beat 17 times in faceoff situations. Taking the lack of experience into consideration, Tierney said he felt his team did a good job in those situations.‘He was our best guy for that job,’ Tierney said. ‘I thought we did a good job. … It is what it is.’Desko’s ‘ridiculous’ goalJovan Miller thought there was no chance for a shot, let alone a score.The senior midfielder watched as teammate Tim Desko caught a pass on the crease and took a big hit from a Denver defender that sent him flying through the air. With his body parallel to the Carrier Dome field, Desko figured he had only one option.‘I cut through the crease, and that was my only shot,’ he said. ‘So I put it behind my back and hoped it went in.’As he fell to the turf, the redshirt junior attack flicked a shot behind his back that beat Denver goalie Jamie Faus to put SU up 12-5 in the third quarter.And Miller had just one word to describe the goal.‘Ridiculous,’ he said. ‘I didn’t think he could get a shot off, and the fact that he was pretty much airborne and just threw it behind the back was ridiculous.’zjbrown@syr.educjiseman@syr.edulast_img

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