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Lacrosse Weekly - 3/5/09

It was a great effort, but just too short.
You could not ask for a better showcase and game last Friday in Syracuse. You had #1 versus #2, and on top of that it was Syracuse versus Virginia. One of the best, if not the best, lacrosse games every season. Heading into this game Syracuse had the last laugh, beating them in a second overtime period in the national semi-final game last season, which vaulted Syracuse to the National Championship. Virginia went home bitter. They had their revenge unfortunately in the Dome, but it was a game that any lacrosse fan can appreciate. Syracuse loses in a close one in front of a huge crowd (16,595) 13 to 12.

This game was close for the majority of it. Virginia got off to the early lead with a goal within the first minute of play. It then went back and forth in scoring, ending at the half with a four to four tie. Then Virginia opened up the third quarter with three goals in a row, and six goals in the quarter, while Syracuse only earned two. But this game was by no means over. In the last five minutes Syracuse scored four goals, to pull within one. Syracuse had a chance with about a minute left to get a score, but some bad passes created a turnover, and that allowed Virginia to run out the clock and come away with a narrow victory over Syracuse. In general, Syracuse looked sloppy in this game, making some genuinely bad mental mistakes, while Virginia looked sharper and more intense and focused. Syracuse certainly is an offensive juggernaut, but the passing fundamentals need to be sound when you are playing the best team in the nation, and mental mistakes need to be few and far between. This was sadly not the case for Syracuse, even though they rallied to make this a game.

Kenny Nims was the leading scorer for the Orange with four goals. #22 Dan Hardy and Georgetown transfer Scott Kahoe added two a piece as well. Josh Amidon led Syracuse with two assists, half of the total four assists Syracuse had on their 12 goals. Ground balls were distributed fairly even, but Joel White led Syracuse with four. Syracuse struggled at the face off X. Jake Moulton, who is taking most of the face offs, had an alright day winning six of 14. Tim Harder won one of three, while Josh Knight won two of four. Scott Kahoe won a pitiful three of eight however. John Galloway made 13 saves and allowed 13 goals in 60 minutes of work. At times he looked brilliant, stonewalling some point blank shots, but other times he looked like he played for UMass, allowing several soft goals and several in a row.

For the first time all year, and the first time in several games, Syracuse had fewer shots than their opponent. Virginia took 49 shots, while Syracuse took 34. Syracuse picked up 31 ground balls overall, while Virginia only grabbed 27. One of the key issues was face offs, and Virginia won 17 of 29, while Syracuse only had 12. This led to a far greater time of possession for Virginia than Syracuse had. Where have you gone Danny Brennan? Come back DBren! Virginia cleared 20 of 22, while Syracuse cleared 23 of 26. Syracuse for the first time all year allowed an extra man goal. Virginia converted on one of two chances, while Syracuse converted on one of four Virginia penalties. Finally, Syracuse had 13 saves, while Virginia had ten. The complete box score can be found here.

Syracuse, by losing this game, ends up #2 in both the coaches’ poll (found here) and the Inside Lacrosse media poll (found here). They are both behind Virginia, who is the unanimous #1 team in the nation, and is not the odds on favorite for the National Championship. Virginia earned all first place votes in both polls, and Syracuse earned all but one second place votes, which was given to North Carolina in the coaches’ poll. I do not think at this point there is any doubt that it is Syracuse and Virginia in the top two spots, then a gap, and then #3 and beyond.

Other notable scores from the past week of lacrosse:

Saturday February 28:

Johns Hopkins 8 – Princeton 14

Dartmouth 7 – Notre Dame 19

Towson 11 – Air Force 9

Hobart 8 – Providence 6

Yale 6 – Massachusetts 18

Rutgers 7 – St. Joseph’s 10

Georgetown 9 – St. John’s 10

Colgate 9 – UMBC 13

Duke 8 – Maryland 11

Pennsylvania 7 – Villanova 14

Cornell 9 – Army 8

The complete scoreboard can be found at Inside Lacrosse here.

Sean at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician posted an article recently about how the future Big East lacrosse teams are doing, and they are doing pretty well. That is good news as I was one of the biggest skeptics of this new lacrosse league. As stated previously, I thought it was great for the sport, but not a great move for Syracuse. Either way it is happening, so it will be interesting to see how these teams grow and improve heading into next season.

Syracuse will next play #11/12 Georgetown (1-1) Saturday March 7th at 12:00pm. It should be a decent game to watch, and chances are Syracuse will bounce back and earn another win. I am sure veteran Hoya Hater and lacrosse buff Matt Glaude at Hoya Suxa will weigh in on the affair, so look for that on his site. We did lose but do not fret too much. If you watched you saw a fantastic lacrosse game, and I have a feeling these two teams will meet again before the season is over.

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