Syracuse's last game luckily ended with a win in overtime. While it was partly due to the bad weather in Geneva on Tuesday, and Syracuse running into an absolutely brilliant goalie's performance, Syracuse seemed to take a gritty Hobart team too lightly despite being ranked #3/2 and Hobart was unranked. There was a worry that Syracuse would do the same to Villanova, or even just play flat like at Hobart. Neither things happened. Syracuse came out and played a fantastic game in all facets under the Carrier Dome roof. Syracuse blows away Villanova in their very first Big East Conference game 20 to six.
Villanova actually started the day off by scoring first. But then Syracuse went on a three goal run. Villanova added another to keep it close before Syracuse added two more to finish the first quarter up 5-2. Syracuse then added two more goals before 'Nova scored again. The Orange scored twice again before Villanova added one. Then Syracuse scored with two seconds left at the half in another fantastic possession. Syracuse then scored five more goals in each quarter and limited 'Nova to one in each to finish up 20-6. Syracuse faced a fairly tough defense despite the score. Syracuse overcame defense by nifty passing from behind the cage, good ball movement, and of course scoring in unsettled situations. Additionally there were two sensational behind the back goals from Cody Jamieson and JoJo Marasco. Jamieson is quickly becoming a one man highlight reel and has the goal of the year and this magnificent goal. Marasco also hit the big behind the back goal streaking across the front of the crease. Syracuse was also brilliant in picking up groundballs and preventing easy shots on the goal. They dominated the face off X, time of possession, and doing the dirty work on the field, making it impossible for Villanova to keep up or even make a comeback.
Two Syracuse players had hat tricks. Both Jeremy Thompson and Stephen Keogh each had three goals. Additionally Thompson had five points on the day. JoJo Marasco had four assists and one goal, leading in assists and also earning five points on the day. Joel White continues to be one of the most valued Syracuse players, picking up six groundballs on the day. While Syracuse does not have a faceoff specialist this season, Jeremy Thompson continues to be excellent at the X, and as a bonus typically scores one from the faceoff. He won 7-9 on the day, while Gavin Jenkinson won 8-11. Additionally Josh Knight took his first faceoffs of the season and won 4-8. John Galloway had six saves on the day in the win, and Al Cavalieri, who played the entire fourth quarter, had one save.
Syracuse dominated Villanova in many statistical categories in this game. No surprises there. Syracuse shot 47 shots to 'Nova's 21. The big statistic of the day was Syracuse picked up 44 groundballs, while 'Nova only had 21. The Orange won 19/29 faceoffs, while the Wildcats only won 10/29. Villanova only managed to clear 19-26 due to the Syracuse ridding defense and great play from the midfield. Syracuse however was perfect on the day, clearing 21-21. Villanova was 1-4 on extra man opportunities on the day, and Syracuse was 1-2. Villanova had 12 saves among their two goalies that played, while Syracuse again had seven total. Finally, Villanova had 21 turnovers caused by tenacious Syracuse defense and rides, while Syracuse themselves only had 12. The complete box score can be found here.
Syracuse before this game found themselves still ranked #3 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll behind Virginia and North Carolina and still #2 in the Coaches Poll by one point ahead of North Carolina and behind Virginia. This is the same as the week before. As long as both Virginia, North Carolina, and Syracuse continue to win this will probably be the case. North Carolina is sitting impressively with a 9-0 record, while Virginia is #1 and also 9-0.
There were obviously some great games this past weekend. The notables are below, along with Big East member games in italics.
Saturday March 27:
Johns Hopkins 6 - Virginia 15
Rutgers 10 - Notre Dame 8
Duke 15 - Georgetown 10
Ohio State 10 - Quinnipiac 8
Princeton 7 - Yale 6
Bucknell 6 - Albany 7
Hofstra 9 - Massachusetts 11
Cornell 12 - Penn 6
Providence 9 - Siena 11
Hobart 5 - Fairfield 14
Jacksonville 17 - Robert Morris 18
St. John's 11 - Penn State 13
Maryland 7 - North Carolina 9
Navy 10 - Colgate 9 in OT
As always, the complete scoreboard can be found here at Inside Lacrosse.
Now, as we like to, let's take a look at the Big East Standings, as Villanova played their first ever Big East game. Sadly it was against Syracuse.
1. #3/2 Syracuse 6-1 (2-0)
2. ARV/ARV Rutgers 5-2 (1-0)
3. #10/13 Georgetown 4-3 (2-1)
4. #18 Notre Dame 5-3 (0-1)
4. #15/17 Villanova 5-3 (0-1)
6. St. John's 3-5 (0-1)
7. Providence 0-6 (0-1)
Pretty much every team in the conference is good except for Providence. Villanova found themselves ranked facing a great Syracuse team, but they are pretty good overall. Notre Dame is a good squad but have hit a skid as of recently. Georgetown is by all accounts good, but have not seemed to be able to win a big game this year to bring them to the upper tier of teams on the year. So far, halfway through Syracuse's season, it is their league to lose. Not that there is an automatic bid to the tournament on the line. Either way though, as Syracuse's mantra has been through the years: Winning takes care of itself.
Syracuse next faces Albany (1-6), a team that has been good the last few years, but have fallen on hard times as of late. The Great Danes' only win is over Bucknell, while they have losses against Massachusetts, Siena, and Denver. This should be another cake walk in the Carrier Dome for Syracuse, but again you can't look past them like Hobart. However, it should be a very easy game. Then it gets more difficult for Syracuse, heading to the Meadowlands to play Princeton again in the Big City Classic, Cornell in Ithaca, and Rutgers in New Jersey. This will not be an easy stretch for the Orange, but there should be some exciting lacrosse coming up. On the year it appears that Virginia, Syracuse, and North Carolina should find their way to Baltimore in May, but the battle for that fourth team seems to be wide open.