Syracuse played best when down a man in its 10-6 win over Notre Dame

first_img Published on April 2, 2018 at 10:39 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] Syracuse head coach John Desko spent much of Saturday’s contest pacing up and down the sidelines with his hands raised, trying to get the officials’ attentions over penalty calls.The opposing end looked like a mirror image. His counterpart, Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan, did the same, except his frustration was due to a lack of execution from his players.“I can’t think of a lot of opportunities where the mistake wasn’t ours,” Corrigan said after the game. “We didn’t execute … (Syracuse) did fine.”One area where No. 8 Syracuse (5-3, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) did more than just “fine” in its 10-6 win against now-No. 12 Notre Dame (5-3, 0-1) on Saturday was in man-down situations. Entering Saturday’s contest, SU ranked 58th in the nation in defending man-up opportunities, giving up goals on 45.8 percent of all chances. On Saturday, the Orange held the Fighting Irish scoreless on eight man-up situations totaling five-and-a-half minutes.“It’s a momentum changer,” Syracuse short-stick midfielder Nick Martin said. “When you get a couple stops it’s almost like a goal.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHeading into the contest, SU volunteer assistant coach Steve Scaramuzzino spent all week going over Notre Dame’s offensive sets in their man-up units. Every day, the five-man unit of Martin, Nick DiPietro, Tyson Bomberry, Marcus Cunningham and Nick Mellen grinded through those sets, Martin said, preparing for UND.On Saturday, after receiving no penalties in the first quarter, the Orange was penalized twice in the second period. The first came on a Jamie Trimboli slashing penalty with the score tied at three with just under eight minutes left in the second period.Once on the man-up, Notre Dame’s Mikey Drake ran out across the middle, 15 yards in front of SU goalie Dom Madonna and fired a shot on the low right post. Madonna quickly dove across the net to save the shot and clear the ball, negating the man-up chance.Seven minutes later, Tyson Bomberry was flagged for unnecessary roughness, his third penalty of at least one minute in the last two games. Syracuse played the last 49 seconds of the half a man down. With the seconds dwindling down and Notre Dame’s top scorer, Ryder Garnsey, closing in on Madonna, defender Nick Mellen deflected the ball, leading to an SU possession.In the third frame, Notre Dame earned two more man-up opportunities. The first ended in a shot wide of the net that Syracuse gained possession on, and the second ended in a crease violation that led to an Orange goal and a 6-5 SU lead.“There were just too many missed plays on our part,” Corrigan said. “Ten could’ve easily been six and six could’ve easily been 12 for us, but it wasn’t. So they win.”What made it so difficult for Notre Dame to score on its extra-man opportunities was Syracuse’s ability to spread out and collapse it’s zone quickly.The five-man unit forced Notre Dame to pass the ball around the perimeter of the zone. The Fighting Irish struggled to create separation from a defender on either side of the crease, and any time a Notre Dame player tried to break the zone with a run or pass through the middle, multiple defenders collapsed to force either a turnover or a rushed shot.One player who SU focused on specifically was Mikey Wynne, as he’s had success attacking the crease, Martin said. The plan was simple. Martin faceguarded Wynne, locking him off from getting the ball and forcing Notre Dame’s other players to beat a four-man zone of Mellen, Bomberry, Cunningham and DiPietro.The Irish didn’t. Of the eight man-up opportunities, four ended in turnovers. Seven of Notre Dame’s nine man-up shots sailed wide of the net.Despite the fact that the penalty numbers shouldn’t have been so lopsided, Desko said, his defense pulled through.“Defensively I thought we were terrific,” Desko said after his team’s win. “We hoped that we could get to double figures and hold them under.”Prior to Saturday, the only team that Syracuse held to under 10 goals was Binghamton in both teams’ season-opener. In that game, the Orange held the Bearcats to four goals. And against Binghamton, Syracuse won 82.8 percent of faceoffs as opposed to 42.1 percent on Saturday. Binghamton is currently 3-9, while Notre Dame entered the Dome as the No. 7 team in the country.Syracuse entered this season with the idea that defense would be its strength. While that hasn’t held true through the team’s first half of the season, against Notre Dame, the Orange found the defensive intensity it’s searched for all of 2018. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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