John Desko Reflects On Loss To Duke: Understands Need For Face-Off Specialist

USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse.com sat down with Syracuse lacrosse coach John Desko, who reflected on this past season and the loss to Duke.

A few days removed from Syracuse lacrosse's disappointing 16-10 loss to Duke in the National Championship Game, head coach John Desko is still feeling the let down, according to an article by Syracuse.com's Zach Brown.

Brown was able Wednesday to sit down with Desko, the man in charge of Syracuse's surprise run to the final, and reflect on a solid season that had a tough ending. The overall theme of the conversation, however, surrounded around the face-off X and how it led to the final loss of the season.

'You don't want to say too much," Desko said. "You don't want to sit there insulting your faceoff guys saying there's a lack of possessions, here's what we have to do. ... The defense was holding up their end of the bargain."

"Of course I do, but even the last game, we threw the kitchen sink at them," he said. "Different faceoff guys and brining poles up. ... It's not like we didn't try different things. We practiced it quite a bit because we know it's something we need to improve."

In his piece, Brown writes SU is already working on developing face-off specialist

Now the faceoff technique is changing. Desko and his staff have decided to join the movement, but only after coming one win shy of beating it with a little more work than usual.

"We're finding that 20 years ago, we used to roll the ball a little bit more," Desko said. "Good players, we'd give them the framework and let them react. Now the game's much more complicated. There's so many more defenses. ... I guess there was more adjusting, which is more coaching."

Despite their flaws at the center of the field, Syracuse was able to overcome it and earn the No. 1-seeded in the NCAA Tournament -- something that didn't seem possible after a loss to Albany and Hobart -- and made it to its first Final Four since 2009. All of this happened because the team didn't let the naysayers get to them, says Desko.

"Your worst fear is that the kids start believing what everybody's saying about them," Desko said. "It's like, 'Man, oh man. This is not getting any easier.' We kept coaching and the kids kept nodding their heads and absorbing it and playing hard. Give a lot of credit to the leadership that they didn't succumb to what they could have."

Syracuse finished the season with a 16-4 record.

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