If you watched the Syracuse Orange (1-1) defeat the Army (2-2) on Saturday, you swore you were watching a different team team compared to last week's debacle against Albany. The Orange out hustled, "outphysicaled" and, most importantly, outscored Army 6-2.
Both teams played lights out defensively with the focus on Syracuse's Brian Megill on Army's Garrett Thul. The latter had scored a goal in 42 consecutive games dating back to 2010 before being shut out in the Dome.
"The Syracuse defense as a whole shut down Thul," said the diplomatic Megill. "I think this week we did a much better job at getting on their hands and forcing them to take outside shots."
The Orange defense learned from their mistakes last week and held Army to just 25 shots for the entire game, shut out Army on both extra man opportunities while forcing 13 turnovers. The key stat: the Orange out-hustled the Black Knights in groundball recoveries, winning that battle 34-21.
"We prepped well for this team and we were excited to play," said Syracuse Head Coach John Desko. "We got ground balls all over the field and in a lot of categories I think we had pretty good stats."
The Orange out-shot the Black Knights 44-25 and the reason the goal discrepancy was not larger was because of Army's goalie Sam Somers. Somers finished the day with 18 total saves.
"I thought our scout team gave us a pretty good look all week," said the sophomore Summers. "I think our D was mentally tough today."
The Orange saw six different goal scorers score each of the six Syracuse goals. Derek Maltz recorded his first goal of the season along with Derek DeJoe with Dylan Donahue, Scott Loy, Billy Ward, and Luke Cometti filling in the rest.
Overall, this is what we can expect from the Orange from here on out. Syracuse's defense is one of the best in country and the offense needs time to discover how to feed each other effectively.
The Orange won half of the face-offs but gained superior possession by forcing turnovers in the midfield, a recipe that could finally lead to success. This week's Friday night contest against Virginia will be a true barometer of where the Orange are as team.
Brian Megill should be your favorite Orange. He called one of Army's offensive sets a "Double Mumbo" and interrupted Coach Desko when he was sarcastically asked if Syracuse should play Army somewhere else to avoid hot goal tenders. Megill interjected "Too cold."
3,614 was the official attendance, less than last week's Albany match.
Finally, Cornell had it's "home" opener in the Dome against Hobart. Does that mean Cornell is annexed into the "home game" status.