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Syracuse Refocuses As Villanova Visits The Dome

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The SU lacrosse team had a rare weekend off and it's probably a good thing.  Things are getting a little crazy in the NCAA lax world and cracks continue to show in the old elite's grasp on the sport.

Johns Hopkins?  More like Johns Slopkins (BOOM!).  The Jays dropped to 4-4 and all the way down to No. 16 after getting decimated by No. 1 Virginia.  This is uncharted territory for Hops, who needs to kick it into high gear if they want to avoid their first non-tournament season since 1973.  With their tough schedule, it's not looking good (teeheehee).

The rankings are peppered with a lot of second tier programs who would love nothing more than to make the leap, something one of them is going to have to do sooner or later if we want to see progress in the sport.  Hofstra (4-2) sits at No. 8, UMass (6-2) is No. 9, Georgetown (4-3) is No. 10 and Drexel (7-2) is No. 11.  And how bout Lafayette at No. 13...what the hell is Lafayette and where did they come from? 

Big East team Villanova (5-2) is ranked 15th in this week's poll (one of four conference teams in there) and they'll find out just how much they deserve it tonight when they line up across from the No. 3 Syracuse Orange in the Dome

The Cats got off to a slow start, dropping their opener, but have since pulled it together to win five of their last six.  That includes wins over No. 11 Drexel and No. 20 Fairfield.  It's the third all-time meeting for the two teams and the first in Big East play.  As you can imagine, it's been all-SU so far.

Syracuse is 2-0 all-time against the Wildcats, posting a 19-8 win in the first matchup between the two schools in 1991 and a 21-6 victory in the 2008 season opener. The Orange has outscored the Wildcats 40-14 in the two games and owns an average margin of victory of +13.0 for the series. Monday’s game will be the second pairing played at the Carrier Dome.

SU's Joel White will see a familiar face lining up across from him when he takes the field.  Nova's Brian Karalunas was a rival of his in high school and the two are well aware of each other.  Meanwhile SU's John Lade knows what it might feel like for the Wildcats when they come into the Dome tonight...he used to play for them.   

After the Hobart game, don't expect the Orange to take Nova lightly.  In fact, don't expect them to take anyone lightly from here on out.  The landscape has changed and SU knows it.

"I told them this is a perfect example of you seeing that you’re going to get the best out of every team you play," Desko said. "I had watched Hobart and the guys had watched Hobart on film and I’ve got to tell you, all the players on the Hobart team were a half a step faster, half a step quicker, did better on ground balls, were better in one-on-ones. They just elevated their game for us.

"We’re going to get that out of everybody we play, and we’ve got to be prepared for it. We can’t take anybody lightly. We have to come willing to roll up our sleeves and get after it." reporter Scott Grodsky talked with head coach Villanova Mike Corrado as part of their always-encompassing game preview.