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Rough Day In Charlottesville: UVA Downs SU 17-12

Syracuse drops their second straight against UVA in a game which continued to highlight problems across the board for the Orange. Poor clearing, another bad face-off performance and an inability to grab ground balls send Syracuse reeling towards the bottom of the ACC.

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Syracuse fans might recall Rob Pannell who dominated college lacrosse while at Cornell. As it turns out Rob’s got a brother, and he’s pretty darn good at lacrosse as well. James Pannell had an absurd night hitting 7 goals on 7 shots on goal, picking up the hat trick just minutes into the second period. The Orange defense had no answer for him, and continuously gave him too much room to shoot. With 22 goals on the season, it’s a little mystifying how the younger Pannell did not make the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. Of course Mark Cockerton also assisted the freshman, pulling 4 goals for himself.

Before we get into the issues that plagued the Orange, there were some solid individual performances.

Dominic Lamolinara got the start between the pipes again. He found himself in a lot of trouble in the second period against Maryland before being pulled, so this was a sort of redemption game for him. I thought he played well in net tonight, especially considering the barrage of shots he saw. The senior made several point blank saves throughout the game to keep his team within reach. He looked confident for most of the game, with a slight exception in the third period where UVA went on a run. Bobby Wardwell, who usually gets the start in the second half would not have seen the field tonight except for Lamolinara picking up an illegal body check penalty in the 4th quarter for diving into junior attackman Owen Van Arsdale while he was on the ground. Wardwell stayed in for 27 seconds and gave up a goal on 1 shot to James Pannell.

There once was a man from Nantucket… and he was one of the few bright spots for Syracuse tonight. Hakeem Lecky had 4 goals on 6 shots, beating Barrett high every time. Lecky who played for the famed Duxbury High School (Mass) program, and then for Avon Old Farms, showed off his incredible foot work tonight, crossing up his defenders over and over. His stutter step is deadly and on his last goal in the 4th he left UVA midfielder Chris LaPierre spinning before firing top right corner.

The midfielders had a pretty poor showing tonight, however senior Scott Loy did put up a good effort. The Ohio native had 2 goals and made several very nice assist passes, finishing with 5 points on the night.

For those curious about transfer Nicky Galasso, he got significant playing time for the first time this season. Desko has had big expectations for the junior transfer from UNC but it appears he is still getting back into the flow after recovering from an upper body injury. While mostly quiet tonight, he had a few excellent opportunities but with no results, finishing with 4 shots and 2 on net.

Now to the bad… Syracuse had problems all over the field.

It seems that Syracuse cannot escape their face-off woes. I’m not sure "woes" is the right word at this point, the Orange are abysmal so far this year in the face-off circle. Overall they were 7-31 and for those of you doing the math at home that is a .225 winning percentage. Daddio went 5-22 before Coach Desko went to Peter MaCartney to fill the role but MaCartney’s efforts only got him a 1-6 record. Mike Iacono also picked up a win on two face-off opportunities.

SU didn’t help their own cause in the clearing game. The Orange went 15 for 20 on clears and gave up 11 turnovers, several of which were caused by unforced errors. The turnover problems were highlighted in the third period, at one point they coughed up back-to-back clears. Clearing has been a chronic problem this season, SU entered the game with a .859 clearing percentage, so we know that this is not a one game problem. It is not so much the number of fumbled clears, but the timing of them. Going the other way, the transition defense proved to be another sore spot for the Orange. The midfielders continuously had trouble on the UVA fast breaks and clears. Adding to the turnover issues, Syracuse lost the ground ball battle 51-22. We can blame it on the fact that Syracuse plays on turf and this was their first game of the year playing on grass, but really a 29 GB difference is embarrassing.

In terms of shots, SU again found themselves on the short end. UVA led in shots 55-32 and on shots on net 31-17. Mark Cockerton and Pannell each had 12 shots, 8 and 7 on net respectively. The Orange defense allowed them to fire away at will, consistently giving UVA’s top scorers too much room to breath, tempting them score.

A .225 faceoff percentage, a 75% clearing percentage, and being outshot by 23, those are the three important stats from this game. If this team cannot fix their faceoff and turnover problems, they will not win in this league.

Scoring Highlights

SU began the game hot, just like they did against Maryland. Hakeem Lecky started off the scoring for the Orange at 14:12 streaking down the right alley and going high, far-sdie on Matt Barrett. Almost six minutes later, Kevin Rice cut through a seem between Randy Staats and the goal, Staats fed him the ball and Rice found the net; a beautiful offensive play for Syracuse. Throughout the game, Dylan Donahue was matched up with a short stick, but never fully took advantage of the situation. On this occasion, he dodged his defender from the back left corner, behind the cage, sent it to Scott Loy who passed to Schoonmaker who rifled it top right corner; 3-0 SU.

UVA called a timeout and got themselves figured out. Pannell started the game with several shots missing the net, in fact Coach Starsia at halftime mentioned how poor the shooting had been in the first quarter. Pannell finally corrected himself and put his first away with no one guarding him; 3-1 SU. Pannell put another one away standing on the back door of the crease, again relatively unguarded with the SU defense overloaded on the opposite side of the field; 3-2 SU. Cockerton finally emerged with 3:44 left in the period dishing it to Tucker from 20 yards out going low on Dom; 3-3. Syracuse would not lead in the game again. On the fast break transition, senior midfielder Blake Riley grabbed the outlet pass and fired it. Dom had the save but Cockerton picked up the rebound and stuffed it in the net while Dom found himself out of position; 4-3 UVA. UVA had 4 straight goals to end the period.

Pat Harbeson began the second period by sniping one from the top of the box; 5-3 UVA. James Pannell finally notched his hat trick with 11:06 left in the half. He had a great question mark dodge coming from behind the net; 6-3 UVA. After nearly a 13 minute goal drought, Kevin Rice found the net on the extra man opportunity; 6-4 UVA. Pannell, once again, found himself with a lot of room after a slow slide by the long-poles; 7-4 UVA. In the last four minutes of the half, we saw Syracuse goals from Scott Loy and Randy Staats but Ryan Tucker hit Rob Emery for his only goal of the game with 7.6 seconds remaining; 8-6 UVA.

The second half started with a couple big saves by Lamolinara, setting up a nice goal from Schoonmaker at 12:36 as he squeezed one in between Barrett and the pipe; 8-7 UVA. Cockerton snagged another goal after losing his long-pole on the crease. No chance for Dom; 9-7 UVA. Lecky struck again at 9:16, faking out his defenseman and burning Barrett far side high; 9-8 UVA. Staats found the goal for his second, and final, goal on the night when he was left wide open 10 yards out; 9-9. Cockerton allowed UVA to take the lead again following a well executed UVA offensive possession. Cockerton received the pass on the crease, faked out Dom and easily sent it away; 10-9 UVA. Just seconds later long-pole Scott McWilliams found himself running away from the SU defense, headed towards the net on a broken transition play, fired 12 yards out and scored; 11-9 UVA. At the 5:26 mark, James Pannell dodged from behind and wrapped the ball around Dom’s legs; 12-9 UVA. With just under 4 minutes in the period, Cockerton drew the double, sent the ball to Van Arsdale who snuck up along the crease from the X and put it away; 13-9 UVA. SU stopped the bleeding at 1:53 when Lecky came down the alley and went high on Barrett; 13-10 UVA.

Still within reach to start the fourth quarter, Pannell found net while Wardwell had entered the game on the Lamolinara penalty; 14-10 UVA. Scott Loy picked up his second at 11:23, unguarded from high in the box, going high on Barrett; 14-11 UVA. Highly regarded recruit Zed Williams finally scored his first career goal for UVA from deep with a side arm bullet; 15-12 UVA. Pannell scored his last goal at 5:30, effectively sending the dagger to SU; 16-12 UVA. Cockerton notched his 100th career goal on the crease when he picked up a rebound off of a Van Arsdale shot; 17-12 UVA. The final goal of the game.

The Orange will try and get back on track against St. John’s on March 8th at 4 pm. The game will be played in Kennesaw, GA as part of the Cobb County Lacrosse Classic, and can be heard on 99.5 in Syracuse.