The 1-0 Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team is coming off an impressive offensive showing in the season opener — a 21-14 win over Coglate — and may need to replicate the performance this time around as well.
SU will be without All-American defender Nick Mellen, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower body injury. Coach John Desko continually preaches the importance for the Orange to hold strong defensively, but is that the main focus in this contest?
Last week, the Pat March offensive era started off on a great foot with the Orange scoring 21 goals in their season opener. One of the concepts March has installed this offseason is the quick transitions from ground balls to attack. In year’s past, the Orange offense has struggled to advance the ball past midfield at times. In just one game, albeit against Colgate, the Orange demonstrated their ability to make quick transitions to attack and hope to build on that performance.
Binghamton is a defensive-minded program that seeks to play a game in the single digits. All of the Bearcats victories since 2017 have been low-scoring affairs in which the opposition scored 12 or less. In order for them to pull off that feat once more here vs. the Orange, they must also match scores with Syracuse’ potent attack. As you know by now, Syracuse’s offense is led by two players who both appeared among the ACC’s weekly honors: Chase Scanlan and Stephen Rehfuss. If this game turns into a shootout, the Orange would become heavier favorites than they already are.
In the event of a lower scoring game, the Orange will need to see someone step up defensively. With Nick Mellen not playing, redshirt juniors Nick Depietro and Brett Kennedy are seasoned veterans capable of playing solid defense. Both had multiple deflections and a hustle play that lead to an attack in the opener.
With that said, the key to victory for the Orange will be much of the same from last week: Dominate faceoffs. Against Colgate, three-year starter Danny Varello won 15 of 17 faceoffs; a number he looks to repeat. Binghamton lost 15 of 18 Faceoffs in their first outing, and the Orange need to exploit this mismatch. Playing a game in Binghamton’s half of the field allows the team to substitute often, as many player will be used in the absence of Mellen.
No. 5 Syracuse hosts the Binghamton Bearcats at 2 p.m. ET this Saturday in the Dome. You can also catch the game on TV (ACC Network), or on the radio (KRock 94.9/100.9/106.5).