It is rivalry time for the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team.
The high-flying Hobart Statesmen will visit the Carrier Dome on Friday with the Kraus-Simmons Trophy on the line. Syracuse has won 31 of 34 meetings since the beginning of the trophy days between the Orange and Statesmen.
Both programs will enter the matchup undefeated and coming off their biggest respective victories thus far. Hobart leads the nation in scoring, posting at least 20 points in every game. Meanwhile, Syracuse has been dominant in all facets of the game, showcasing why they are ranked number three nationally. For what may turn into a shootout, here are the three things ‘Cuse must take care of to win this weekend.
The first order of business for Syracuse is to limit the amount of offensive chances for Hobart. One of the ways Hobart has decimated their opponents this year is by playing the majority of game time in opposing territory. In their previous two outings, Hobart has outshot their opponents by nearly double in the first half, helping them gain control of the game. Syracuse, conversely, has started rather slowly, being out shot in the first half of by Army and Colgate. Syracuse needs to play with an edge for the full 60 minutes, as Hobart will aim to gain control from the opening faceoff.
Secondly, the Syracuse mid-field needs to continue dominating. SU features arguably the most explosive faceoff duo in the country, with Jakob Phaub and Danny Varello leading the charge. The duo has won 62 of 83 faceoffs this season, helping Syracuse control the ball and putting them in position to win. Both of the two excel in different faceoff matchups and need to continue to do the same. The counterparts that they will run into for Hobart are Adam Shea and Drew Blanchard. Expect Varello to lineup against Shea because both have the quick-twitch tendencies to attack, while Phaub and Blanchard seek to grind out matchups and outlast the other. Hobart has won just over 55% of their faceoff opportunities, a number that favors Syracuse.
The final thing Syracuse must do to win tomorrow is return to their offensive formula that led to quick scoring bursts. While the 11th-ranked Orange defense can hold Army to just seven points, this game may take 15 in order to win. Two of the Orange’s impact players were held scoreless against Army as Chase Scanlan and Stephen Rehfuss were held in check. This time, however, the offense needs to press early, and allow Scanlan and Rehfuss to pick apart the weaker defensive unit of Hobart. The Statesmen lead the nation in scoring, but if Syracuse can limit their turnovers and convert the set plays they missed against Army, they will be in great shape to stay undefeated.
The Orange’s final game in the Dome this season (thanks, construction) will begin Friday at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on the ACC Network or listen to it on TK99/105.