Syracuse looks to improve to 5-0 as they travel to Johns Hopkins
The two winningest programs in College Lacrosse history square off Saturday as undefeated number #1 Syracuse looks to remain unbeaten against the 1-3 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. The first road game of the Orange’s season marks the 59th meeting between the two, with the Blue Jays owning the series 30-27-1. With that being said, the Orange are the superior team this year and need to accomplish 2 things in order to come away victorious.
The Orange are looking to improve to 5-0 for the 5th time during the Desko era and the first time since 2016. The two most important areas they need to focus on are in the intangible category. The Orange need to control the ground game and cause turnovers just as they have all year. Additionally, the Orange need to dominate the 2nd half as they have all year.
The Orange have dominated the turnover margin this season, as the team owns 3 of the most prolific turnover creating attackmen. Griffin Cook, Stephen Rehfuss and Jamie Trimboli rank among Division 1’s best at causing loose balls and turning them into attack opportunities. Each has at least 4 caused turnovers with nearly half leading to shot opportunities in the same sequence. Johns Hopkins, likewise, has struggled offensively this season, failing to post 12 goals in 3 of 4 games. The Orange have taken advantage of opponents when they cannot outscore them in the first half, and the Blue Jays will have an uphill battle against the top ranked unit.
Similarly, the Syracuse Orange have dominated opponents in the 2nd half this season, proving why they deserve to be the highest ranked team in the country. The Orange have outscored opponents 42-19(+23 differential) and won every quarter in the 2nd half thus far. When asked about the team’s ability to ‘flip a switch’ in the 2nd half, Brendan Curry had this to say after the Hobart game: “It speaks to the grit with which we play...Our fitness staff deserves credit for their work, and they put us in position to succeed.” In the context of the Johns Hopkins game, the Blue Jays have lost each of their last 3 2nd halves. The Blue Jays average 5.8 goals per 2nd half, and the Orange average nearly double as many shots per 2nd half as Johns Hopkins. If the Orange impose their attack in the 2nd half, they may be too much to overcome.
The Orange have won 6 of the previous 10 outings between these two and look to improve to 54-13(.806) as the top ranked team in the land. Head Coach John Desko should have the troops ready for this matchup as the team takes the field outside the dome for the first time this season.
The winningest programs in College Lacrosse have combined for 21 NCAA titles, and will faceoff at 1 PM Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 3 and can be listened to on TK99/105.