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Syracuse men's lacrosse vs. Holy Cross preview

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This is the final tune-up before ACC play resumes next week.

Army v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Welcome to the madness Syracuse Orange fans!

Okay, so lacrosse’s version of madness doesn’t start for a couple months, but after Buddy Boeheim and the men’s basketball team got crazy in their win over San Diego State last night, the men’s lacrosse team will try to keep the good vibes rolling today as they host the Holy Cross Crusaders.

The first ever meeting between the programs is one that wasn’t even scheduled until Tuesday when SU announced it as a replacement for the original game against Hofstra, who’s currently on COVID pause.

The game will be televised on ACC Network at Noon, so tune in to check out the team in their final game before we get back to the ACC gauntlet.

So, what do we want to see from the boys in this one?

Offense

The offense has been straight-rolling since the Army game, scoring 20, 17, and 17 during the three-game win streak.

It’s the first time since 2004 that ‘Cuse has scored at least 17 in three straight games. If they do it against Holy Cross, it’ll be the first time since 1995 that they do it in four straight games.

They’ve been successful in a variety of ways with a variety of players. Redshirt senior Stephen Rehfuss is leading the charge with 21 points (5.25 per game), but the guy to keep an eye on right now is true freshman Owen Hiltz.

After coming off the bench against Army, Hiltz has emerged and is averaging 5 points per game in his three starts. He’s making an impact in every way possible: shooting, passing, and riding as he shows SU fans just how special he is.

Defense

Mostly we just want to keep things as clean as possible on this end of the field. A Holy Cross team that is averaging below 10 goals per game provides an opportunity for the defense to get some confidence heading into next week’s matchup with Duke.

We want to see stronger play from the off-ball defense, the unit communication, and the short-sticks in their individual matchups...basically all the parts of the defense that have been suspect so far this season.

If those deficiencies aren’t cleaned up against the Crusaders’ offense, we may be in trouble moving forward...

Clears

After shockingly having only one failed clear in the first game against Army, the Orange have failed 14 times on clears in the last three games. Thankfully, those failures haven’t impacted the final scoreboard, but it’s unquestionably something the team needs to clean up heading back into ACC play. 82.4 percent success rate on clears is not where we want to be.

Penalties

Continuing with the “things we need to clean up” theme, the Orange have committed 10 penalties in the last two games and are averaging four per game on the season. If we commit that many penalties against Duke and North Carolina, they will surely make us pay. Last chance in a game setting to get that right before heading down to Tobacco Road.

Extra-Man

Let’s close with something that’s been very confusing in the early going this season. The Syracuse EMO unit has inexplicably struggled so far, going a putrid 3-of-11 on man-up opportunities through the first four games.

This is an offense that looks unstoppable at times in the 6-on-6, yet can’t seem to find their rhythm when they have an extra player over the defense.

If they get any chances against Holy Cross, I’d love to see them put home a few EMO goals accompanied by some crisp ball movement. Again, those are the opportunities the team must capitalize on when they play agains the other heavyweights.

We’re hoping for a relatively easy, stress-free one today before we head into those extremely stressFULL ACC games.

Be sure to tune in to ACC Network at Noon and leave your reactions to the action below.

And, as always, Let’s Go Orange!!