The Syracuse Orange played a combined three lacrosse games this weekend, with the men’s squad taking care of business on both Friday and Sunday, and the women’s team winning a ranked clash in their season opener. Since it was such a busy few days, I decided to do something different and take just the biggest story from each game to expand on:
Friday: Offense comes alive
My biggest concern from the first men’s game of the season was their offensive struggles. Whatever rust was on their sticks clearly got cleaned off during the week, because it was a night-and-day difference between playing Vermont and UAlbany. Granted, the Catamounts are a good team in their own right, but the Great Danes got to experience the full power of Gary Gait’s fully-operational attack unit.
Joey Spallina retroactively accounted for his one-goal debut by firing home five of SU’s 20. The Orange also capitalized on 4/5 man-advantages in an outing that should have stilled some early overreactions.
Saturday: Putting demons to rest
Fortune favors the bold, and Kayla Treanor and co. were indeed being bold scheduling Northwestern to start the season. Not just because the #4 Wildcats would be a fierce first opponent for the #5 Orange, but also because they unceremoniously knocked SU out of the postseason last spring. I’m sure the sweet thoughts of vengeance were fresh in the minds of ‘Cuse players as they came out on top in the one-goal win.
It was a complete team effort - a term that can get tossed around a little too loosely sometimes, but one I completely mean here. Leading the scoring were Megan Carney (4) and Emma Tyrrell (3), both of whom were quick to show that they’re here to make up for lost time. On the other side, goalie Delaney Sweitzer turned aside 11 shots and denied the persistent ‘Cats attack from capitalizing on their massive draw control and free-position shot advantages.
Sunday: Passing game shows its potential
Like Friday, this was a game that Gait’s men were expected to win easily. After all, a much-less cohesive Orange team stomped the Crusaders 28-5 exactly one year prior. It’s not the victory that I’m impressed with, but how the new guys are quickly developing chemistry. My reasoning for the scoring droughts against Vermont was the offense’s inability to move the ball and create space for shooting lanes. Well, that wasn’t a problem here.
Spallina, who honestly didn’t get a ton accomplished from behind the net in the first two games, played a much more refined game at the X. The young gun had a pair of assists in addition to five more goals, setting up his teammates by drawing defensive pressure towards him and using some slick stickwork to fire precision passes away. Owen Hiltz followed suit and played the distributor role with four assists. Combine them with Jackson Birtwhistle and Alex Simmons and you’ve got a legit core four that can do both jobs on attack.
What did you notice about the action on the Dome turf this weekend?