The No. 5 Syracuse women's lacrosse team is on the road this week, starting with the Eagles of Boston College on Wednesday before its much anticipated rematch of last year's national championship against No. 4 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill on Saturday.
Sticking To The Zone Backer: When I talked to assistant coach Regy Thorpe during Monday's media opportunity, I asked him if the zone backer is here to stay:
"We have done the backer defense in small segments the last few years," Thorpe said. "We have never done it for a full game, though."
Lacrosse enthusiasts first got a glimpse of this defense in its entirety during Towson back on March 9. The Orange forced 25 turnovers and gave the Tigers hell when it came to clearing the ball.
"Early on in the season, we have taken our lumps against Maryland and Florida," he said. "We just felt like we needed to do some things different on defense to be successful against top ranked teams in May."
Thorpe's game plan, for the most part, has been executed to perfection ever since, noting a slightly more athletic defense.
"The girls have done a great job buying into the system," Thorpe said.
Offenses, Meet Becca Block: She gets it done on both ends and has made transition defense seem effortless, Block is making opposing coaches rip their hair out in frustration. The senior defender leads the team in draw controls (24), ground balls (20) and caused turnovers (16).
"Becca's game has evolved so much," Thorpe said. "Last year, she was our lockdown defender. I think in 13 or 14 games that we played, we marked her up on our opponent's leading scorer and in those games she held them under their average."
Developing Goalie Situation: Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Richardson has started in goal for the Orange two consecutive games now.
"We are just looking to get wins," Thorpe said. "We were struggling a little on defense. It's not our goalies. The credit goes to our defense of giving our goalies high pressured shots, which are easier saves."
My take? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The two goalie rotation works for the Orange. I will let it be now.
Chemistry Coming Along: I posed this question to junior Alyssa Murray after the Orange lost to No. 2 Florida 14-10. After the Connecticut win last Friday, her response has somewhat softened:
"It's starting to click," she said, "we want to get everyone involved even more. Everyone is getting opportunities, but we want them to get better opportunities. We know each other off the field really well and have great chemistry as a team, but now it's time to figure out each other's strengths."
So About Those Eagles: Like Syracuse, Boston College's schedule is nothing to turn your nose up. The Eagles have already played the likes of No. 4 Northwestern (lost, 17-10), No. 1 Maryland (lost, 13-5) and No. 3 North Carolina (lost, 19-11). After its play date with the Orange on Wednesday, the team will face No. 9 Virginia, No. 6 Duke and Harvard.