Sunday, January 26, 2014

Syracuse Battles to Beat UVA 84-75

Story and photos by Chelsea Brobst
                The last game between Virginia and Syracuse was decided with less than a second left. On Nov. 24, 2012, Elashier Hall made a pair of free throws to give Syracuse a 74-73 win in the San Juan Shootout. This time the game wasn’t quite as dramatic. With a few minutes left in the game, Syracuse managed to pull away and win 84-75.
            After a first half that saw Syracuse (15-5, 4-3 ACC) commit 16 turnovers, Sophomore Brittney Sykes scored 18 points in the second half to help lead her team to victory. With a total of 27 points, Sykes now has a new career high.
            Head coach Quentin Hillsman was pleased with Sykes performance and her ability to battle the whole game. “Today was about Brittney Sykes’ willingness to win," Hillsman said. “Once she gets going and she gets out in transition she’s tough. She becomes more aggressive when the game gets on the line. I tell her every day. You don’t score, we lose.”
Hillsman was also pleased with the play of Senior Rachel Coffey. “Today Rachel Coffey was tremendous. She made shots, she didn’t turn the ball over and every time we needed a big shot and she was open, she knocked it down,” Hillsman said.
Virginia (10-10, 3-4 ACC) head coach Joanne Boyle agreed that Coffey was a difference maker in the game. “Good players show up when they’re needed.” Coffey was one of three Syracuse players to reach double digits. She finished with 17 points and was 5-8 from behind the arc.
One of Coffey’s better shots came as the first half was ending. She hit a big 3 pointer at the buzzer to give her team a 37-33 cushion heading into the break. She admitted after the game that she didn't expect it to go in and it was more luck than anything else.  
            Sophomore Brianna Butler had 12 assists and 16 points for her first double-double and was the third Syracuse player to reach double digits. She also had seven defensive rebounds to aid the comeback.
            Hillsman said that he has told Butler and Sykes that they need to score in order for the team to have success. “If we don’t score it’s because you two aren’t scoring.”
        Sykes agreed with Hillsman’s statement that she has to step up for her team especially in the second half. “I have to be there for my team when needed. It’s just the second half is when you figure out what you did wrong in the first half and you critique it and you fix it.”
       Sykes started the second half with two steals that led to two quick baskets and helped to build an eleven point lead and spark her team. “That’s how we build off our momentum and go on our runs. Playing aggressive defense, making shots, making plays,” Sykes said.

            Syracuse’s cutting down on turnovers in the second half caused the Virginia offense to stall. In the first half the Cavaliers were able to capitalize on the Syracuse turnovers. In the second half Virginia only managed five points off turnovers.
            Sarah Imovbioh and Kelsey Wolfe did their best to keep the Cavaliers in the game, combining for a total of 39 points. But in the end, Syracuse proved to be too much for them.
            Syracuse has a tough road ahead as the Orange women will be taking on two top-10 teams this week. The Orange will head to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels Thursday night. That game is followed by a home matchup with the University of Maryland next Sunday.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Orange Men Take Two Scrimmages; Struggle at the X

Faceoffs still an issue for Desko's squad

Story By: Thomas Scott
Photos By: Michael Silver

Lacrosse fans got three teams and three scrimmages for the price of admission at the Carrier Dome Saturday. What they saw from the No.2 ranked Syracuse Orange men was strong performance everywhere but at the face-off circle (the X).

Syracuse hosted the Hofstra University Pride and the LeMoyne College Dolphins   Hofstra and LeMoyne played the first game. Then the Orange took a turn at both teams.
Dolphins lose to Hofstra in back-and-forth game

 The defending Division II NCAA champion Dolphins lost 10-8 in the first game of the day.  Every period the momentum shifted to the opposite team.  In the first period, the Pride scored three goals to the Dolphins‘ one goal.
But the Dolphins netted four goals in the second period and didn’t allow the Pride to score during that period.  Sophomore goalkeeper, Tim Birchler, had four saves in the second period alone.  Going into halftime the Dolphins led 5-3.
The Dolphins‘ hot streak didn’t last through half-time and the Pride scored six goals in the third period for insurance.  The Pride scored four times before senior attackman Chris Button interrupted the run with his second goal of the game.
The Dolphins couldn’t overtake the Pride in the 4th period despite their two goals in the final period.

SU takes the Pride
The Orange took the field 30 minutes later against Hofstra for the next scrimmage.  Just three minutes into the game freshman attackman Jordan Evans scored the first goal unassisted.  Evans was the nation’s number one recruit coming out of Jamesville- DeWitt High School.
“I think he’s doing a great job so far this year,” senior attack man Derek Maltz said. “He’s very smart with and without the ball; and I think he’s fitting in well to our offense.”
Slightly over a minute later, the Pride answered back with two goals of its own; one from senior attackman Lance Yapor and the other from sophomore attackman Sam Linares.
Dominic Lamolinara, senior goalkeeper for the Orange, started the first half of the  game.  In two periods he made six saves and allowed four goals.  Lamolinara played well in the first half, but the team is also looking at junior goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell as an option in front of the net.
Wardwell started the second half for the Orange and the transition was seamless.  He too allowed four goals, but he also made eight saves, two more than Lamolinara.
The two of them are still competing for the starting job. “ We just try and push each other in practice every single day,” Wardwell said. “Just keep working hard and battling it out.”
The Orange had eight different players score a goal.  Red-shirt junior Hakeem Lecky made two goals and red-shirt sophomore Dylan Donahue scored four against the Pride.
“We were moving pretty well, our offense was working together very well in the beginning and towards the end too,” Donahue said.

Faceoffs still a problem
The Orange won the scrimmage 12-8 despite the less than satisfying faceoff stats.  Faceoffs were a major issue last year and one of the biggest factors in last year’s national championship loss to Duke and the Orange ost 73 percent of the faceoffs against the Pride.
Kris Clarke, freshman face off specialist for the Pride, won 14 out of his 19 faceoffs against Syracuse’s Chris Daddio (3-8) and Mike Iacono (2-11).
Head coach John Desko wasn’t satisfied with the faceoffs, but he wasn’t panicking over it either.  He said the team has been working hard on improving that facet of the game.
“We’ve got seven guys in the stable so to speak that have been working on it every day,” Desko said.  “We’ve spent more time on faceoffs since fall and spring than we ever before.”
The Orange compensated for their poor faceoffs by creating turnovers and good ball control on offense.  Clean passes on the offensive end created a lot of scoring opportunities.

No trouble with Dolphins
The final scrimmage of the day was a matchup between the Orange and the Dolphins.  The Orange started the scoring a minute and a half into the game and kept the pressure on for the rest of the game, winning 15-4.
The team nearly shut the Dolphins out in the 1st period 5-0 until their junior attackman, Kevin Kelly, scored with seven seconds left.  The second period was much of the same.  A barrage of scoring from the Orange and very little response from the Dolphins.  Donahue had three consecutive goals in the second period; two within two minutes of each other.
The Dolphins struggled on offense.  Wardwell, who started the second scrimmage for the Orange, made seven saves and allowed just three goals. Lamolinara made a brief appearance in the 3rd period and made a save before being subbed out for the next goalkeeper.  Red-shirt freshmen Evan Molloy and Tyler Avallone finished the third and fourth periods respectively.
The Orange did win the faceoff battle versus the Dolphins taking 13 of 23.
“Last year what really separated us from other teams was we got better continuously throughout the season, so that’s one thing we need to do this year again,” Wardwell said.
Syracuse’s next scrimmage will be Saturday Feb. 1, against Towson and Bucknell in Towson, MD. The season opener against Siena College is scheduled for Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.