The No. 2 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (7-0) flew by the the No. 5 Syracuse Orange (3-2) in Baltimore, 11-7 on Saturday afternoon. Johns Hopkins jumped out to an early 4-1 lead and never looked back. There was even a 20-minute span of time when the Orange didn't score a goal at all. They couldn't get anything going on offense and the defense struggled to stop the Hopkins sharp shooters.
Here are three thoughts from the game:
1. This team demonstrates shades of the 2007 Orange.
In 2007, the Syracuse Orange went 5-8 and didn't make the NCAA Tournament. It was a reloading year and Syracuse had trouble finding an identity. The team lacked leadership and struggled because of it. After losing so many seniors from last season, the Orange resemble its 2007 version. That year, Syracuse lost to Johns Hopkins 17-9. The next two years, the Orange went on to win two straight national championships. So a down year might just be what this Syracuse team needs to climb back to success.
2. Face offs and extra man unit are the biggest weaknesses.
Syracuse continued its struggles at the X today, picking up just 7-of-20. Chris Daddio (6-for-12) and Ricky Burh (1-for-5) both struggled so coach John Desko employed the same strategy as last week, putting in long pole Brian Megill to take a few. That strategy didn't work this week as he went 0-for-2.
The extra man unit went just 2-for-7 on its chances Saturday and it was a huge momentum killer. Whenever it looked like the Orange was about to get back into the game, it couldn't capitalize with an extra man on the field. There were a few instances where the Orange got a good shot, but most of the time Syracuse wasn't even threatening. That unit needs to be improved if the Orange wants to be successful this year.
3. Desko found his man in the net.
Desko made a statement today. Goal keeper Matt Lerman struggled in the first half, allowing 7 goals and just saving 1 shot. But Desko decided to leave Lerman in for the second half and the remainder of the game. Even though Lerman didn't have a spectaular performance, Desko stuck with him. I think this will be a huge confidence booster for Lerman and we will see improvement in his game over the next couple of weeks.
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