In front of a modest 5,805-person crowd at the Carrier Dome on Sunday, the No. 8 Orange (1-0) easily took care of Albany (0-1) 12-7 behind a strong offensive performance and solid goal keeping.
“We’re obviously very happy to come in and get a win in the first game of the year,” head coach John Desko said. “Albany is a pretty explosive offensive team, so it was good that we were able to keep the goals down on our defensive end of the field, too.”
The Orange were sluggish at the start of the game. Albany scored two back-to-back goals to take a quick 2-0 lead. But SU was able to score 10 consecutive goals to take a commanding lead on the backs of the Syracuse midfielders, who scored all 8 of the first-half goals.
“When they score two goals and get out on you quickly, there’s really nothing you can do about it but move on,” said senior attack Tommy Palasek. “I think you just have to go back out there and remember the confidence that we have in our offense.”
Syracuse turned the ball over four times in the first quarter and was sloppy on offense. No one seemed to be able to handle the ball. Some passes sailed over the heads of the midfielders and into Albany’s possession.
The defense wasn’t great either, as Brian Megill, Matt Harris and David Hamlin all committed fouls that led to Albany goals. The Orange even started off 0-for-3 at the faceoff X, unable to get anything going.
The one bright spot for the Orange was where no one expected it to be: in goal. Matt Lerman, who was shaky in his preseason performances, made four great saves that stifled Albany’s early momentum.
“I saw the ball really well today,” Lerman said. “Other than that, I gotta credit the defense for making them take some good shots that I could make some good saves on.”
Near the end of the first quarter, the Orange turned the switch and everything started to click. The defense caused turnovers and picked up ground balls, the offense started penetrating and scoring and the Orange fans at the Dome grew louder, shifting the momentum in Syracuse’s direction.
“They were both freshmen last year, and now they’re sophomores and they’ve had some good experience, and I think we can improve on that,” Desko said.
Maryland transfer Dominic Lamolinara was the goaltender in the second half. After Lerman’s six-save performance, Lamolinara went on to make 10 saves, giving up five goals. Desko said it would have been a tougher decision to switch goalies had the game been closer at half time, but with a six-goal lead, he let Lamolinara stretch his legs.
“We felt Matty [Lerman] warmed up well and was good to go, and I thought Dom [Lamolinara] was pretty cool in the second half,” Desko said. “He made some good saves, so were happy we’ve got a couple guys to choose from right now.”