MLAX : CRUISE CONTROL: SU uses early offensive onslaught to bury Duke in Big City Classic

first_imgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Syracuse offense needed some patience. After sloppy, turnover-prone play the past couple of games, it had to return to what earned it a top ranking in the first place.And that patience started in the first two minutes of the game. SU midfielder Jovan Miller sprinted down the left sideline and got next to the goal, trying to find an open look.It wasn’t there. So instead of taking a chance and shooting, he turned and passed it to Josh Amidon. And Amidon quickly flipped it back into the goal from the right of the crease.‘I think our whole offense, not just myself, has been thinking too much out there,’ Miller said. ‘Under that atmosphere, we really relaxed out there, and you could obviously tell in the first half how relaxed we were.’Patience opened up a slumping offense. Nine different players scored goals to guide the No.1 Orange to a 13-11 win over No. 3 Duke (8-3) in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at New Meadowlands Stadium in front of 25,115. After two games, during which Syracuse (8-0) seemed incapable of consistently scoring — combining for only 10 goals — it broke out of its slump in a big way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThere were plenty of concerns surrounding the offense coming into the game. The only thing keeping the Orange afloat was its dominant defense, which served as the answer to the offense’s struggles. But in this contest, the SU offense established itself early and often.‘I think we were patient offensively,’ attack Stephen Keogh said. ‘I think we worked for the better shots instead of taking the no-angle shots from 15 yards out.’It became clear early in the first quarter that Syracuse found the solution to its recent scoring drought.Instead of rushing the ball to the goal and giving up possessions, which had been the case of late, Syracuse returned to what it did at the start of the season. The Orange passed around the offensive zone, eventually finding the open look for the right shot.‘We like to be like that,’ head coach John Desko said. ‘I think it makes you harder to cover. If you play with a philosophy that one guy’s going to get it done for you and you run into that one game where somebody stops him, then everything stops. It’s great that we share the ball like we do.’That’s how the Orange took down the defending national champion, the Blue Devils. In the first quarter, Syracuse scored six goals. That’s one more goal than it did in each of the past two games. And those six goals came on only seven shots.But while Syracuse scored easily, Duke struggled. The Blue Devils scored only twice in the entire first half, despite taking 17 shots. Throughout the game, the Blue Devils couldn’t manage to get the ball past Orange goaltender John Galloway.On a night when the Syracuse scorers didn’t have problems finding the back of the net, they struggled mightily at the faceoff X. The Orange won only 7-of-27 faceoffs in the game and only 3-of-14 in the second half. So instead of bad shots and sloppy passing leading to inopportune turnovers, it was the lack of consistency at the X.That only made the first-quarter scoring barrage that much more important.‘I think a lot of it had to do with the first half,’ Desko said. ‘We didn’t have the ball that much in the second half. With the lack of possessions we had and the numbers on the faceoffs, to put up 13 goals against these guys is a good thing.’The Duke defense never had a response to Syracuse and was caught off guard the entire game. Even when the Blue Devils crowded around the crease, the Orange still managed to score. In the third quarter, long-stick midfielder Joel White took a behind-the-back shot that bounced off the right post, but Keogh picked up the rebound, then flipped it in for the score.The Blue Devil defense lost the ball amid the scuffle, but Keogh found it right away and took advantage. For Syracuse, it was the type of game in which almost everything was going right from start to finish.Duke attempted to crawl back from a seven-goal deficit late, but it was too big of a hurdle. That was a testament to the Orange’s offensive patience early. Patience that led to an offensive outburst.‘We just played unselfish,’ Keogh said. ‘And luckily, our shots were finding the back of the net today.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on April 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img

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