MLAX : EIGHT BALL: Adjustment in offensive plan leads SU to 8 4th-quarter goals in blowout of Friars

first_imgFOXBORO, Mass. — John Desko had seen enough of his team unsuccessfully trying to read Providence’s defensive changes. Standing around and waiting wasn’t working, and the scoreboard showed it.‘The defenses kind of make you do that, you have to kind of see what they’re in,’ said Desko, Syracuse’s head coach. ‘We thought we could take advantage of their slides in the first half, and we said the heck with it. We’ll start moving.’Syracuse broke out in the second half with nine consecutive goals — including eight in the fourth quarter — to beat Providence 13-3 in front of 5,316 in the New England Lacrosse Classic at Gillette Stadium. At the same time, the Orange defense held the Friars scoreless after the first quarter. For a while, Providence held the No. 1 Orange (10-1, 3-0 Big East) in check. In the end, though, the score looked just as badly as it usually does for the Friars (3-8, 0-3 Big East). Syracuse has completely dominated Providence in the last three games the two teams have played, with the Orange outscoring the Friars 49-11. So as the game went into halftime Saturday, the score reflected a surprising move away from those gaudy numbers.With the score 4-3 in favor of SU, the offensive struggles against lowly Providence called for a switch of the game plan. The Orange couldn’t figure out PC’s defensive schemes. At one moment, it would be man to man. The next, zone. Not making anything easier was the fact that Syracuse’s worst minutes were Providence’s best.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Friars scored their only three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Providence also tried at times to limit SU’s scoring by holding the ball, just as it did in last season’s game. With a little less than two minutes remaining and the score knotted at 3-3, Friar midfielder Steve Lydon took the ball behind the net and ran back and forth or stood in one place, but never passed. SU had to figure out a way to respond.‘We kind of switched up our offense a little bit,’ said SU attack Stephen Keogh, who had three goals and two assists. ‘We just started getting more movement and being unselfish, just throwing the ball around quickly. It was a little too close early, but we pulled away.’For most of the first half, the Orange stood around in its offensive zone. There was very little ball movement, as SU tried to take advantage of the Friars’ defensive slides. Syracuse took shots from the outside, but many of them were inaccurate and sailed high over the top of the net and went out of bounds. In the first half, SU took 19 shots but scored only four goals.Providence had Syracuse guessing, but the Orange wasn’t able to guess right. That’s what called for the switch of the offense, and in the fourth quarter, it broke out in a big way. Ball movement became key as the Orange passed the ball around the zone to create opportunities.With just less than 12 minutes remaining and the score at 6-3, midfielder Jeremy Thompson had the ball and stood about 20 yards in front of the net. He sent a 10-yard pass straight up the middle of the field to Keogh, who then turned around and fired a shot into the cage to give SU a four-goal advantage. That goal started a barrage of rapid-fire goals.‘You knew the offense had it in them,’ Syracuse goaltender John Galloway said. ‘It was just waiting to break out.’Even Galloway got involved in SU’s offense, sending a long pass across the field to long-stick midfielder Joel White in the fourth quarter in a clearing situation. White took the pass and quickly converted a goal. At that point of the game, SU’s scoring troubles were virtually obsolete.In a span of two minutes and 13 seconds, the Orange scored four goals. That was a stark contrast to the 15-minute stretch in the third quarter and the start of the fourth, when it failed to find the back of the net. Within a couple of minutes, the game went from a surprising defensive battle to the blowout that was expected.‘We just kind of went with it,’ Desko said. ‘We changed our offense in the fourth quarter, and fortunately it broke free in the fourth quarter with a bunch of goals.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemancenter_img Commentslast_img

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