Three Matchups to Watch in SU’s Quarterfinal Showdown with Towson
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After surviving against a high-powered offense in Yale last Sunday, John Desko and the No. 2 Orange will face a stingy Towson defense in the NCAA Quarterfinals this weekend. The No. 11 Tigers rank third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 7.47 goals per game. Opposite that top-tier defense, is a Syracuse offense that boasts an average of 12 goals per game, with 19 different players scoring at least once this season. In the first meeting between these two programs since 2000, here are three matchups to keep an eye on.
Syracuse’s Offensive Midfield vs. Towson’s Defensive Midfield
Syracuse touts one of the most dangerous midfields in the country. The offense runs through Sergio Salcido, one of the nation’s top facilitators. The redshirt senior’s 33 assists rank tenth in the country, and he has shown the ability to score in late-game situations, with two game-winners this season. Nick Mariano has been Syracuse’s go-to goal scorer this year, leading the Orange with 34 goals. And, freshman Jamie Trimboli emerged as a scoring threat as well, providing a spark to the top midfield line with 13 tallies of his own. However, the trio faces a Towson defensive midfield whose strength is in its short-stick defense. Two of those defensive midfielders, Zach Goodrich and Jack Adams, helped to hold the Nittany Lions midfield scoreless in Towson’s first-round upset. Goodrich and Adams earned Inside Lacrosse Second and Third Team Media All-American honors, respectively. The duo has combined for 59 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers this season.
Ben Williams vs. Alex Woodall
After struggling earlier in the season, feeling the lingering effects of a shoulder injury, Syracuse face-off specialist Ben Williams turned in the worst performance of his career against Yale, winning just 1-of- 11 draws. Freshman Danny Varello also struggled, winning just 3-of- 7 face-offs in Williams’ place. It could be another battle at the X on Sunday as Towson’s Alex Woodall enters the contest winning nearly 61 percent of his face-offs. The sophomore won 7-of-13 against the Penn State last Saturday before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury. Tigers Head Coach Shawn Nadelen, however, is optimistic that Woodall will be ready to go by game time.
Evan Molloy vs. Matt Hoy
It even has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it. Despite his save percentage hovering under 50 percent all season long, Evan Molloy made 15 total saves against Yale to help carry the struggling Orange to an 11-10 victory. For Towson, Matt Hoy has been hot as of late, allowing just 16 goals in his last three starts. After splitting time with Josh Miller early in the season, Hoy has gotten the nod between the pipes in the Tigers’ last six games. In his nine appearances this season, the senior has conceded just 6.99 goals per game, unofficially ranking him second in the nation, as he has not started at least 60 percent of Towson’s games. Both Molloy and Hoy have had their ups and downs this season, but are coming off of strong outings. If Molloy can stand tall again on Sunday, the Orange may be able to squeak out another one-goal victory.