Syracuse Defends their No. 1 ranking against CNY Rival Cornell
By Nick Petraccione SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In the past eight weeks of the lacrosse season, seven teams that have held the number one spot in Division One have fallen after being crowned the nation’s top dog. Syracuse avoided that trend Tuesday night as the top-ranked Orange defeated Cornell 15-8.
Even with the number one written to the left of their name, SU made sure that they didn’t let the ranking influence their play.
“You see teams get the number one spot each week and they’ve all fallen,” said senior Jordan Evans. “I think we try to focus on our own team and ourselves more than the number one spot and we’ve got bigger goals ahead of us than the number one seed.”
Evans had a standout game, leading the Orange with a hat trick and two assists. The Syracuse native has played four years at Syracuse and knows this team is something special.
“This is the most fun I’ve had. In a practice setting, it’s a competition between the offense and defense and the guys on the team still fighting just to get out on the field and fighting for spots. And that’s what makes the atmosphere so fun and everybody feeds off it and I think that’s the main reason that we’ve been getting better,” said Evans.
Chemistry is an overlooked facet of a team locker room and the Orange are an extremely close knit family. Even with new transfers like Brendan Bomberry from Denver, who captain Sergio Salcido said last month was his best friend.
The harmony has turned this offense into a six-headed monster that ranked 11th in the nation in scoring coming into the game.
However, the amount of offense generated can be attributed to one man’s stick: Ben Williams. The faceoff specialist was 19-25 (76%) from the X.
“To get Ben in the swing like he was tonight, to give us all those possessions, puts a lot of pressure on the other team’s defense and gave us a lot of opportunities to score some goals,” said head coach John Desko.
Wiliiams struggled in the final two weeks of March and beginning of April, has come out firing as of late. In the last two games he is 36-53 (0.679 FO%).
For now Syracuse holds on to their number ranking, but still has work to do before the next poll comes out. The Orange will hop on a plane Friday for a Saturday matchup against defending national champions North Carolina. A loss to the Tar Heels would shove SU out of the top spot come the next poll on Monday.