‘Cuse Countdown Analysts Preview Syracuse Lacrosse’s Matchup with Hobart
Syracuse lacrosse seems to have gotten into a groove. The Orange have won back-to-back games, but SU has yet to win three in a row this season. Can the Orange stay hot against Hobart? The ‘Cuse Countdown analysts explain what SU has to do to beat the Statesmen.
Key to the Game: Don’t Get Burned By Another FOGO
In Syracuse’s 17-8 loss last month to Johns Hopkins, ‘Cuse’s Danny Varello won only nine times at the faceoff X in 26 chances. Varello faces another one of the nations top faceoff specialists in Hobart’s Matthew Pedicine. Pedicine is currently the sixth best-faceoff specialist in the country, winning 66.9 percent at the faceoff X. Varello hasn’t played quite up to expectations as Syracuse’s go-to faceoff man this year, and he now faces one of the best in the game. If the Orange wants to extend its win streak to three games, Varello has to hold his own against another one of the nation’s premier faceoff specialists.
Prediction: Syracuse 14-7
Syracuse comes into this game riding high after back to back wins over top-10 teams. Hobart has yet to beat a ranked team this year and has not played much competition that is the same caliber as the Orange. The Statesmen also rank 34th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just over 10 goals per game. This could be cause for concern considering Syracuse has seen a resurgence from key offensive weapons like Brendan Bomberry and Jamie Trimboli, who have combined for 10 goals in the last two games. For that, the Orange will make it three straight.
Key to the Game: Match the Intensity
I know Syracuse won last season 17-11, but that was a fairly close game for three quarters. Hobart knows this is and treats this game as the biggest of the season. When it comes to the Dome it will have all of the intensity in the world. Last year on the road that intensity got to Syracuse at times, but the team was able to recover. SU needs to come into this game understanding Hobart is bringing the squad’s best shot for the Orange. For Syracuse to win this game comfortably, the team needs to treat this as the rivalry it is.
Prediction: Syracuse 13-9
Despite Hobart’s intensity, I think that Syracuse has found a grove for this season. The defense is healthy and communicating better than ever. Just look at Notre Dame’s 0-for-8 on the man-up last week. Spearheaded by Dom Madonna in goal, the SU defense moved on slide very well last game. I know Coach Desko said SU should be worried about Hobart’s offense, but that is just coach speak for his players. Expect SU to pull away in the late third and early fourth quarters.
Key to the Game: Limit Turnovers
Syracuse committed just 11 turnovers in its win over Notre Dame, a big reason why the Orange was able to take control of the game’s pace. Thanks to SU dominating the possessions, the Irish managed less than seven shots on goal per quarter in each of the first three frames. Defenders Tyson Bomberry and Nick Mellen spearheaded the effort with two caused turnovers each, with five more ‘Cuse players notching at least one CTO. If Syracuse can replicate that performance versus Hobart, it should dominate a lackluster Herons offense.
Prediction: Syracuse 15-8
Hobart should not be undervalued — it nearly knocked off a No. 18 Georgetown on the road earlier this season, and dominated Binghamton just as the Orange did in February. That said, Syracuse enters this matchup off back-to-back wins over top-15 opponents, and should keep rolling against a Herons’ offense that managed just five goals in versus Saint Joseph’s.
Key to the Game: Play with a Sense of Urgency
Nearly every one of the Hobart-Syracuse matchups invokes the classic “David vs. Goliath” storyline. Syracuse regularly stomps out upset bids, winning 28 of the last 31 Kraus-Simmons Trophies. But, the thought always lingers: what if David’s stone actually strikes Goliath in just the right spot? If ‘Cuse wants to avoid the large Philistine’s fate, it has to play this game with the same mentality they’ve played with in their last two games. Heading into the final third of the season, the Orange has to be locked in for 60 minutes. If Syracuse can put numbers on the board early and keep its foot on the gas, they’ll have no problems in this one.
Prediction: Syracuse 15-6
Coming off two top-10 ACC victories, this contest has trap game written all over it for the Orange. But there’s just no way a sub- .500 small-conference school like Hobart can keep up with the likes of Brendan Bomberry, Jamie Trimboli and Stephen Rehfuss. I expect the Orange defense to continue its dominance from the past two games and build some momentum heading into the home stretch of the regular season. Anything could happen, but March Madness is over, and John Desko has his squad ready for a late-season run.
Key to the Game: Don’t Get Complacent
Syracuse is a better team than Hobart. The Statesmen are better than they were last year when the Orange easily won the rivalry matchup 17-11 in Geneva, but there’s still a clear talent gap in this game. Regardless, that gap shrinks a little bit because Hobart is going to come in motivated, rested and prepared. The Statesmen haven’t played a game in almost a week. In that time, they’ve been preparing and getting ready for perhaps the biggest game on its schedule all season. On the other hand, SU played Saturday, took Sunday off and has only had one day to watch film and get ready. With the schedules not on the Orange’s side, it’s imperative ‘Cuse comes out and matches Hobart’s intensity from the opening whistle.
Prediction: Syracuse 12-11
This is going to be a lot closer than many are expecting. Hobart is improved this year and returning plenty of veterans who have played in this game before, not to mention the schedule advantage of having almost a week off. In the end, Syracuse is going to hold onto the Kraus-Simmons Trophy for the fifth straight year, but the Cardiac ‘Cuse are going to need some more late game heroics.
Key to the Game: Cause Turnovers
While Syracuse faceoff specialist Danny Varello has had an up-and-down season, Hobart’s Matthew Pedicine has been dominant. The junior is winning better than two-thirds of his faceoffs. While the Orange hopes that Varello steps up, a better strategy will be to focus on causing turnovers. Notre Dame coughed up the ball 16 times on Saturday, and it helped Syracuse overcome the Irish, despite struggling at the faceoff X. Faceoffs are one of the few places Hobart has an advantage over Syracuse, and if the Orange neutralize the Statesmen’s potential possession advantage, it will cruise to its third straight victory.
Prediction: Syracuse 16-8
All three teams the Orange has fallen to this season are currently in the top-10. Hobart is a far cry from college lacrosse’s elite this season. The Statesmen are 0-2 against ranked opponents this season, and hasn’t faced any team ranked as high as No. 8 Syracuse. One of Hobart’s biggest weaknesses is offensive execution. The Statesmen’s shooting percentage of 26 percent leaves them 54th in the country. A week after shutting down Notre Dame, Syracuse should easily handle Hobart.
Key to the Game: Contain Justin Scott
In Syracuse’s previous two victories against No. 3 Duke and No. 7 Notre Dame, the Orange smothered the opposition’s best offensive player. Blue Devils’ Justin Guterding only tallied one goal and coughed up six turnovers, while SU’s defense held the Irish’s Ryan Garnsey to just one assist. John Desko will once again call upon Nick Mellen, Tyson Bomberry and Marcus Cunningham to keep Hobart’s best scorer, Justin Scott, off the scoresheet. The sophomore has rattled off five or more goals on three separate occasions this season, and he was the main catalyst in securing a six-goal comeback over Colgate in early March. Scott is very talented at starting from X and driving around the crease to the front of the cage using his 6-foot-2 frame, unafraid of the knitty-gritty areas. His sidearm shot is lethal, so SU should limit Scott’s activity around the crease.
Prediction: Syracuse 13-5
Quite frankly, this Statesmen squad doesn’t compare talent-wise to this SU roster. Hobart’s attack has been rather inconsistent—a resounding 19 goals against Canisius, yet a five-goal effort against St. Joseph’s in the prior matchup. The one area to be wary of is the faceoff X, where Hobart’s Matthew Pedicine has secured 67 percent of his draws this season. If the platoon of Danny Varello, Seth DeLisle and Nick Martin can’t solve the team’s faceoff woes, this contest could be closer than expected. But a balanced attack, including four Orange players scoring in double-digits so far, should be enough to breeze past the Statesmen.
Key to the Game: Finish Each Half Strong
This season, the Orange has struggled to close out the second and fourth quarters of its games. Syracuse has a negative-nine point differential in those quarters, and it gets worse for SU if you do not include the Binghamton game. As the schedule dips into a little bit of a lull after this brutal stretch (seven ranked opponents in seven straight weeks), ‘Cuse can not afford to ease up and let Hobart win crucial moments in the game at the end of each half.
Prediction: 12-9 Syracuse
Hobart is 4-5 on the season and has struggled against both of the ranked opponent it faced this year in Penn State and Georgetown. On paper, this is a game Syracuse should dominate from start to finish. The reason the prediction is closer than expected? SU does not share the ball as well as some of the other top flight offenses in the country. In ‘Cuse’s wins this year, the team has only averaged six, sometimes seven assists, which puts the team outside the top-20. The worry is that one of Syracuse’s best goal scorers like Brendan Bomberry will have a game where he gets cold and can’t carry SU’s offense. If that happens and Syracuse is force to turn elsewhere for goals, how will the team respond?