Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Looks For First Ranked Win at Princeton
By Ashley Wenskoski | @AshleyWenskTV
Syracuse men’s lacrosse (6-5, 0-3 ACC) travels down to the Garden State in search of its first win against a ranked opponent this season.
No. 15 Princeton (4-4, 2-1 Ivy League) is coming in hot off of two straight Ivy League wins against Brown and Yale.
Meanwhile, the Orange are looking to put last weekend’s loss to No. 3 Notre Dame behind them. After falling behind by six in the first quarter, SU came all the way back to take the lead in the fourth. When an apparent Finn Thomson goal was called back, Syracuse lost their momentum and allowed the Fighting Irish to go on a run of nine unanswered goals. Gary Gait’s squad would ultimately fall to the Irish 20-12.
Syracuse and Princeton own one of college lacrosse’s oldest rivalries, dating back to 1922. The Orange have not played the Tigers since 2013, where they edged out a 13-12 win in a season that ended with the Cuse in the national championship. Syracuse leads the all-time series 20-9.
The keys to winning this game for SU are improving on the two areas that have plagued them the most all season: winning faceoffs and holding on defense.
The Orange fell apart against Notre Dame in the fourth quarter in large part due to their incompetence at the faceoff X: they won just 2 of 11 draws in the fourth quarter, and it’s difficult for a team to win games if they can’t obtain possession.
It’s possible that this Tigers team is exactly what the doctor ordered for SU’s faceoff woes– Princeton is only 52nd in the country in faceoff percentage. Struggling at the X was the difference in the SU-Notre Dame game, and shut down the Cuse’s attacks, including Joey Spallina.
In terms of defense, the Orange have been nothing to write home about in defensive coordinator Dave Pietramala’s second season. Aside from goalie Will Mark, a mid-season All-American and Tewaaraton award contender, SU has very little defensive depth. They rely heavily on Saam Olexo and Nick Caccamo, and when those two are targeted, the defense falls apart.
Princeton will be challenging for the SU defense. This Tigers team moves the ball very well– they average 8.88 assists per game, tied for fifth-best in the country. Sophomore Coulter Mackesy is one of the most dynamic scorers in the nation, leading the team with 41 points and a 57.8% scoring success rate in shots on goal.
If Syracuse can maintain possession and stand strong in front of Will Mark, they have the talent to beat the Tigers. Faceoff from Class of 1952 Stadium is scheduled for noon – you can follow @CitrusTVSports and @AshleyWenskTV on Twitter for live updates.