Duke Game Preview (March 5th, 4pm) | Syracusefan.com

Duke Game Preview (March 5th, 4pm)

Powellfan

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Syracuse comes into this game riding a 2 game losing streak. They face an inconsistent but dangerous Duke team. I might not be the best person to be previewing these games as I thought last week's game against UNC would be a defensive stalemate. It was the opposite as the Tar Heels pummeled the Orange in a shootout. Nevertheless I'll continue on till someone tells me to stop.

Duke is an obvious load on offense as they have a hydra of explosiveness on attack with Brennan O'Neil, Dyson Williams and Andrew McAdory. One has to imagine that O'Neil will get his customary seven points against a struggling Orange defense. I have been a big fan of Nick Caccamo since he came to Syracuse last year, but last week against UNC was his worst game I've seen. I think he'll get the O'Neil matchup, and he'll have to have a bounce back game for the ages against his former Team 91 teammate. My biggest concern for the Orange defense is perhaps not the front runner for the Tewaarton Award, but his former high school teammate McAdory. I am not sure if Syracuse has anyone on defense right now with the footspeed to keep up with the former midfielder. I think Landon Clary will mark him, but he also had a performance to forget as he allowed his target (Logan McGovern) to score eight points last week. Duke's weak spot on offense is their midfield right now, with Aiden Danenza, Owen Caputo, Garrett Leadmon and Charles Balsamo combining for 31 points this year. SU's defensive midfield has seriously struggled this year and will have to play better against Duke. Fingers crossed they get Brandon Aviles back but the whole unit really needs to step up their game.

The bright spot this year for the Orange has been their offense. Despite not seeing a lot of the ball this year they rank 11th in Offensive Efficiency according to Lacrosse Reference. The big question for me heading into the game is the role of Cole Kirst. I am not sure if the coaches saw something spefic with the UNC defense they wanted to exploit, or if this is a long term strategy to shift the big guy down low. Kirst gives the attack another dodger to compliment Spallina and he did well against one of the better defenders in the ACC with two goals. That said I'm not I fully sure I understand why they moved Jackson Birtwistle to the second unit despite the fact he was leading the midfield in scoring. That left Griffin Cook as the only real "play maker" on the second unit as Birtwistle and Luke Rhoa are finisher types. Anyways, something to watch for.

Duke plays defense the same way every game, they press out, they don't like to slide and they dare you to beat them with their sliding. They are almost arrogant with the way they play as nothing will change their strategy (they refused to double pole the midfield years ago when SU had Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido on the same line, and Mariano burned them all game long). The Duke goalie, a transfer from DIII St. Lawrence, is having a pretty decent year with a 56% save percentage, but this will be his first game in the Dome, I think SU should be able to score here.

Johnny Richiusa fought valiantly against UNC, winning 16-35 face-offs against the Heels. He'll have his work cut out for him once again going against Jake Naso. The Blue Devil has a 63% winning percentage so far this year. Not sure what else there is to say here, but if the defense can't get stops and the face-off unit cant win the ball, it will be a long day for the Orange.

If you had told me that Will Mark had made 17 saves and the face-off unit kept that aspect of the game relatively close, I would have thought that is a recipe for success against an ACC team. The fact that UNC blew out SU with those numbers is more than a little bit discouraging. On paper Duke should be clear favorites, but I think with this offense, the Orange have a chance is a lot of games. I think the Duke defense can be exploited but the Orange need to play a lot smarter than they have been. With face-off and defensive struggles, the margins for error are really, really slim.
 
Syracuse comes into this game riding a 2 game losing streak. They face an inconsistent but dangerous Duke team. I might not be the best person to be previewing these games as I thought last week's game against UNC would be a defensive stalemate. It was the opposite as the Tar Heels pummeled the Orange in a shootout. Nevertheless I'll continue on till someone tells me to stop.

Duke is an obvious load on offense as they have a hydra of explosiveness on attack with Brennan O'Neil, Dyson Williams and Andrew McAdory. One has to imagine that O'Neil will get his customary seven points against a struggling Orange defense. I have been a big fan of Nick Caccamo since he came to Syracuse last year, but last week against UNC was his worst game I've seen. I think he'll get the O'Neil matchup, and he'll have to have a bounce back game for the ages against his former Team 91 teammate. My biggest concern for the Orange defense is perhaps not the front runner for the Tewaarton Award, but his former high school teammate McAdory. I am not sure if Syracuse has anyone on defense right now with the footspeed to keep up with the former midfielder. I think Landon Clary will mark him, but he also had a performance to forget as he allowed his target (Logan McGovern) to score eight points last week.
I will still allow these! Who among us has not totally whiffed on a prediction?? One thing I would definitely push back on is that absolutely none of McGovern's 8 points were due to anything Clary did. Were either feeds where the rest of the D should have done better off ball or shots where the defense was rotating and the second slide didn't get over fast enough. Also 2 goals were due to a desperate double team at the end of the game and Mark making a silly decision going after him when he was hung up behind the goal. Clary has been a solid cover guy for us. MD didn't get anything against him, Hogg of UAlbany only had one goal despite dodging at him all day, nothing for UVM against him in the first game. He is not a serious issue IMO.

Kol and Caccamo have been disappointing recently, both in 1v1 and team play. We really needed Caccamo to step up this year with no Figueras stepping into the line up and it has been frustrating to watch. Still our main problem saturday was unnecessary and poor slides and overall defensive rotation. Won't get into a whole thing today on if that is Petros fault or an individual's lack of talent as frankly I don't know enough. The tape is also not too kind to Will Mark.

Olexo Clary Murphy and Rice I have no strong complaints on their individual play for the most part. You should be able to live with having to slide to ssdms on occasion. Murphy got beaten cleanly at the end of the first half at a time we really could not afford it and needed slides at times, but he has been overall solid. Rice had some guys slide to his man (some unnecessary) but never got beaten cleanly yesterday. Trujillo is not the fastest guy and too small for middies with size like UNC. Rice and Murphy are already pushing it in that category. Aviles just has to play next week. We are desperate for some physicality and depth there. Garrett Leadmon at Duke, Collison/Grimes at Hop, Dobson and Reilly Gray at ND, Shutz and McConvey at UVA, those are all guys who could ignore a guy without enough strength. That is what happened with the Demarco match up on saturday. He could care less about contact from Trujillo and Murphy.

UNC was a better team off the dodge than MD and certainly better than the other teams we faced. A lot of guys who could be described as big strong and fast. Some great shooters too. Maybe I eat crow for this down the road, but I have a feeling the OSU goal total will be an outlier by years end, just like our 7 goals against UVM. They are going through similar heavy roster turnover to us. Enough of their younger higher rated guys are starting to step up out of the midfield and McGovern is a player. If Caccamo can have a bounce back game against old team 91 comrade ONeill we have a shot next weekend. Not giving up on him after one bad 1v1 day. They are not going to move the rock or kill us with schemes like an MD, and the mids for UNC scare me more than Dukes. I still have faith and we can not let this place fall to the quitters and trolls who have started to rear their ugly heads again.
 
I definitely think they need Aviles back. Murphy and Rice are on the field to much. To me yes Demarco is a powerful kid but before the half it looked like Murphy was wiped and had nothing for him. He's a tough kid and just got ran thru. Idk enough about lacrosse defense to judge if it's the players or coaching but something is not right defensively. I know enough to see that. I mean are they just not talented enough or are they being asked to do to much? Some of you guys know more then I do so u would know.
 
Syracuse comes into this game riding a 2 game losing streak. They face an inconsistent but dangerous Duke team. I might not be the best person to be previewing these games as I thought last week's game against UNC would be a defensive stalemate. It was the opposite as the Tar Heels pummeled the Orange in a shootout. Nevertheless I'll continue on till someone tells me to stop.

Duke is an obvious load on offense as they have a hydra of explosiveness on attack with Brennan O'Neil, Dyson Williams and Andrew McAdory. One has to imagine that O'Neil will get his customary seven points against a struggling Orange defense. I have been a big fan of Nick Caccamo since he came to Syracuse last year, but last week against UNC was his worst game I've seen. I think he'll get the O'Neil matchup, and he'll have to have a bounce back game for the ages against his former Team 91 teammate. My biggest concern for the Orange defense is perhaps not the front runner for the Tewaarton Award, but his former high school teammate McAdory. I am not sure if Syracuse has anyone on defense right now with the footspeed to keep up with the former midfielder. I think Landon Clary will mark him, but he also had a performance to forget as he allowed his target (Logan McGovern) to score eight points last week. Duke's weak spot on offense is their midfield right now, with Aiden Danenza, Owen Caputo, Garrett Leadmon and Charles Balsamo combining for 31 points this year. SU's defensive midfield has seriously struggled this year and will have to play better against Duke. Fingers crossed they get Brandon Aviles back but the whole unit really needs to step up their game.

The bright spot this year for the Orange has been their offense. Despite not seeing a lot of the ball this year they rank 11th in Offensive Efficiency according to Lacrosse Reference. The big question for me heading into the game is the role of Cole Kirst. I am not sure if the coaches saw something spefic with the UNC defense they wanted to exploit, or if this is a long term strategy to shift the big guy down low. Kirst gives the attack another dodger to compliment Spallina and he did well against one of the better defenders in the ACC with two goals. That said I'm not I fully sure I understand why they moved Jackson Birtwistle to the second unit despite the fact he was leading the midfield in scoring. That left Griffin Cook as the only real "play maker" on the second unit as Birtwistle and Luke Rhoa are finisher types. Anyways, something to watch for.

Duke plays defense the same way every game, they press out, they don't like to slide and they dare you to beat them with their sliding. They are almost arrogant with the way they play as nothing will change their strategy (they refused to double pole the midfield years ago when SU had Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido on the same line, and Mariano burned them all game long). The Duke goalie, a transfer from DIII St. Lawrence, is having a pretty decent year with a 56% save percentage, but this will be his first game in the Dome, I think SU should be able to score here.

Johnny Richiusa fought valiantly against UNC, winning 16-35 face-offs against the Heels. He'll have his work cut out for him once again going against Jake Naso. The Blue Devil has a 63% winning percentage so far this year. Not sure what else there is to say here, but if the defense can't get stops and the face-off unit cant win the ball, it will be a long day for the Orange.

If you had told me that Will Mark had made 17 saves and the face-off unit kept that aspect of the game relatively close, I would have thought that is a recipe for success against an ACC team. The fact that UNC blew out SU with those numbers is more than a little bit discouraging. On paper Duke should be clear favorites, but I think with this offense, the Orange have a chance is a lot of games. I think the Duke defense can be exploited but the Orange need to play a lot smarter than they have been. With face-off and defensive struggles, the margins for error are really, really slim.
well done. Since the season began, I have enjoyed watching the new players mature with each game. My heart won't stand the drive to win with which I always root for SU. I questioned the use of Leo in the mids, but his speed and aggressiveness have been revelations. Rhoa appears to be a dangerous outside shooter who is trying to find more fluid paths to the shorter shots. Spallina has run into long sticks who will not succumb to his repeated shoulder to chest thumps. He will find a way to get to the goal, because he is just too good to be denied for long.

As I wrote a few days ago, I do not think SU has the depth of players to beat the ACC teams. So, I would love to see Dwan and Sageder start and play a lot of minutes if only to prime their experience. However, the experienced d men would likely object if it meant they would lose by even more goals. I noted in your essay above that you too are at least thinking about the future. Your remarks reminded me of Duke's close d now covering the other team's best scorer, Wilson Stephenson. He played a lot for Duke his freshman year despite his mistakes. I'm not sure Dwan is his equal, but I think it's worth discovering through extended playing time. Sageder was a ball magnet in hs, a real take away artist. Alexo could use some time off. Let Sageder stay on the field for a while. He'll look bad for a time, maybe give up a goal or two. It could pay off later on. I am not a defeatist, but I think a realistic look at this team shouts for experimentation.
 
Ahh I rewatched the game. NC shot the ball great all game. Murphy got beat he wasn't tired there. Will Mark didn't have one of his better games. Just got beat by UNC. They shot the ball lights out all game long. They have to win one of these UNC games so they lost the first one. Have to win the 2nd one.
 
I definitely think they need Aviles back. Murphy and Rice are on the field to much. To me yes Demarco is a powerful kid but before the half it looked like Murphy was wiped and had nothing for him. He's a tough kid and just got ran thru. Idk enough about lacrosse defense to judge if it's the players or coaching but something is not right defensively. I know enough to see that. I mean are they just not talented enough or are they being asked to do to much? Some of you guys know more then I do so u would know.
Aviles is sorely missed. Any idea on when he's back? I'm concerned as there was chatter that he woulbe back a couple of weeks ago.
 
Since the majority of the talk has been and will be about the defense this week, does anyone have an opinion on Quints take that our defense lacks any ACC level cover man?
 
Since the majority of the talk has been and will be about the defense this week, does anyone have an opinion on Quints take that our defense lacks any ACC level cover man?

I saw that idk I kind of think that's him sticking up for his guy. Cmonn that's pushing it right there. Lol
 
Aviles is sorely missed. Any idea on when he's back? I'm concerned as there was chatter that he woulbe back a couple of weeks ago.

He's been close but not enough to go yet. Let's hope he returns this week.
 
Since the majority of the talk has been and will be about the defense this week, does anyone have an opinion on Quints take that our defense lacks any ACC level cover man?
Olexo currently has more CTs than any player in the ACC (9) and his 16 groundballs has to be close to the highest for any non ACC fogo. He puts the ball on the ground whether its Maryland or Holy Cross. I think he would be in contention for starting LSM at any school let alone ACC. Clary maybe would not be a different ACC team's top cover guy but he would certainly be a candidate to start on other ACC defenses. A healthy Aviles and Rice would also be in contention for time and one of them probably starts on at least one other acc team.
 
Grant not sure who’s red shirting or not. But think should mix it up on defense have some nice promising young talent chuck kucyinski, jordan beck , dwan(beck n dwan both play man down usually). Also the small sample he played last year i like nick fratterrigo has nice speed n decent size while throws poke checks a lot. As stated before with lack of faceoff wins at times play a lot of defense think guys get tired so switch some fresh legs in. Can keep clary and cacameo in while giving kol rest while dwan or beck get some time. Then switch it or run fratterigo at lsm alone with olexo who seems tired by second half not his crazy self. Also haven’t seen much of boela or whatever throw him in more along with rice n murphy. Also during first half when games seem be rather close run fresh offense of legs out saving starters for second half surge if need be.
 
For as much defense we play at times maby some of guys not just tired but fluster and maby breather or min to gather themselves may help. Very young team think have a lot of talent and potential plus never know who that one player can be that just shows up out of no where like a salcido. Also please gait or any cuse player who may read this please try someone else at times at FO. Can’t beat one guy into ground who already may struggle or giving everything has just to battle somewhat. Press out on d also don’t let them get comfy in their sets or make passes and catches without being in their face. Body them up also.
 
I’ve watched a lot of o’neil games and i’ve notice if your right up on him before he even touches ball and when does get it ur right there hammering checks and body him up he loses interest n passes it up. You play off him n he gets what he wants then his confidence goes n that’s it he will own ya. He big boy can’t let him get heard of steam or he can truck people. Play up on him and never stop pressing him he does falter bit n make turnovers. Mcdory it don’t matter with him he will take anyone (kinda love that bout him specially for his size not scared at all) he’s super fast really gotta throw weight on him to slow him down.
 
It does seem like the last two games midway thru the 2nd Q to half the D gets beat the most. Maybe there tired idk.
 
Defense just has been pressing as much these last two games yes def better teams but can’t let these better teams get in rhythm cause they def can snipe and kill ya.
 
I just feel this team has the talent to be very good that if defense can just fix even half of mistakes make and pick up gbs first time not just goosing it not even to anyone. Think this team can be very good. Offense is looking solid not perfect but solid. Mark makes saves specially ones who def should make which didn’t have last year. Not saying this year can be final four but think def tounry team. Just need the right pieces in place. I single out kol cause cacameo n clary got a lot of time last year kol did at times but those two played alot. Not saying it is but possible he needs be odd man out n try someone else with those two. Don’t know.
 
All i’m trying say sometimes it’s the best 3 d guys who play more together then just actual best d guys. Using each guys strengths to form a solid core.
 
Kirst up, Simmons to 1st mid, Leo to 2nd mid.

No changes on D.


LAXDuke.png
 
Kirst up, Simmons to 1st mid, Leo to 2nd mid.

No changes on D.


View attachment 225571

Leo was held scoreless against UNC but demoting him seems a bit harsh. He's been really good this year at initiating the offense, even if what he does, doesn't lead to goals or assists. That said, this might help balance things between initiators/facilitators and finishers. With Kirst on the field at attack perhaps they feel like they can split up the initiators? Now you have two facilitators (Thomson and Simmons / Cook and Leo) with a finisher (Birtwistle / Rhoa) at midfield for each line. I think, if this is true, it's a good balance.
 
Leo was held scoreless against UNC but demoting him seems a bit harsh. He's been really good this year at initiating the offense, even if what he does, doesn't lead to goals or assists. That said, this might help balance things between initiators/facilitators and finishers. With Kirst on the field at attack perhaps they feel like they can split up the initiators? Now you have two facilitators (Thomson and Simmons / Cook and Leo) with a finisher (Birtwistle / Rhoa) at midfield for each line. I think, if this is true, it's a good balance.

Against UNC, Leo stayed on the 1st line and Birt played on the 2nd.
 
Not totally concerned bout offense tho def need some changes and play better whole game. Defense is major concern this week as see naso dominating at Fo. Which would mean a lot of playing defense n potentially a lot of shots at mark. Think be best to switch guy on defense here n there def threw first half keep guys fresh. If gotta take kol out for bit for dwan or beck. Then maby give cacameo breather or even run clary at lsm for short few runs. Hope aviles is back this game will def need him. Like to see bolea play some more if healthy so not just running rice murphy aviles(if back) into ground. Rosa is decent enough to use there also but rice b murphy been playing way to much n gets tired. This is def potentially chance for big W. Let’s go !
 
Think thrown in zone here and there also would help. O’neil def can snipe from outside but feel williams and mcdory arnt outside hammers. Dyson def can finish in tight n has nice handles and mcdory fast can dodge n finish rock also. Caputo,balsimo, Deanzina haven’t seen much outside power from them really ither(not saying non can bury one from outside). Think zone randomly at times could help throw off offense while giving d little less confusing at times or trying to keep up man to man every min of game. Just my opinion.
 

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