Virginia Game Preview (4/20/24, 2pm) | Syracusefan.com

Virginia Game Preview (4/20/24, 2pm)

Powellfan

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And just like that ... it's the last game of the regular season. Time flies when you're having fun right? After an up and down four game road trip (2-2), the Orange return home for, hopefully, not the last time this season (round one of the NCAA tournament). They face a difficult challenge in the Virginia Cavaliers, coming off just their second loss of the season to Duke.

UVA is a tricky team. They have perhaps if not the best, then at least one of the best starting offensive in the country. But they have no depth behind their top six (you could make the argument for top 5, as Ryan Colsey hasn't been on the level of the others). I imagine that Riley Figuerias will take Conor Shellenberger, Billy Dwan will be on McCabe Millon and Caden Kol will take Payton Cormier. LSMs will take Griffin Schutz, who is a load offensively. The matchups seem pretty straight forward (you could argue Dwan should take Shellenberger), but of course it's easier said than done when talking about the Cavs, especially Shellenberger. Virginia get scoring from their defensive midfield (Ben Wayer, Joey Terenzi and Noah Chizmar have combined for 23 points), but their highest scoring second line midfielder (Will Cory), has just seven points with just 14 shots. The Orange need to do their best job of taking care of Virginia's "knowns".

Obviously a lot of attention will be on SU's offense, which has just 13 goals in the last six quarters of game time. With Pat March back on the sidelines, you would think that would be a boost for the Orange. To me, the offense this week really needs to go through the midfield - the Orange attack and the Virginia defense couldn't' be more different size wise, with the Cavs towering over the Orange attack. But I think if the Orange can exploit mismatches in the midfield, they can get the Virginia defense moving and score some easy goals. Syracuse needs to value the ball in this game and needs to execute better than they have been. It's hard to know what sort of headspace Matthew Nunes will be in for this one - he didn't make a save against Duke and was pulled after he gave up seven goals, but prior to that he was playing some really good lacrosse - he's at 56% for the season despite the Duke game. Hopefully SU can get to him early and instill some more self doubt.

The biggest question for SU, on offense, is Christian Mule - he's had a rough two games against Cornell and UNC. He had four points in the combined matchups, but finished just 1-14 shooting, which isn't going to get the job done against high level opponents. I'm not entirely sure how to fix the issue, Mule was a player at Lehigh who could be a finisher and a passer - it's strange to me that he can't adapt to the fact that he's now getting a short stick. He's gotten good looks too, perhaps he just needs a few shots to fall and he'll get his confidence back. To me, this is the biggest worry as SU enters post-season play. SU hasn't changed their lineups at all unless it's been due to injury, I think we just have to hope that Mule figures this out. He's been strong earlier in the season, so you know he can produce, he just needs to find his mojo.

The face-off battle should be a good one - UVA's main guy, Anthony Ghobriel, has a 57% winning percentage, but has missed five games this year due to injury. They have a decent back up in Thomas Colluci who is at 54%. The SU duo of Mason Kohn and John Mullen have been playing really well lately, and performed better than expected against UNC last week. Last year UVA started the game against SU up 4-0, with SU registering just one shot, before SU won a face-off. The Orange cant have a repeat of that performance.

With a win, SU could probably wrap up a home game for the NCAA tournament, and further cement itself in the tournament in general. With a loss, they would have the ACC tournament to look forward to, but that would probably make a home game a lot less likely. With a big crowd on hand, and Paul Gait's halftime ceremony, this is a great chance for the Orange to pull off the upset. They'll need a lot to go right, but they have the pieces. Go Orange!
 
It's hard to know what sort of headspace Matthew Nunes will be in for this one - he didn't make a save against Duke and was pulled after he gave up seven goals, but prior to that he was playing some really good lacrosse - he's at 56% for the season despite the Duke game. Hopefully SU can get to him early and instill some more self doubt.
think you meant to say instill some self doubt!

it's cuse week!
 
And just like that ... it's the last game of the regular season. Time flies when you're having fun right? After an up and down four game road trip (2-2), the Orange return home for, hopefully, not the last time this season (round one of the NCAA tournament). They face a difficult challenge in the Virginia Cavaliers, coming off just their second loss of the season to Duke.

UVA is a tricky team. They have perhaps if not the best, then at least one of the best starting offensive in the country. But they have no depth behind their top six (you could make the argument for top 5, as Ryan Colsey hasn't been on the level of the others). I imagine that Riley Figuerias will take Conor Shellenberger, Billy Dwan will be on McCabe Millon and Caden Kol will take Payton Cormier. LSMs will take Griffin Schutz, who is a load offensively. The matchups seem pretty straight forward (you could argue Dwan should take Shellenberger), but of course it's easier said than done when talking about the Cavs, especially Shellenberger. Virginia get scoring from their defensive midfield (Ben Wayer, Joey Terenzi and Noah Chizmar have combined for 23 points), but their highest scoring second line midfielder (Will Cory), has just seven points with just 14 shots. The Orange need to do their best job of taking care of Virginia's "knowns".

Obviously a lot of attention will be on SU's offense, which has just 13 goals in the last six quarters of game time. With Pat March back on the sidelines, you would think that would be a boost for the Orange. To me, the offense this week really needs to go through the midfield - the Orange attack and the Virginia defense couldn't' be more different size wise, with the Cavs towering over the Orange attack. But I think if the Orange can exploit mismatches in the midfield, they can get the Virginia defense moving and score some easy goals. Syracuse needs to value the ball in this game and needs to execute better than they have been. It's hard to know what sort of headspace Matthew Nunes will be in for this one - he didn't make a save against Duke and was pulled after he gave up seven goals, but prior to that he was playing some really good lacrosse - he's at 56% for the season despite the Duke game. Hopefully SU can get to him early and instill some more self doubt.

The biggest question for SU, on offense, is Christian Mule - he's had a rough two games against Cornell and UNC. He had four points in the combined matchups, but finished just 1-14 shooting, which isn't going to get the job done against high level opponents. I'm not entirely sure how to fix the issue, Mule was a player at Lehigh who could be a finisher and a passer - it's strange to me that he can't adapt to the fact that he's now getting a short stick. He's gotten good looks too, perhaps he just needs a few shots to fall and he'll get his confidence back. To me, this is the biggest worry as SU enters post-season play. SU hasn't changed their lineups at all unless it's been due to injury, I think we just have to hope that Mule figures this out. He's been strong earlier in the season, so you know he can produce, he just needs to find his mojo.

The face-off battle should be a good one - UVA's main guy, Anthony Ghobriel, has a 57% winning percentage, but has missed five games this year due to injury. They have a decent back up in Thomas Colluci who is at 54%. The SU duo of Mason Kohn and John Mullen have been playing really well lately, and performed better than expected against UNC last week. Last year UVA started the game against SU up 4-0, with SU registering just one shot, before SU won a face-off. The Orange cant have a repeat of that performance.

With a win, SU could probably wrap up a home game for the NCAA tournament, and further cement itself in the tournament in general. With a loss, they would have the ACC tournament to look forward to, but that would probably make a home game a lot less likely. With a big crowd on hand, and Paul Gait's halftime ceremony, this is a great chance for the Orange to pull off the upset. They'll need a lot to go right, but they have the pieces. Go Orange!

As always great stuff. I haven't had the time to do my usual war and peace breakdown but I think you touched on most of the pertinent points.

I don't love that Nunes was pulled versus Duke, I suspect he will be absolutely locked in on Sat, it's how these things usually go. UVA defense is solid but they do struggle at times with teams who excel at ball movement ( see the Hopkins game). If you try to ISO them to death you get what happened to UNC, shut down. Their close defenders have the size and ability to win a lot of 1 on 1 matchups. UVA's short sticks are solid but not as good defensively as they have been in the past (the Harvard transfer being the exception for the most part). Duke surprisingly actually from what I saw had success attacking through the attack and using ISO's or O'Neil just out muscling/talenting his defender. SU doesn't have the personnel to do that and that's not a shot at our attackmen but they aren't similar players to O'Neil or Zawada.

The concern about Mule is valid, UVA will likely try and short him with Yager. If he can't snap out of this two + game funk by the early 2nd SU has to look to switch things up. I know Gait has been slower to switch things up then Desko (who would have thought that was possible). but the team can't afford another 1 for 9 shooting performance with 4 turnovers and expect to win Saturday. SU also needs to find away to Keep Hiltz producing through both halves. Him having a great 1st half is great but two straight games he's been MIA in the 2nd. Gotta keep him involved. Leo and Rhoa need to show up Sat to, they were both way to quiet on Sat, ditto Birt. We should be inverting these guys and freeing up Joey to play out front and take some of the pressure to dodge off Mule who is clearly struggling. I suspect we will see a lot of skip passes on Sat and Joey maybe asked to dodge more then normal to force that slide and start spinning the ball.

Thomson has been playing pretty well the last few games and that outside shot is finally showing up. Still has issues finishing in close (with his box background it's beyond surprising) but good to see him getting back on track. Overall the offense needs a complete game. Still having that quarter + where they just look absolutely lost and can't seem to score no matter what the matchup or situation. I am sure it will happen Sat at some point but we have to minimize it to a few possession versus 15 min+.

Defensively UVA is a hard team to match up with for obvious reasons. As Powell noted though UVA's 2nd mid line has struggled for the most part and UVA hasn't been able to just throw wave after wave of 4 and 5 star middies against their opponents. To combat that UVA loves to score in transition and their SSDM's and Long poles wont hesitate to push it or score. Wayer, Chizmar and Terenzi will let it rip and UVA loves to push transition. If you want to beat UVA you have to limit transition.

From a matchup standpoint I would lean to Dwan on Shellenberger. Riley did a decent job last week but has struggled with speed a guys this year and Duffy got him a few times on Sat. I would give the matchup to Dwan and see what he can do, he's shown an ability to stay with teams top attackmen and Shellenberger is also the clear QB of the offense. Cormier is apparently not 100% and Duke used a shorty on him at time last week with some success. I don't think SU is likely to go down their road but it's something to think about especially if he's still hobbled. Kol has done a pretty good job on very good finishers so he's probably the matchup here but he needs to be slow to slide, can't leave him open for free and clear looks, full stop. Fig on Milon is a matchup I think SU can win. Milon has been very good this year but the rigor of a first college season maybe taking a toal. Certainly don't expect him to be shut out but I thin Fig could limit him if that's the matchup.

Keep an eye on Coach O playing some zone on Saturday. UVA's Achilles heal is a lack of outside shooting this year. Duke packed things in last Sat and UVA struggled to connect from outside and turned it over trying to feed the crease. The one issue with a zone is you have to watch Cormier like a hawk and Shellenberger as both have good mid range shooting game Cormier especially. I don't think SU will run it as a major defense but I suspect we will see it more then normal.

Faceoffs will be key, UVA has two solid guys and I think won the battle against Naso last week. Kohn and Mullen more then held their own last week against Wambach holding him down to 50%. SU was a mess against UVA at the X last year, 50% or above is a must on Saturday and more then doable.

This is a tough game to get a read on. UVA is very good and has shown they can score against good and very good defenses ie Ohio State, Richmond, Maryland etc. They also have periods where against so/so defenses where they struggle for long stretches ie Harvard and Duke. I think SU matches up decently though Schutz and Boyden are a concern especially Boyden on a SSDM other then Rice. SU maybe tempted to double pole though I don't love Cormier on a short even if it's Rice. Schutz has caused SU a lot of problems over the years, Olexxo needs to be on his game, I thought our SSDMs played fairly well last game, they will need another big game as UVA's middies will try and dodge to the cage versus attacking outside shots (save for Schutz). Colsey and SU's 2nd SSDM will be a matchup to watch, can't afford for a guy averaging essentially a goal game to have 3+. Again as Powell noted its about slowing down the knowns. SU did that against Cornell and UNC in the 1st halves but struggled in the 2nd halves of both games. Have to force UVA's 1st and 2nd midfields to beat us versus Shellenberger and Cormier going off for 12 pts combined.

If SU is going to win this game they will need a strong 4th quarter. A repeat of the last two games in the 4th will result in a 5+ goal loss. I saved my most beat to death complaint for last. SU has to I repeat has to find a way to counter UVA's ride and 10 man. Again clearing was an absolute adventure and at times nightmare last week. Were gonna see a 10 man a decent amount of the time Sat, we have to have an answer and ability to break it in the second half especially after the last two dismal performances.
 
As always great stuff. I haven't had the time to do my usual war and peace breakdown but I think you touched on most of the pertinent points.

I don't love that Nunes was pulled versus Duke, I suspect he will be absolutely locked in on Sat, it's how these things usually go. UVA defense is solid but they do struggle at times with teams who excel at ball movement ( see the Hopkins game). If you try to ISO them to death you get what happened to UNC, shut down. Their close defenders have the size and ability to win a lot of 1 on 1 matchups. UVA's short sticks are solid but not as good defensively as they have been in the past (the Harvard transfer being the exception for the most part). Duke surprisingly actually from what I saw had success attacking through the attack and using ISO's or O'Neil just out muscling/talenting his defender. SU doesn't have the personnel to do that and that's not a shot at our attackmen but they aren't similar players to O'Neil or Zawada.

The concern about Mule is valid, UVA will likely try and short him with Yager. If he can't snap out of this two + game funk by the early 2nd SU has to look to switch things up. I know Gait has been slower to switch things up then Desko (who would have thought that was possible). but the team can't afford another 1 for 9 shooting performance with 4 turnovers and expect to win Saturday. SU also needs to find away to Keep Hiltz producing through both halves. Him having a great 1st half is great but two straight games he's been MIA in the 2nd. Gotta keep him involved. Leo and Rhoa need to show up Sat to, they were both way to quiet on Sat, ditto Birt. We should be inverting these guys and freeing up Joey to play out front and take some of the pressure to dodge off Mule who is clearly struggling. I suspect we will see a lot of skip passes on Sat and Joey maybe asked to dodge more then normal to force that slide and start spinning the ball.

Thomson has been playing pretty well the last few games and that outside shot is finally showing up. Still has issues finishing in close (with his box background it's beyond surprising) but good to see him getting back on track. Overall the offense needs a complete game. Still having that quarter + where they just look absolutely lost and can't seem to score no matter what the matchup or situation. I am sure it will happen Sat at some point but we have to minimize it to a few possession versus 15 min+.

Defensively UVA is a hard team to match up with for obvious reasons. As Powell noted though UVA's 2nd mid line has struggled for the most part and UVA hasn't been able to just throw wave after wave of 4 and 5 star middies against their opponents. To combat that UVA loves to score in transition and their SSDM's and Long poles wont hesitate to push it or score. Wayer, Chizmar and Terenzi will let it rip and UVA loves to push transition. If you want to beat UVA you have to limit transition.

From a matchup standpoint I would lean to Dwan on Shellenberger. Riley did a decent job last week but has struggled with speed a guys this year and Duffy got him a few times on Sat. I would give the matchup to Dwan and see what he can do, he's shown an ability to stay with teams top attackmen and Shellenberger is also the clear QB of the offense. Cormier is apparently not 100% and Duke used a shorty on him at time last week with some success. I don't think SU is likely to go down their road but it's something to think about especially if he's still hobbled. Kol has done a pretty good job on very good finishers so he's probably the matchup here but he needs to be slow to slide, can't leave him open for free and clear looks, full stop. Fig on Milon is a matchup I think SU can win. Milon has been very good this year but the rigor of a first college season maybe taking a toal. Certainly don't expect him to be shut out but I thin Fig could limit him if that's the matchup.

Keep an eye on Coach O playing some zone on Saturday. UVA's Achilles heal is a lack of outside shooting this year. Duke packed things in last Sat and UVA struggled to connect from outside and turned it over trying to feed the crease. The one issue with a zone is you have to watch Cormier like a hawk and Shellenberger as both have good mid range shooting game Cormier especially. I don't think SU will run it as a major defense but I suspect we will see it more then normal.

Faceoffs will be key, UVA has two solid guys and I think won the battle against Naso last week. Kohn and Mullen more then held their own last week against Wambach holding him down to 50%. SU was a mess against UVA at the X last year, 50% or above is a must on Saturday and more then doable.

This is a tough game to get a read on. UVA is very good and has shown they can score against good and very good defenses ie Ohio State, Richmond, Maryland etc. They also have periods where against so/so defenses where they struggle for long stretches ie Harvard and Duke. I think SU matches up decently though Schutz and Boyden are a concern especially Boyden on a SSDM other then Rice. SU maybe tempted to double pole though I don't love Cormier on a short even if it's Rice. Schutz has caused SU a lot of problems over the years, Olexxo needs to be on his game, I thought our SSDMs played fairly well last game, they will need another big game as UVA's middies will try and dodge to the cage versus attacking outside shots (save for Schutz). Colsey and SU's 2nd SSDM will be a matchup to watch, can't afford for a guy averaging essentially a goal game to have 3+. Again as Powell noted its about slowing down the knowns. SU did that against Cornell and UNC in the 1st halves but struggled in the 2nd halves of both games. Have to force UVA's 1st and 2nd midfields to beat us versus Shellenberger and Cormier going off for 12 pts combined.

If SU is going to win this game they will need a strong 4th quarter. A repeat of the last two games in the 4th will result in a 5+ goal loss. I saved my most beat to death complaint for last. SU has to I repeat has to find a way to counter UVA's ride and 10 man. Again clearing was an absolute adventure and at times nightmare last week. Were gonna see a 10 man a decent amount of the time Sat, we have to have an answer and ability to break it in the second half especially after the last two dismal performances.
The only guy I feel comfortable clearing is Carter Rice. He has the speed to blow by ppl and when he's stuck he always makes a smart pass. Others seem to get rattled when they get swarmed. Maybe Hottle with his speed can help. I really hope they worked on the 10 man every day at practice this week. Could be the difference in the game. Worth spending a lil time each day on it. We shall see we can only hope they cleared up this issue.
 
No talking trash this time. Our game against Duke has been discussed enough.
 
after 2 games cav's avg an amazing 40 ground balls per game. (su 28).
 
He has the speed to blow by ppl and when he's stuck he always makes a smart pass. Others seem to get rattled .
need another matt abbot (nottingham) type for the easy 1 man clear. matt the rabbit. speed. smarts.
 
No talking trash this time. Our game against Duke has been discussed enough.
That sounds sort of lame. How is this going to become a good rivalry without some trash talk?

I guess you are getting older as am I. I am not even getting it going for this week's Maryland game against the douchebags at homewood in front of their sh**head fans with their dum-azz band.
 
That sounds sort of lame. How is this going to become a good rivalry without some trash talk?

I guess you are getting older as am I. I am not even getting it going for this week's Maryland game against the douchebags at homewood in front of their sh**head fans with their dum-azz band.
Whoa... hold on there pardner. If you were fielding the 2022 iteration of Terp's lax... you'd "have it going." Let's not blame age.
 
It would be super awesome to come out toma with a win. Not only for what would do or help cuse in playoff (seed n making it) of course, but would really be great thing for paul gait to witness them winning on day he’s honored n maby even moral boost. I hope they come out fierce and ready reaching that next level of play been waiting for. Seems the last few things we have had at dome or honoring alumni we didn’t have great success (understand teams weren’t as strong as this year) but would just really be nice for paul and even gary gait to witness and enjoy a top 5 win again at the dome.
 
You never know what's up with Lars. A few years ago, he pulled Alex Rode for Burkinshaw and then pulled Burkinshaw, doing a week to week competition or so he claimed.

I'm expecting Nunes to be at full strength tomorrow.
 
Bad day to be a Cavalier. Cuse by 90.
ready-laughing-hysterically.gif
 

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