MLAX : Friars plan similar stalling tactics in rematch with Syracuse

first_img Published on April 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img The last time Syracuse played Providence, the Orange felt more frustration than anything else. Despite winning the game, SU couldn’t hide its feelings about the way the Friars played.‘That’s not the way you want to play lacrosse,’ SU goaltender John Galloway said last year after that game. ‘There’s no beating around the bush. That’s not lacrosse, what we played today.’Galloway and Syracuse (9-1, 2-0 Big East) will head to Foxboro, Mass., on Saturday (4 p.m., Time Warner Sports) to play Providence (3-7, 0-2) at Gillette Stadium, finally getting its chance to get rid of any of those lingering feelings of frustration. The frustration was brought on by the Friars’ stalling offensive game plan — and almost complete abandonment of offense — in the first period. And if the Friars have to do it again to slow SU down, they’ll have no problem doing so.Down 3-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter last season, Providence midfielder Jake Nolan stood behind the net with the ball in his stick and never moved. The Friars stopped passing and dodging, choosing instead to drain the clock rather than risk losing possession and digging into a deeper hole. The Orange was in complete command, and Providence head coach Chris Burdick knew he had to slow it down.‘I think that’s what you saw last year,’ Burdick said in a phone interview Wednesday. ‘The tempo of the game was starting to get out of control, and we felt that if we could keep a 3-0 score going into the second quarter, we’d have a much better chance to win than if we let them keep rolling on us.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor a brief time, the Friars were successful. They scored three times in the second period, but a series of SU runs in the second half let the Orange pull away for an easy 14-5 win. Burdick said teams familiar with his coaching style would know that when Providence is down, it’ll hold the ball and take back the pace of the game for as long as it can.For Burdick, the game plan worked, as it kept the Orange from having extra possessions. On Saturday, Burdick said that’ll be the key for the Friars again.‘They’re extremely dynamic, and they have a lot of weapons and a lot of talent, and they go really deep,’ Burdick said of Syracuse. ‘The first thing that jumps off the page to you is possessions, winning possessions and winning faceoffs.’The theme of controlling possessions will take precedence once again from the start. That’s especially true, considering the Orange is outscoring its opponents 39-20 in the first quarter of its games. And Providence has struggled early all season, being outscored 23-13 in the first period.Burdick called it a ‘perfect storm.’ One team’s dominance is another team’s constant struggle. Although for Syracuse, that’s still not a reason to look at this game as an easy win. After SU fell to Cornell on Tuesday, head coach John Desko emphasized that any opponent can be a threat if his players aren’t focused in practice or going into the game.‘We can’t approach our next game like that,’ Desko said. ‘I think one of the things that we’ll get out of this is the guys need to come in really focused for practice. And I think, as coaches, we’ve got them to understand who our next opponent is.’That next opponent is a team ready to take control of the game as soon as it gets the opportunity. Against Cornell, SU came out slowly. It didn’t match the Big Red’s hustle or intensity. Providence is not Cornell, but if SU overlooks it too much, it may find itself in another game of catch-up. Like it did last year, the Friars will look to do what they believe is necessary to have a chance to win.If Saturday goes the way the whole season has gone for Syracuse, Providence will only bring its best. The Friars will do anything they need to do to score, including holding onto the ball to limit SU’s possessions. Syracuse might be the favorite, but it’s still looking to make adjustments the next time it takes the field.Or else that frustration will only continue.‘Every team we get, we get their best game,’ SU attack JoJo Marasco said. ‘We’re going to have to come out and play with more excitement and pick up our game a little bit.’[email protected]last_img read more