Syracuse men’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about Cornell

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 1 Syracuse (8-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) plays its first game as the top-ranked team in the country in nearly two years on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome against unranked Cornell (3-6, 2-2 Ivy). Last time out, the Orange won its fourth consecutive Kraus-Simmons trophy at Hobart, 17-11, breaking its streak of a program-record seven consecutive one-goal games.“We’ve got to get Cornell back for last year,” SU defenseman Scott Firman said before the season. “I never really liked them. My brother played Colgate hockey, so we grew up with a hate for Cornell.”Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup against the Big Red, which has won three of its last four after starting the year 0-5.All-time series: SU leads, 64-36-1Last time they played: Just when Syracuse thought it had played itself out of a rut in 2016, the Orange took its fourth loss in a five-game mid-season stretch that nearly cost SU the postseason. Cornell senior midfielder Ryan Matthews won the game for the Big Red when he beat SU goalie Evan Molloy, making his second-ever start, with 1:23 to go in overtime. Molloy had stopped freshman midfielder Clarke Petterson with six seconds to go in regulation, but not Matthews as he handed Cornell a 10-9 victory at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, New York, on a Tuesday night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse was led by Nick Mariano (four goals), while Dylan Donahue (two), Tim Barber (one), Jordan Evans (one) and Austin Fusco (one) rounded out the scoring. The Orange, despite winning faceoffs (18-4), shots (40-28), turnovers (6-10) and ground balls (23-20), couldn’t escape the Big Red. SU also went 0-for-4 on man-up opportunities.The Big Red report: The Cornell attack is led by freshmen attacks Jeff Teat and Connor Fletcher. Teat, a Brampton, Ontario, native leads the team in goals (19) and assists (21) but Fletcher has provided an unexpected boost with 18 goals and eight assists, both totals are second on the team.“Both of those two are our most consistent offensively,” said Cornell head coach Matt Kerwick. “Connor been a real pleasant surprise. We expected him to be a midfielder. He’s an imposing dodger, a big strong offensive player.”Daily Orange File PhotoSophomore Colton Rupp (15 points) rounds out the attack. The starting midfield of Clarke Petterson (17 points), Jordan Dowiak (15) and Jake McCulloch (11) can all find the back of the net as well. Cornell ranks middle-of-the-pack in every offensive category but the team has shown it can explode at times, like in its March 11 overtime loss to Virginia. The Big Red put up 18 goals and led with 20 seconds to go, only to cough away the game.Freshman faceoff specialist Paul Rasimowicz has won 81-of-172 faceoffs this season, about 47.1 percent. That ranks him 51st of the 69 qualified faceoff men.Defensively, the Big Red has shuffled through its rotation a lot this season but finally found a solid combination. Junior Jack Pulver leads the way, followed by senior Walt Gahagan and freshman Brandon Salvatore. CU has allowed no more than 10 goals in the last four weeks and goalie Christian Knight is playing in his best stretch of the season.“Our defensive midfielders are our strength,” Kerwick said. “We’ve become less slide happy and have made teams get hard angles and shots. … Right now, we feel like we’re starting to play our best lacrosse. We’ll go up there to the Dome and let it fly.”How Cornell beats Syracuse: Cornell enters the Carrier Dome as hot as its been all season with one of its best wins, a 12-9 come-from-behind win at Harvard, just behind it. But there also lies the problem. Syracuse will have six days of rest to Cornell’s three.If the Big Red wants to defeat Syracuse, it must start fast and somehow mount enough of a lead that the Orange won’t be able to wriggle back in. That’s of course difficult because nothing has held down SU all season — its only loss was in overtime — so the Big Red needs to be exceptional against an Orange defense that has recently shut down more fearsome offenses.If Cornell can jump out to an early lead, it will be through draws where Ben Williams has not been his usual dominant self. Though Cornell starts a freshman, the keys are at the X and the defense.“We’ve been riding very well,” Kerwick said. “We changed our approach there, and it’s going to have to be on point to beat Syracuse.”Daily Orange File PhotoCornell has the physical bodies and experience to stress Syracuse. The smallest midfielder is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds and the Big Red ranks 12th in the nation in caused turnovers (8.3 per game) and ninth in ground balls (nearly 33 per game).“Syracuse pulls off these one goal games, so their comfort level is high,” Kerwick said. “We’re going to have to make the uncomfortable in their clearing game, and it just comes down to the ground balls. Who can win those battles? Who’s the more physical team?”Statistics to know:  40 — Number of points Jeff Teat has through nine games, more than anyone on Syracuse94 — Cornell’s percentage of returning points from its upset over Syracuse about a year ago3 — After starting the year 0-5, the Big Red has heated up in the Ivy League and won three of its last four gamesPlayer to watch: Jeff Teat, attack, No. 51The Canadian leads the team in goals and assists, but also in turnovers (23). The up-and-down freshman has learned while being leaned on heavily. He’s also the only Cornell player with more than one man-up goal (3). He’s experienced as the son of a former professional lacrosse player, but no more prolific than other top attacks SU has faced this season, like other lefties in Johns Hopkins’ Shack Stanwick and Notre Dame’s Ryder Garnsey. Comments Published on April 10, 2017 at 10:43 pm Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TRlast_img

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