Notebook: Takeaways from men’s lacrosse weekend scrimmages and more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In a series of tune-up games for its regular season, Syracuse hosted Hofstra and Vermont at the Ensley Athletic Center on Sunday in round-robin scrimmages. The Orange cruised past Hofstra, 17-3, in three periods with no reporters in attendance before playing Vermont in the afternoon in front of local media. SU played to a 10-5 lead in the first two frames against the Catamounts playing mainly starters, but with the reserves in for the final period, Vermont closed the score to 11-10.Syracuse starts its regular season on Feb. 7 against Colgate in the Carrier Dome. Here are some takeaways from the weekend scrimmages and also what to expect for SU’s home opener.New offense, similar lookMuch of what Syracuse ran offensively against Vermont resembled looks it had last year too, when it scored the second-most goals per game in the ACC (12.86). Pat March isn’t radically overhauling the Orange’s system, instead just making small tweaks, at least for now. The main difference is the angle of attack, with SU playing less top-down and more from the wings.“We’re just playing closer to the goal,” Brendan Curry, SU’s only preseason All-ACC midfielder, said after the scrimmage. “Getting our hands free more, moving it behind, trying to just change the direction of the ball as much as we can.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHere are a couple examples from last season where you see the top-down approach to attacking: Published on January 28, 2020 at 10:26 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder center_img Notice how far away Jamie Trimboli starts his dodge against Albany in the second video. He’s not even at the 35-yard line on the football field. The same thing happens in the first clip against North Carolina. And then when Stephen Rehfuss grabs the ball, he takes a few steps back before starting his dodge. This year, the Orange are staying much more compact, and the area in front of the crease is usually occupied by at least one player. It generates a clog-and-confusion effect in the middle.Last year, much of the creation on offense came from Curry dodging from the top of the box and coming downhill with speed. Now that role is more on Tucker Dordevic, who missed all of last year with an ankle injury. When Dordevic is not on the field, Rehfuss becomes SU’s wing-dodger, but unlike last year they’re both coming in from closer to the goal.Dordevic, who’s “the guy” for Syracuse this season according to ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra, was all over the field on Sunday. He dodged from the wing, the top of the box and was engaged off the ball with sharp cutting.Griffin Cook is also featured more in the offense from behind the cage and with more freedom to improvise. He’s actively looking to come out from behind the crease and draw slides or find the open player at the restraining line. In transition on Sunday, Cook scored on a wraparound attempt he tucked past Vermont’s goalie. Head coach John Desko said after the game that Cook is looking more like the player he recruited in high school.Generally, the Orange are more free-wheeling and run fewer sets. Delayed cuts through the middle were popular and used effectively by Trimboli and Dordevic to score goals. Dordevic picked out different players to basically play as a point guard and relied on pick-and-pops to get open shots for his teammates as the defense slid and doubled. With the attention that both Dordevic and Chase Scanlan draw, similar plays with the two of them could become a go-to play down the stretch to create openings.At media day on Jan. 7, Desko said the Orange plan to use the new No. 22 primarily as a finisher and in two-man-game situations. There wasn’t much of either against Vermont. He didn’t appear on the scoresheet against the Catamounts and played centrally on offense for most of the game after recording a goal and an assist against Hofstra.Curry’s role in the new offense isn’t clear. He was the only Orange midfield or attack tabbed to the Inside Lacrosse preseason All-ACC team, but on this SU team, there’s a multitude of playmaking options. He did finish with six points on the day with a goal and five assists. He played mostly at the top of the box but did venture into the wings as the offense remained fluid. But he’s not getting these types of looks anymore:Transition tanksFollowing a faceoff in the first quarter, short-stick midfielder Peter Dearth picked up the ground ball but was immediately trapped by three Vermont players. He took a step, threw his head and shoulder into the chest of one Catamount with a growl before shaking off the other two with long, galloping strides. A pass to Andrew Helmer resulted in a Syracuse goal in transition. Soon after, Brett Kennedy made a stop and turned up field, speeding across half. His pass to Rehfuss would lead to another shot on goal, this time stopped by the Vermont goalie.Both Dearth and Kennedy will be key for the Orange on both ends of the field. Both are aggressive, athletic and fast — great for transition. Carcaterra compared Dearth at the short-stick midfield position to a cornerback in football that can press. It allows the rest of the defense to worry about other threats. Kennedy showed he can become a shut-down close defender, rarely getting beat one-on-one in the scrimmage against Vermont.“I’d say he (Kennedy) came in very raw, just a raw athlete similar to how I did,” redshirt senior Nick Mellen said at media day. “And he’s just fitting in our system, he’s fine-tuning at this point. His athleticism’s there.”Injury/redshirt notes– Scanlan iced his foot after the Vermont scrimmage and looked to be walking with a slight limp throughout. He was not available to the media after the game, but a team official said Scanlan’s foot isn’t a major concern moving forward.– Dami Oladunmoye did not play in either scrimmage with an illness, but he has regained academic eligibility after losing all of 2019. Desko said Oladunmoye should be back for the opener against Colgate.– David Lipka didn’t play with an undisclosed injury, but Desko said he expects Lipka back for the opener.– Jack Kennedy is out, likely for the season, with an upper body injury.– Per Desko, freshmen faceoff men Gavin Kline and Luke Talago will likely redshirt.Lineup notes– Jakob Phaup and Danny Varello split the majority of the faceoffs, like last year. Varello went 8-18 across the two games while Phaup was 8-14.– Brett Kennedy was moved from long-stick midfield to play close defense alongside Nick DiPietro and Nick Mellen against Vermont.– Curry, Trimboli and Dordevic should make up one midfield line.– Scanlan will likely play attack alongside Rehfuss and Cook. Commentslast_img