MLAX : Virginia attack unit exerts its power on Syracuse defense in 2nd half of Orange loss

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — After a valiant defensive performance had Syracuse leading by two goals at halftime, Virginia came out in the second half and adjusted the game’s tempo to a laborious pace.Less than five minutes into the second half, the Cavaliers’ hustle took its toll on the Orange.‘Their middies seemed to outhustle us going from defense to offense, and that’s one of the things we need to work on getting back in the hole,’ SU defender Brian Megill said. ‘They had a lot of transition goals, they were almost flawless on the clears and I think we rode very well.’In Syracuse’s first test against an explosive attack, the defense weathered the storm early. But it caved in the second half as the No. 1 Cavaliers (5-0) defeated the No. 6 Orange (2-1) 14-10 in Klöckner Stadium on Sunday. Virginia’s multifaceted attack caught fire in the second half — benefiting from a command of ground balls — to overcome a three-goal deficit and take control.The Cavaliers dominated Syracuse in ground balls with a 42-21 margin and won 20-of-28 faceoffs.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textVirginia got on the board quickly with two goals less than three minutes into the opening quarter, but SU’s defense buckled down. Megill was charged with defending last year’s Tewaaraton Trophy winner and Virginia’s leading scorer Steele Stanwick, and he hampered him for the entire first half.Stanwick did his best to create from behind the net, but Megill closed him out in front of the crease time after time.Stanwick’s frustration mounted after SU took a 6-3 lead. After Virginia won the faceoff, Owen Van Arsdale carried the ball behind the cage. He threw a pass to Stanwick, but he took his eyes off the pass and the ball rolled out of bounds.‘I thought (Megill) did a great job one-on-one with Stanwick,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘The ball goes through him quite a bit, and he finds open people even when they dodge. They like to throw it to him to distribute the ball, and I thought he did a good job on him, especially one-on-one.’Stanwick did not register a point until the final minute of the half when he finally caught SU’s defense flatfooted with a fake pass behind the cage. The Orange shifted the wrong way, and Stanwick found Colin Briggs slicing to the net for an easy goal.Then Virginia mounted a comeback. A minute into the third quarter, the Orange could not pick up a ground ball in the attacking zone. The ball rolled out in front of the goal, and UVa midfielder Chris Clements cleaned up the ground ball to cut Syracuse’s lead to one.Virginia attack Chris Bocklet later put away a goal in the crease after SU goaltender Matt Lerman failed to cover up a rebound to the left side of the net to push Virginia out in front 8-6.The goal was part of a 5-0 run by the Cavaliers as they continued to capitalize on SU’s mistakes.‘There were a few. I tried to cover them up, but there was one, I don’t know who it was, but they flicked it back in the crease,’ Lerman said. ‘That’s the nature of the game. I’ve got to make some bigger saves. My job is to not let them have the ball back after I make a save, and they took advantage of that.’Although Syracuse was able to defend the Cavaliers in settled situations, the defense struggled to maintain its composure during frenetic chances. Virginia scored two goals directly off faceoffs in the second half.And the Cavaliers continuously battered the Orange defense with quality shots in the second half, picking up seven more ground balls and finding room in transition to dissect the defense.After containing the dynamic attack for the entirety of the first half, Virginia’s frustration turned into jubilation as the attack quickly gained momentum and overwhelmed SU with 10 goals in the second half to cruise to victory.‘Virginia is a very good team, and they came out in the second half, and they knew they had to take it to us and they did that,’ Lerman said. ‘They had a few more turnovers in the second half, and you’ve got to credit Virginia’s offense for taking advantage of them.’adtredin@syr.edu Published on March 4, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img read more