If you were given one word to sum up the 2012 College Lacrosse season so far it would have to be “upset”. We are only 5 weeks into this season and we have seen some huge upsets week in and week out. Upsets make great lacrosse, and I love an even playing field rather than a top heavy one.
My varsity high school coach once said, “The sport of lacrosse is so unique because any team can beat any other team on any given day”. I think the results this season have proven this statement to be true, but enough with the reminiscing. Time to get down to business.
This week’s Game of the Week is:
Syracuse vs. Virgina!
I’ll run down FIVE reasons why this game is going to be killer, and these are also five things to watch for. It’s what the game is all about, and guarantees to be a great contest! For the rest of the college lacrosse weekend action, check out our Weekend Preview!
These two teams have a great history together. Their games always bring in big crowds and traditionally, the games have been exciting and fast-paced. These games do well to promote the sport to a larger audience, and Grow The Game. This weekend’s match up will be aired on Sunday afternoon on ESPN. I think the game should draw big number both at the field and on TV.
SU vs UVA games average nearly 20 points per game. Last year Syracuse bested UVA in the early season but Virgina had the last laugh as they went on to win a National Championship when ‘Cuse was knocked off in 2nd round play. Both teams are undefeated coming into this weekend and this game is huge for the rankings. A win is a huge RPI boost for post season tournament and helps get a higher seed. Expect a high scoring slug fest.
Syracuse’s Chris Daddio is winning an outstanding 67% of his face offs, while the two leading Virgina candidates are hoovering right around the 50% mark. For high scoring shoot out games like these, face offs are crucial, and if one team starts loosing a few in a row they can see their team fall behind quickly on the scoreboard as well.
Daddio has the better stats but there is only one of him. If he goes cold, the next leading candidate has only taken 6 draws all season, which means Cuse could be in trouble. Virgina has two players that are taking equal shares which means if one get injured or tanks in this game, they have an quality backup. I’ll give the advantage in this category to SU though, as I think their wing play is slightly better. Syracuse wins 55%.
Goalie play seems to be a recurring theme each week, once again it plays a vital role in this week’s game. SU hasn’t had to worry about a goalie for the past four years and now it is one of the biggest question marks associated with this year’s team. For the first time as long as I can remember, SU is splitting time in the net with two different goalies. Matt Lerman and Dominic Lamolinara have shared equal time in both games so far this season.
Lerman has started in cage for the first games but only played a half in each. Lamolinara has played the 2nd half of each game. Coach Desko might be experimenting with a trial by fire process and whichever goalie starts to slump will see less time throughout the season and vice versa. On the UVA side, Rob Fortunato has four wins under his belt and is stopping nearly 65% of his shots. Fortunato has been a solid replacement for Adam Geltiman this year. I’m giving the advantage to UVA in this category.
Last season’s Tewerraton winner has picked up right where he left off. He is quaterbacking the UVA offense and has a team leading 16 points. On an offense, that I need to remind our readers, is shooting nearly 40%. That is a scary number for the SU defense, which is also a very young SU defense.
Stanwick is getting the job done offensively and creating for his teammates. Chris Bocklet has 10 goals and is shooting nearly 44%. Virgina’s star-studded offense will come out strong against SU’s defense. I think SU’s Brian Megill will get the task to cover Stanwick and it should be a great matchup. It is hard to hold Stanwick to no points so I see Steele getting on the board and carrying the UVA offense.
I think SU’s midfield will the X factor this week. SU has graduated their entire starting midfield from last year, and have brand new faces this year at the midfield line, save Jojo Marasco. Marasco, Luke Commetti and Ryan Barber have been playing well so far this year, but all three will need to have a big game this weekend in order for Syracuse to have success. SU’s offense will put up points because they have the talent, but the midfield will be crucial. UVA’s defensive specialists are some of the best in the nation, and if they shut down SU’s middies the Orange could be in trouble. For SU to have success their first midfield line has to perform, and Lecky probably needs to be more involved as well.
There is a TON of great lacrosse going to be played this weekend, but Sunday at 4 in Charlottesville, Virgina will feature the best matchup. Be sure to check in to watch the game on ESPN. I will be live tweeting during the game with my thoughts, so feel free to comment or tweet me with your ideas, @connors36 If you didn’t know by now! I am a huge ‘Cuse fan and I have to go with my hometown team to win this one. See you on Sunday at 4.