The Syracuse Orange lost its first ever Big East game 11-10 against the Villanova Wildcats.
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse and Villanova traded blows in the first quarter. Both teams held leads for a good amount of time but the Orange came out on top 4-3 at first break. Syracuse held on to that lead for the second quarter and went into the half up 7-5. Villanova came out strong in the second half. The Wildcats scored 3 unanswered goals to take an 8-7 lead. After the third, it was 9-9. Villanova took a 2 goal lead in the fourth quarter and the Orange couldn’t catch up.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Orange came out in the first half showing improvements on a few things that hadn’t been going right in previous weeks. Syracuse had won 9-of-14 face offs going into the locker room and the offense looked efficient with 7 goals and 24 shots. The second half was a different story. Everything the Orange was doing right, started going wrong. Syracuse grabbed just 2-of-11 face offs in the second half, none of which came in the fourth quarter. The Orange were also less efficient offensively. Coach Desko said after the came that he was frustrated with his offensive players not changing levels on their shots. That was making it easier for the Villanova goal keeper.
STAR GAZING: Tommy Palasek finished the day with 2 goals and 2 assists. He was doing it all out there today but he couldn’t score at the end of the game when the team needed it most. Standing in his way was Villanova’s most valuable player, the goalie, Dan Gutierrez. He finished with 12 saves overall, with 3 crucial ones that came in the fourth quarter.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse’s will play Duke in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic in E. Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, April 1 at 4 p.m. TV: ESPNU.Ben Glidden