The game was never really close. Syracuse jumped out to a 13-0 lead before Binghamton ever scored in the eventual 21-4 win over the Bearcats. The offense looked stellar, the defense comfortable, but it was the middle of the field that won the day for the Orange.
“Danny [Varello] gave us a bunch of possessions,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “We came to play. We looked like we were in mid-season form.”
Syracuse dominated Binghamton in all facets of play, but most notably in the faceoff circle. The Orange won 24 of 29 faceoffs throughout the game, keeping the ball in the Bearcats end for most of the contest. Sophomore Dan Varello started in the circle, winning 15 of his 17 encounters. Varello was quick to give credit elsewhere.
“The wings played really well,” he said. “I have to recognize my wings.”
SU dominated ground balls on the afternoon 43-13, and the wings in the faceoffs were a big part of that. Midfielder Luke Schwasnick had three on his own, while Varello had nine.
“There weren’t too many clean faceoffs today,” Varello said. “[The wings] playing well takes the pressure off me.”
Varello found a lot of success against a Binghamton team that gave Syracuse a tough game last year in a narrow 9-8 win for the Orange. He was stepping into the void left by Ben Williams, the best FOGO in Syracuse lacrosse history.
Williams recorded 669 wins in the circles in his three years with the Orange, the most ever at the school. He also won an astounding 61 percent of his attempts.
Williams now plays for the Chesapeake Bayhawks in Major League Lacrosse as the faceoff man. He won 161 faceoffs this season in 310 attempts. That was the fourth-best rate in the league.
Varello entered the season with just 24 faceoff wins to his name. In his defense, he only had 46 opportunities last year. He could surpass that mark with another good performance next week against Albany.
As a result of the Syracuse dominance in the faceoff circle, the offense feasted on extra possessions. The Orange out-shot the Bearcats 53-19, with 32 on target. It kept the defense fresh and limited the amount of shots that goalie Don Madonna had to face in the contest.
“We took care of what we could take care of today,” Desko said. “That’s great to see this early in the season.”
Syracuse next takes the field against Albany on Saturday back in the Carrier Dome.