Item: For the second straight week Syracuse fell behind an ACC opponent having to scratch and claw to come back in the third and fourth quarters. It worked against Duke on March 24 in a 9-8 last-minute escape, but SU ran out of time last weekend on the road after giving up 11 first half goals at Notre Dame.
Slow starts have been a theme in two of the three defeats for the now 11th ranked Orange (5-3, 1-2), and it started right out of the gate with an 0-1 record after a loss to the ‘gate, following Colgate shocking SU 12-9 in the season opener back on Feb. 8.
The unevenness of playing a 60 minute game has hurt the ‘Cuse in all three defeats, all coming in ACC play. Against Virginia on March 2 it was the inability to hold a four goal lead, the Cavaliers storming back with a 6-1 run in the fourth quarter and winning in overtime 15-14.
Duke and Notre Dame had large leads before Syracuse started winning faceoffs, got into an offensive flow, communicated well on defense, and minimized turnovers and penalties to stage comebacks. It’s not a trend the coaching staff wants to see continue.
“We’re banging our heads against the wall, we cannot figure that out,” head coach John Desko said after the first road game of the season last weekend.
“The attitude is good, Desko continued. “We know this is a big game, we have to play well coming into Notre Dame, and it didn’t happen. We’re really trying to figure that out. We got the second half figured out, now we’ve got to figure out what the first half is.”
Time is of the essence to get off to a quick start with hungry 20th ranked Hobart (8-1) sitting and waiting in Geneva Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. ET / HWSAthletics.com). The Statesmen, who have only lost to No. 10 Cornell, are more than eager to wrestle back possession of the Kraus-Simmons trophy after six years.