SECOND WIND: Syracuse uses final push to hold off Miami, remain unbeaten

first_imgAn hour before Syracuse faced off against Hofstra, a large contingent of SU players gathered in a tunnel adjacent to the Carrier Dome field and watched a scrimmage between Hofstra and Le Moyne.The SU players weren’t just scouting the two teams they would face later in the day; they were eager to take the field themselves. Eager to begin the process of erasing memories of last season’s heart-breaking national title game loss to Duke.On Saturday — almost eight months to the day since the title game – the Orange began its rehabilitation process with scrimmage wins over Hofstra and Le Moyne. Despite struggling mightily at the faceoff X — which SU did so famously against Duke last May — the Orange defeated Hofstra 12-8 and Le Moyne 15-4.“We spent more time on faceoffs this fall and spring than ever before,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “I wish we would have done a little better versus Hofstra … It was good to see us improve and get better against Le Moyne.”The Orange lost a staggering 27-of-46 total draws, allowing two inferior teams to remain in striking distance.Desko said the Orange has seven players who work on faceoffs at practice. On Saturday, the team used five.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textChris Daddio won 10 of the 19 draws he took on the day, but won only 3-of-8 against Hofstra. Mike Iacono won 2-of-11 against Hofstra and 2-of-6 against Le Moyne.Daddio struggled to begin the Hofstra game before giving way to Iacono with SU ahead 4-2. But the junior transfer from Nassau Community College didn’t fare much better.Daddio credited the slow start to his mentality going into the game. Iacono said it might have been first-game jitters. Desko credited Hofstra freshman Kris Clark, who won 14 of the 19 draws he took.“We knew about him coming off of Long Island as a high school player,” Desko said. “ … Some of it, too, we changed our guys up when we were losing a few, and it’s hard to get into a rhythm when we change our people.”Against Hofstra, the Orange lost 17-of-23 draws.But despite not having the ball to begin possessions, Syracuse was able to capitalize when it did. Kevin Rice recorded five points — one goal and four assists — while Dylan Donahue put up four goals and assisted on Scott Loy’s first-quarter goal.Four different players scored for the Orange in the second half: Billy Ward, Hakeem Lecky, Donahue and Tom Grimm. The team thwarted any chance of a comeback upset.Against Le Moyne, Syracuse fared much better at the X. The Orange won 13-of-23 draws and cruised to an easier victory against its cross-town rival.Iacono began the game at the X, and was better than he was against Hofstra.“My wing help was tremendous,” he said. “They held down for me. I’m completely confident in my wings. Today was the beginning point to working toward the whole season.”Winning more faceoffs resulted in more goals. The Orange won 5-of-7 draws in the first quarter and took a 5-1 lead.In the second half, the Orange won 5-of-8 and allowed just one goal while scoring five.Despite the two victories, the faceoff X will continue to be a topic of discussion for Syracuse as it prepares for its regular-season opener against Siena on Feb. 10.Said Daddio: “We’ve been working a lot this season already, and I think we’ll be fine. We picked it up in the second game and toward the end of the first game, but we can’t start slow like we did. We’ve just got to get into a rhythm.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHasslast_img read more