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Syracuse Starts Hot, Loyoloa Wakes Up and UMass Better Get Some Recognition

Jovan Miller and the Orange took it to Denver 13-7
Jovan Miller and the Orange took it to Denver 13-7

Syracuse came out firing on all cylinders on Sunday as they defeated the Denver Pioneers 13-7.  There were many things that were hidden to the average fan in this game.  The defense was superb.  John Lade was his usual All-American self shutting down Denver's top attackman Alex Demopolous and holding him to just one assist.  Lade did a great job following Demopolous as the attackman likes to dodge off-ball and try and get open that way.

Lade also picked up two groundballs and earned All Big East honors this past week.  While Brian Megill and Thomas Guadagnolo's names dont show up on the stat sheet, the two played just fine for Lelan Rogers and the Syracuse Orange defense.  Megill did get beat by attackman Mark Matthews (2 goals, 1 assist) but the team defense was solid all around.

Lost in the game was the fact that the Orange dominated the face-off X on Sunday, 17-7.  Senior Jeremy Thompspon was exceptional at the X going 11-14.  Thompson scooped up five assists and did a great job getting the ball out to Joel White and Jovan Miller on the wings, who are two of the best wing players in the county.

"Faceoffs certainly looked great," said Syracuse play by play announcer Brian Higgins.  "Have to give a lot of the credit to Joel [White] and Jovan [Miller] on the wings.  Jeremy [Thompson] won a lot more of his faceoffs out to the wings than he did last year, didn't try to pop it straight forward nearly as much, though did do that once successfully."

John Galloway played just fine in net and made eight saves.  With a 6-2 lead after one and a 7-3 lead entering halftime, the Orange never led up.  Jojo Marasco played very well in his #22 debut.  Marasco had two goals and two assists on the day.  Senior attackman Stephen Keogh also added four points and added a rare goal from about ten yards out.  Third attackman Tim Desko added two goals, one of which was a highlight reel goal.

The top midfield unit of Thompson, Josh Amidon and Jovan Miller combined for five goals.  Pete Coleman and Tom Palasek each looked good coming off the bench.  Palasek added two assists and looks like he will fit in just fine for Coach Desko and the Orange. 

As for the Loyola Greyhounds, it was a tale of two halves.  Trailing 7-2 at halftime, the Greyhounds looked out of it.  But Loyola held Navy scoreless for just over 28 minutes in which they were able to rattle off five goals to tie the game and eventually beat Navy 9-8.  Attackman Mike Sawyer led the Greyhounds with three goals.  The Greyhounds also won 21 of 24 groundballs in the second half.

There is something about the Greyhounds though that just doesnt do it for me.  They play too soft--always have and always will.  Navy isnt a bad team by any means but if you find yourself in game like this against a Syracuse or Virginia, those two teams will run away with the game and never look back.  Its still very early in the season, but I do not trust Loyola.  Lets see how they fare against Towson next weekend in an in state matchup.  Towson is coming off a 10-6 loss to Johns Hopkins.

Lastly, how about UMass?  Is this the year they make a name for themselves?  Is this the year we see them make it past the first round and further?  A big 8-5 win over Army and then a nice win over a scrappy Hartford squad 14-10, proves to me that the Minutemen can score.  Defense will be a challenge for them in 2011.  They held a good Army team to only five goals but then came back and gave up 10 to Hartford so its still a little too early to tell. 

I like the UMass offense though.  The attack unit of Art Kell and Will Manny give coach Greg Cannella and formidable 1-2 punch.  Kell chipped in with two goals and five assists against Hartford. 

2011 should be a very exciting year in the CAA as the UMass/Hofstra battle will be intriguing throughout the year.  Dont count out Jeff Tamrboni's Penn State squad either.  Penn St. beat Binghamton 9-7 this weekend and Tambroni got the monkey off his shoulder with his first win in Happy Valley.