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A few thoughts from the Big City Classic

First off let me apologize for not posting on the site during the two games like I said I would.  The internet was very spotty at the New Meadowlands and I would lose it every two minutes.  I tried my best to update you all via Twitter as much as possible.

Took in the games with former Syracuse Orange midfielder John Carrozza (also a writer for College Crosse) and liked what I saw from all four teams (UNC, Hopkins, Duke and Syracuse) and I will tell you why.

First off, we saw two of the nicest goals all season yesterday, as Billy Bitter broke ankles and beat Pierce Bassett falling down:

And, Stephen Keoghs around the world goal was the highlight of the night.  Wish I could find a video to show all of you who missed it.  The hands and patience Keogh showed on that play was simply unreal. 

Johns Hopkins Matt Dolente: This kid simply dominated Sunday from the face-off X going 16-22, setting a career high and helping the Blue Jays play their style in the second half. 

Hopkins Defense: Glaude and I went back and forth debating and asking all of you who to slow down if you are the Blue Jays.  They completely shut down Nicky Galasso (just one assist).  So to answer the question, Hopkins chose to slow down Galasso, who has been the catalyst of the offense the entire year.

Now I also said that this would be a game where Billy Bitter must step up.  He was playing only about an hour from his hometown of Manhassett, NY and always plays big in front of the big crowds.  Bitter scored four goals and former All-American midfielder Steven Brooks tweeted midway through the game that Bitter is the best player at their respected position in the nation.

With that being said, the Blue Jays were able to shut down Galasso and slow down Jimmy Dunster and Marcus Holman.  Coach Dave Pietramala decided to put a pole on Holman, something no other team in the country has done.  Bassett didn't have to stand on his head but he made the saves you would expect and came up big in the final minute stopping Dunster on the Heel's final possession. 

Player of the Game John Ranagan: The Yorktown,NY native was playing in front of friends and family and came alive for the Blue Jays.  Three goals and an assist for the sophomore, Ranagan helped take some pressure of the attack for the Blue Jays. 

Syracuse Offense: Under the bright lights of the Big City Classic, the Orange offense woke up.  Nine different goal scorers equals a balanced offense for Coach Desko.  It was good to see the second line create some offense as junior Bobby Eilers scored his first goal of his career.  Stephen Ianzito also added a goal and freshmen Scott Loy added an assist.  Didnt see Peter Coleman at all for the Orange, who has been taking runs on the second line for most of the season.

The emergence of Tommy Palasek:Palasek has given the Orange a major boost and has given Desko the opportunity to play Jojo Marasco from the midfield.  This only means good things for the Orange and scary things for their opponents.  Palasek added two assists on Sunday and now has seven on the season.

Zach Howell: On a weekend that saw Rob Pannell put up nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) and Bitter breaking ankles, Howell showed his stuff in front of the New Meadowlands crowd.  Howell finished the night with four goals and two assists and is proving that he can put up major numbers without guys named Danowski, Quinzani and Crotty playing alongside him.

The importance of John Lade: When Lade left the game after rolling his ankle, the Blue Devils rattled off four goals.  Enough said.

Dan Wigrizer shook off a tough first half to settle down in the second: Wigrizer looked like he was in a daze in the first half.  Whether it was getting lit up for nine goals or being put to the ground by Keogh, Wigrizer just seemed like his head was spinning.Then we saw a different goalie in the third and fourth quarters and sophomore from Villanova, Pa., made some big saves and weathered the storm that was the Orange offense.  He kept the Blue Devils in the game and gave them a chance late in the fourth. 

Two words--John Galloway: The senior goalie truly is a difference maker and we saw why last night.  He makes a season high 16 saves, sets the NCAA career wins record with his 52nd win and made some huge saves along the way.  When Lade went down, it was the confidence of Galloway that kept the Orange defense together.  Galloway not only does it in the cage but his outlet passes set up a lethal fast break, usually going to long stick midfielder Joel White.