It would have been a great night for a game under the lights if not for the wind as #10 Syracuse rolled into Geneva to take on Hobart for the 102nd time, the third-longest rivalry in college lacrosse.
Jordan Evans (4 goals) and company were tested early in the second half seeing Hobart fire off three-straight goals bringing them to within a goal of the Orange off a goal by Bryan Hancock.
Hobart won the ensuing faceoff down one, with a chance to get even for the first time and Evan Molloy decided to close the gates on Hobart, making an amazing kick save, deflecting the ball off his left leg on the would-be game-tying goal. Syracuse wasted their next possession, allowing Hobart another chance to tie, and Molloy made another great save.
Sergio Salcido (2g, 3a) took advantage of Molloy suddenly becoming a wall and scored at the 6:49 mark in the third, ending the nearly 14-minute drought. From there Cuse took the fight out of the dog scoring five more goals to finish the contest, bringing the Kraus-Simmons Trophy home with the 13-6 win.
Molloy finished the game with seven saves, four of them coming in that key third-quarter stand allowing the Orange to separate for good.
Dylan Donahue, who had been unusually quiet the game prior against Notre Dame, got back in the mix with two goals and a helper and Nick Mariano matched Donahue’s output with a 2 and 1 outing as well.
WHAT WE KNOW – CUSE OFFENSE GOES DRY AT TIMES…
Cuse is still prone to going quiet for spurts on the offensive side of the ball. It’s hard to pinpoint why. I think it’s a live and die by the sword kind of thing. Salcido and Mariano are explosive at times thanks to their skill and aggressive styles of play, but with that, they are prone to taking a few bad shots that often result in easy clears or fast break opportunities for the opposing team.
Turnovers have also been an issue at times and certainly played a huge roll in their three-game losing streak. Turnovers hurt them a little bit today as well.
WHAT WE KNOW – BEN WILLIAMS CLOSED THE DOOR…
Teams have started to figure Ben Williams out, and it’s been apparent at times this season as we’ve seen him lose some key face-offs down the stretch. Tonight, after losing three of five during the third quarter that saw Hobart draw close, he won four of five in the fourth quarter and effectively buried Hobart’s chances at getting any closer.
I think this has less to do with teams “figuring Williams out” and more to do with them realizing that their best chance is to not let him win the draw alone, something he did amazingly well last season and through the start of this season.
Teams are attacking him, and waiting for the Orange wing players to step up. At times they have, and that will have to continue if we want to advance past the quarter-finals in the NCAA’s this spring.
WHAT WE KNOW – ATTACKING THE CUSE DEFENSE LIKE YOUR LIFE IS ON THE LINE WINS YOU POINTS
Cuse held a lead against Hopkins, they blew it. They held a lead against Duke, they blew it. Notre Dame played like they were five goals down the entire game, and ended up winning 17-7 at the dome.
Tonight, Hobart goes down 5-0, gets back to 5-2, goes down 7-2, gets back to 7-6. They got back in it because they got a bit more aggressive and at that point had nothing to lose.
It seems that aggressive, almost reckless offensive play is a strategy more teams should explore.
WHAT WE KNOW – ENTER EVAN MOLLOY
With all of that said, Warren Hill played simply terrible in his last 3 outings. He’s have moments of looking good, maybe even great, and would come out in the second half and give up goal after goal. GRANTED, not all were his fault, but a goalie at this caliber has to stop the ball from going in the net, and Hill just wasn’t doing that at key moments in games.
Molloy did tonight what Hill has failed to do in the last three games. He stopped two shots when it counted most. Both shots were fairly uncontested and were pretty great plays on the ball. He did so in his first career start. So it’s fair for us to be optimistic here.
WHAT WE KNOW – SPENCER SCHMITT GOT BEAT … A LOT
I wouldn’t pick on this kid, especially given his limited minutes, except his time has come in some close games, and he seems to be getting beat all over the field. If I’m noticing it from my couch, other teams are noticing it while reviewing tape and trying to find the chinks in Cuse’s defensive armor.