SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Criss Angel “Mind Freak” made an appearance in the Carrier Dome Sunday as the Syracuse ran Providence, 22-3, in the season opener for both clubs.
The moment came with 2:39 in the first quarter with Kenny Nims cradling behind the cage. The senior motioned a pass intended for Chris Daniello out front. The throw never got there, mainly because Nims never had the ball. Stephen Keogh was in possession – and at some point in that sequence scored SU’s sixth goal of the day.
“It wasn’t really something planned out, but they fell for it,” Nims said. “It was nice.”
Coach John Desko joked back that his players could have saved the move for Johns Hopkins, “but that’s okay,” he finished.
Okay, so Nims didn't pass the ball with his mind, but the hidden ball trick is back.
There was a point where the game was unexpectedly close. With 5:53 to play in the first Bobby Labadini scored Providence’s first and only 1st half goal to knot things at one. Thirty seconds later, PC asserted it’s statistically strong defense and collapsed on Kenny Nims in front of the net. The rush involved no fewer than five players (on both teams) going after a loose ball that seemed more like a goal-line fumble.
Providence played a zone defense, constantly switching up the it’s looks, but after connecting on just one shot in the game’s first 10 minutes, the Orange figured things out.
“I kept trying to move in the middle,” Keogh said of his five goal outing. “They kept sliding from the crease, so I thought if I kept going to the middle I’d be open and that’s what happened.”
The turning point seemed to be a three minute penalty on the Friar’s Dean Fraser for an illegal stick. That led to a three minute non-releasable man-up and three goals for SU. The rout was on and any breaks that existed went SU’s way, including an Friars own goal just before the half.
“I wouldn’t call it a slow start, I would think a patient start,” Desko said. “I think that we got the possessions that we wanted early and took some good shots and then kind of broke things open early as we got into the end of the first and second quarter.”
SU plays its second game Friday at home against Army. Black Knights coach Joe Alberici was in attendance scouting Sunday.
ORANGE SLICES –
Sophomore LSM Joel White didn’t dress for the opener, out with an ankle sprain. Desko said he expects to have White back for the Army game Friday. Several guys filled his place in the meantime with Tyler Hlawati getting the start. Freshman Joe Moore also saw field time while registering the first shot of his career. --
The Orange used seven different bodies at the face-off X, still trying to find a replacement for graduated All-American Danny Brennen. Jake Moulton got the start, winning five of his 10, not including a fairly clean Providence win to begin the game. Josh Knight took over duties for a while, showing very good success in the second quarter. He finished winning eight of his 10 draws.
“It’s a great competition between everybody. We’re all fighting for the position,” Knight said. “The competition in practice just makes it better on the field because if you just have one guy dominating, than no one else is going against each other and it helps us a lot.”
Knight said he stuck with a basic clamp, then flipped it out the back to get the wings involved.
“We have the number one guys in the nation playing the wings and it’s amazing,” Knight said. “Just clamp the ball, flick it out to them and let them do what they do.”
The ‘Cuse trotted transfer Scott Kahoe (2-2), Jovan Miller (0-1), Tim Harder (2-2), Tom Guadagnolo (0-1) and Gavin Jenkinson (0-1) to midfield as well. Desko said it’s still undetermined who will win the job, or if any one person will win it at all.
“Face-offs are such a technique thing,” Desko said. “You might have a player that’s got a dominant move and another player that’s got a totally different move and all of a sudden you expect something’s going to work in a game situation and it doesn’t. A lot of times it’s a match-up issue.”
This is the first and last time Syracuse and Providence will meet in a non-conference setting. Next year both clubs will be part of the Big East Conference. But after falling 22-3, PC coach Chris Burdick had no interest in the subject.
“That's the furthest thing from my mind,” Burdick said. “I have a 2009 lacrosse team that's got its eyes on the MAAC championship and the NCAA tournament. We want to try and get back here in May, so I'm not even thinking about that.”
Regardless of the outcome, Desko said he felt the atmosphere was still beneficial to the opponent, citing the crowds and “hoopla” in the Dome. He also referenced how these types of games could work to team’s advantages in the future.
“When you’ve got a conference championship to think about and seedings within the conference and eventually an automatic qualifier for if you win the conference no matter what kind of year you had, a couple of years ago we were 5-8,” Desko said. “Had we been in the Big East Conference, we beat all the opponents we played in the Big East. At 5-8 we would have had an AQ into the playoffs. So if ever a team is having a year like that, that’s something else you can shoot for.”
|Kenny Nims||(3, 5)|
|Stephen Keogh||(5, 1)|
|Greg Niewieroski||(3, 0)|
|Chris Daniello||(3, 0)|
|Tim Desko||(1, 2)|
|Scott Kahoe||(1, 1)|
|Jovan Miller||(0, 1)|
|Max Bartig||(0, 1)|
|Nate Tucker||(1, 0)|
|Pat Perritt||(1, 0)|
|Matt Abbott||(1, 0)|
|Josh Knight||(1, 0)|
|Dan Hardy||(1, 0)|
|Josh Amidon||(1, 0)|
|John Galloway||4 (0.667)|
|Al Cavalieri||3 (0.750)|