Syracuse men’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about Army

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 For the third consecutive year, Army will travel 215 miles north to the Carrier Dome for a date with Syracuse. The No. 6 Orange (2-0) host unranked Army Saturday at noon, a week before each team begins conference play. The Cadets (2-1) beat Nick Mariano’s former school, Massachusetts, 9-2 in the season opener, lost at then-No. 18 Rutgers then routed Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday. SU won its first two games against Siena and Albany.Here’s what you need to know ahead of Saturday’s matchup.All-time series: Army leads, 39-24The last time they played: Behind two goals each from midfielders Sergio Salcido and Derek DeJoe, Syracuse handed Army a 9-8 defeat last February. The then-No. 3 Orange trailed 3-2 after one quarter, but squeaked away with the one-point victory thanks to a Tim Barber goal with under four minutes left. Then-freshman Nate Solomon, who has four goals through two games this year, scored a goal in the game. For Army, attacks Connor Cook had two scores and Cole Johnson added one.The Army report: The Cadets lead the all-time series, but since 1980 SU is 21-4 and has won the last five meetings. That’s not to say SU’s dominated. Last year’s game came down to the wire and the 2015 matchup ended 12-9. For years, the Cadets have ranked near the top of the nation in scoring defense. Expect that on Saturday, as the Cadets boast the No.7 scoring defense in the country. This year’s team returns one defender, and Army head coach Joe Alberici said his backline looks “solid” thus far.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn three games, Army has scored 39 goals. Johnson, a senior attack, leads the team with eight goals and four assists. He’s flanked by Nate Jones, David Symmes, Ted Glesener and Dan Grabher, among the nine Cadets to have scored at least two goals. Grabher is one of the best faceoff players in the country and should give Ben Williams some fits. Grabher is 35-of-54 in his third season at the X.“He’s a real threat offensive,” Alberici said. “He hasn’t had great success against Williams. We hope to change that tide.”How Syracuse beats Army: On defense, Syracuse should begin to clamp down and minimize early mistakes. The unit has played sloppily in both first quarters, either missing slides or miscommunicating. SU’s offense is balanced enough to recover, but a strong start from the Syracuse backline would be a surefire way to win.The hallmark of Army is its defense. But SU’s offense has been spread out thus far, scoring 29 goals from 13 different sticks. Alberici said there are several matchup issues with Matt Lane, Salcido, Mariano and Brendan Bomberry (team-leading five goals), who gives SU “an added dimension to finish without the ball.” Should a top-15 offense in Syracuse continue its spread against the no. 7 scoring defense, it’ll likely come away with yet another victory against its New York state counterpart.“We’ll clearly be tested Saturday afternoon,” Alberici said.Player to watch: Cole Johnson, attack, No. 28Without a big game from Johnson, it’s tough to see Army squeak away with a victory. As a junior last year, he racked up 73 points, second in program history. This year, he’s picked up right where he left off. The 6-foot-1, 171-pounder leads Army in both goals and assists. In his career, he has scored three goals in two games against the Orange. His speed and shiftiness poses as Syracuse’s biggest threat.“He’s going to have to be outstanding on Saturday for us to come away with a victory,” Alberici said. Commentslast_img