MSOC : Orange off to slow start in Big East for 3rd straight season

first_img Published on October 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman After a crushing double-overtime defeat to Pittsburgh, Ian McIntyre found a silver lining for his team to consider.Even after his players’ unquestioned effort led to another loss — their frustration building up with seemingly every game — the head coach wouldn’t let them feel completely dejected. The constant fight for wins in the competitive Big East should provide enough of a reason not to dwell on a loss, but rather look forward to the next game.‘Talking to the guys tonight, this is why they came to Syracuse,’ McIntyre said. ‘This is why our coaching staff came. To play these types of games. We will be working hard, and if we keep putting the effort we are in practice into games, good things will happen.’So far, though, ‘good things’ haven’t been too prevalent.Syracuse began its season with a strong showing, winning its home opener after suffering a road loss to Colgate. There was one more win, but that spelled the end of the new beginning in 2011. After that second win, SU (2-7, 0-2 Big East) has gone on to lose its last five games. Suddenly, the hope for a winning season has transformed into a state of concern, as the formula for winning games has become elusive once again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has lost both Big East games it has played this season, but after each, McIntyre said his team didn’t lose because of a lack of hustle or heart. Instead, he said his team did what it needed to do to win, but ended up on the wrong side of the ledger because of the talents of SU’s opponents.‘We’re playing good teams,’ McIntyre said. ‘We’re looking to find ways to win these games. But it’s not because of a lack of effort.’And that’s certainly been the case at times. Syracuse gave then-No.16 New Mexico fits back on Sept. 18, but ended up losing 2-1 in overtime. The Lobos still haven’t lost a game two weeks later.But other times — against worse teams — Syracuse has struggled. When the Orange played Marquette and lost 3-2, the Golden Eagles were 2-4-1 on the year. SU fell 2-1 to Binghamton after a poor offensive showing, and the Bearcats only improved their record to 4-5.After beating SU this past weekend, the Panthers are still only 3-6-1. But even after losing to teams whose records were all below .500, McIntyre insisted they were formidable opponents capable of playing beyond the level their records indicated.At some point, though, the Orange will need to expose the deficiencies of its opponents to notch a win. After Syracuse’s sloppy loss to Binghamton, senior forward Dan Summers said he still believed his team had a chance at the Big East tournament. Although after SU’s less than impressive performance, it became clear that its play on the field needs to improve drastically.‘We need to roll our sleeves up because that’s going to happen, especially in that Big East tournament games once the season gets there, and that’s our goal to get there,’ Summers said. But Syracuse has been losing too many battles.One of the Orange’s bright spots has been the play of its back four, as the defense has given Syracuse a chance to tie the game or take the lead in nearly every game. SU hasn’t lost a game by more than one goal all season.And that’s with a defense featuring three freshmen and a goalkeeper who’s in his first season at Syracuse after transferring from Evansville.‘I think as a group, as a defensive group, I think we’ve been pretty good,’ McIntyre said. ‘Just that maturity and that comes with experience.’Experience is one of the categories Syracuse lacks the most. Whether or not the Orange can make up for it in conference play remains to be seen. But right now SU remains on the cusp between salvaging its season and a third consecutive disappointing year.If there’s anything for certain, it’s that the Orange doesn’t have any easy games on its schedule from now until the end of its campaign.And that’s something one of its veterans understands to mean the team will have to fight for victories.‘This is the Big East, you don’t get cupcake teams,’ junior midfielder Ted Cribley said. ‘You don’t get easy points.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img