Fast reactions from No. 6 Syracuse’s 19-6 win over Siena
Evan Jenkins | Staff Photographer
For the fourth consecutive year, No. 6 Syracuse (1-0) opened the season with a victory over Siena (0-1), this one ending 19-6. Despite a slow start in which SU only led by one with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, a 9-0 run in the middle of the game propelled Syracuse another win against the Saints.
Here are three quick takeaways from Syracuse’s season-opening win.
Syracuse’s defense would be fine even without Nick Mellen
The Orange started three new defenders on opening day with Nick Mellen still out due to injury and the graduation of two seniors. At times in the first quarter, the defense struggled to keep Siena away from the net. The Saints would drive inside and find themselves with just goalie Evan Molloy to beat.
The struggles from the defense early showed with Siena’s third goal of the game. Senior defenseman Joe Arcarese picked up the ball and ran down the sideline. He pushed toward the goal and began falling, but had enough time get a shot off, putting the ball past Molloy and cutting the deficit to one.
However, after that goal, Syracuse went on a 9-0 run. And when Siena would begin to press on the Orange, SU’s defense found stability. The trio of Tyson Bomberry, Scott Firman and Marcus Cunningham accumulated nine ground balls and caused two turnovers, helping jumpstart the offense.
After Siena’s third goal of the game with 4:18 left in the first quarter, the defense buckled down and allowed just three goals over the next two and a half quarters.
Jordan Evans and Nick Mariano are making up for loss of Dylan Donahue
Last season the offense ran through now-graduated Dylan Donahue. He was the “quarterback” of the team, as SU head coach John Desko said.
With the loss of Donahue, senior Jordan Evans was expected to step up and become the new quarterback. He was the most experienced on attack and sported SU’s legendary No. 22 jersey. In SU’s season-opening win, he and Nick Mariano, the Orange’s leading scorer last season, facilitated the offense.
On one play, Siena goalie Aaron Lewis ran out of the net, trying to clear the ball. He turned and tried to pass across the field, only to be stopped by Evans. Quickly picking up the ball, Evans found a wide open Mariano, who had an open net in front of him. On another, Mariano sat behind the net and found Evans slashing toward Lewis. He fired a pass in and Evans scored his third goal of the game.
Neither player brings the exact same skill set as Donahue and they may need each other’s help to run the offense. But today, the two worked together and created countless opportunities for the Orange.
Amid all questions entering the year, Ben Williams is the one constant
There were a lot of unknowns with Syracuse entering the season. Half of the team’s top six scorers had graduated and a brand new defense was starting the first game.
But SU still had Ben Williams. Williams has been one of the most reliable players for SU throughout his career. Today was not different. Syracuse’s FOGO won 15-of-22 at the X and helped create a smooth transition for SU on offense.
After winning the faceoff and getting a few steps on the opposition, Williams would find Evans, who would look in front of the Siena goal, trying to create a quick goal for the Orange. He did so on multiple occasions, one play ending up in the hands of Nate Solomon. Solomon, facing away from the goal, did a quick behind the back flick and scored SU’s sixth goal of the game.
Williams is among the best in SU history at the X. Winning 68 percent of faceoffs today against Siena only proved how vital he is when it comes to jumpstarting Syracuse’s offense.
Published on February 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm