Published on February 18, 2019 at 9:23 pm Contact Nick: firstname.lastname@example.org | @nick_a_alvarez On the net closest to Syracuse’s bench, white jerseys grouped in four lines and tossed a ball between them. Shots whipped into twine as SU prepped for its season opener. Feeders flicked passes to shooters, and all movement was directed toward four multi-colored square patches placed in the corners of the cage. It would be the last time the Orange routinely found the back of the net on Feb. 8.Missing from the drill was Brendan Bomberry, SU’s leading goal-scorer (56) through the prior two seasons who graduated in 2018. No. 17 Syracuse (1-1) anticipated that it could replace Bomberry with veteran attackmen and fresh talent. But in its first test against the Raiders, it couldn’t. An offense that averaged 19.6 goals per game during its last five season-openers leading to blowout wins was held to nine scores. Colgate established an early lead, rushed Syracuse’s offense and shut down a unit that had relied on Bomberry’s interior scoring.Its following matchup against then-No. 15 Albany represented the course correction after midfielder Tucker Dordevic was ruled out for the season with a foot injury earlier in the week. The Orange won, 13-5, led by seven points from senior Bradley Voigt. For one game, the questions that arose from the historic Colgate blunder subsided. “We were just moving good off-ball,” Voigt said after the Albany win. “I think we were definitely more comfortable in the offense that we’re running right now.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSusie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorVoigt started the season on the first line and joined returners Nate Solomon and Stephen Rehfuss. In the preseason, Voigt utilized his speed to charge the crease and finish inside, defender Marcus Cunningham said. But against the Raiders, plays called for Voigt ended in missed passes or shots into the stick of Colgate goalie Connor Mullen.Solomon and Rehfuss didn’t provide immediate support, either. Both tallied just one shot in the first half and didn’t score. While Solomon added three goals in the second half, SU’s execution came in bursts. Orange head coach John Desko said after the game that Syracuse’s shots were essentially turnovers since they were aimed at Mullen’s core.Colgate head coach Matt Karweck said his team emphasized “ball pressure.” The Raiders’ defenders tried to alter the Orange’s passing and shooting ability by disrupting their hand placement. An early shot attempt by Jamie Trimboli was tipped low. Sophomore Brendan Curry sailed a pass over Trimboli’s head a few possessions later, and the Raiders’ bench cheered as the plastic rolled toward them. Syracuse committed 17 turnovers, which would’ve been its second-highest game total in 2018.SU’s lack of possession and deficit was magnified by the new 80-second shot clock, which contributed to the offense settling for longer shots. Curry scored the first Orange goal of the game from 15-yards out. Trimboli totaled seven shots, most of which came from the top of the Raiders’ defensive zone.“On offense, we definitely have to play faster,” Curry said after the Colgate contest. “I think we have to play smarter. Not rush into things as much, kinda get the ball around a little bit, maybe not take the first shot you see.”Against Albany, Trimboli opened the scoring and showcased the differences of SU’s offensive approach. In the first quarter. He ran left, brought his hands together and ripped an overhand shot to beat goalie Nate Siekierski. Trimboli created space, operated earlier in the shot clock and benefited from off-ball movement.Voigt slipped into the soft spots of the Great Danes’ zone during power plays. He slung left-handed wristers into the net, finding free room after Solomon drew defenders in with dodges. After the Colgate loss, Solomon said that the shot clock may force the Orange to adjust and generate defensive slides. One week later, they did and created the separation that led to SU’s offensive revival.Through two games, Syracuse’s offense has been uneven. It looked unsettled in a historic loss and an unlikely hero — Voigt — avenged a blowout from 2018. With No. 13 Army on deck, the unit will need to establish consistency. Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments
Martin O’Neill’s side require wins for Croatia and Cyprus tonight, while they also need Italy to prevent Norway from winning and for a draw between Turkey and Iceland.After the wins last night for Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia, Ireland now look likely to be among the second seeds for the play-off draw, which takes place on Sunday.Wales are also among the teams in action tonight – despite having already qualified for next summer’s Championships, Chris Coleman’s side have a chance to top Group B if they win at home to Andorra and table-toppers Belgium slip-up at home to Israel. Kick-off in all of tonight’s qualifiers is at 7:45.