Syracuse lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about No. 12 Albany

first_imgAfter dominating Siena, 18-5, last weekend, No. 5 Syracuse (1-0) hosts No. 12 Albany on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Orange impressed in its season opener without five of its top six scorers from last season due to graduation. The Great Danes haven’t played a game this season and are coming off a quarterfinal loss to Notre Dame in last year’s NCAA tournament.Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.All-time series: Syracuse leads 12-1Last time they played: After each team scored four goals in the first quarter, Syracuse took control of the game and defeated Albany 17-12 on April 2, 2015. Faceoff specialist Ben Williams went 24-of-27 from the X and the Orange’s first-line midfield combined for nine goals. Lyle Thompson had four goals and three assists, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with a Syracuse offense that fed off Williams’ strong performance.“I have never seen a face-off performance like I’d seen either,” Albany head coach Scott Marr said after the game. “The kid was unbelievable in the X. That was ultimately the difference in the game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Albany report: With Thompson now graduated, the Great Danes offense — which led the country with 17.1 goals per game last year — will likely share the ball more since the two-time Tewaaraton Award winner held it approximately 70 percent of the time, Syracuse head coach John Desko said. Sophomore Connor Fields (66 goals and 22 assists) and Onondaga Community College junior transfer Seth Oakes (54 goals and 12 assists) will be counted on to carry the offensive load. Senior John Maloney was fourth on Albany last year in scoring and is the top returning midfielder.“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves since September,” Marr said at Albany’s media day. “Without Lyle, we’ve had to find a go-to guy.”At the faceoff X, Cason Liles took the most faceoffs on the team last season but transferred, according to Inside Lacrosse. Connor Russell, who took the second most faceoffs was injured during fall ball.On the defensive end, Albany returns senior Josh Babcock, junior James Burdette, sophomore AJ Kluck and sophomore Stone Sims. Marr said all four will contribute in front of senior goalie Blaze Riorden, who saved 56 percent of shots, allowed 9.93 goals per game and scored one of the most memorable goals of last season.How Albany beats Syracuse: Win the possession battle and capitalize on opportunities. Against a patient offense like Syracuse’s, Albany can’t afford to commit turnovers and waste chances. No matter who takes faceoffs for the Great Danes, Williams is projected to have the edge. An offense searching for its new quarterback must figure it out early otherwise it could fall behind the way Siena did last week and not be able to climb back. Though Albany’s defense, which allowed 10 goals per game last season (28th in country), is its most experienced unit, Syracuse’s Dylan Donahue will likely control the game again. It’ll come down to whether Fields, Oakes and Maloney can match it on the other end of the field.“I think they’re going to share the ball and who knows, they could be even more dangerous,” Desko said, “just because they’re willing to put the ball in other people’s sticks and I think the other players are good players.”Numbers to know:66 — Fields’ 66 goals last season ranked first in all of Division I.22.9 — Lyle Thompson accounted for 22.9 percent (121 out of 528) of Albany’s points last season. Fields, who accounted for the second most points, accounted for just 16.7 percent.1,097 — It’s been 1,097 days since Feb. 13, 2013, the only time that Albany beat Syracuse.Player to watch: Fields’ role in the new look Albany offense will be fascinating to observe on Sunday. Though Marr has said he’ll have to contribute in more ways than he did mainly as a finisher last year, it’s yet to be seen how successful he can be without Thompson. When you’re the leading goal-scorer in all of Division I, all eyes will be locked on you at the start of the following season. Comments Published on February 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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