In a re-match of last year’s National Championship game, Syracuse takes on the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday.
Syracuse enters the game 4-2 with wins over Albany and Hopkins and losses to Virginia and Maryland. Syracuse showed some fire, beating Hopkins on their home field last week. Their defense improved greatly and looked to communicate well. On offense, the Orange is so deep, that even without Staats in the line-up (Averaging 2Goals and 2 Assists per game), they had no trouble scoring.
However, he Face-Off situation got even worse. Syracuse won only 4 of 25 with 4 violations. Going 0 for 7 during the 4th quarter kept Hopkins alive as they outscored Syracuse 4-2. If it weren’t for some great defensive plays, It would have been a different outcome.
Duke is 7-2 with wins over Denver and Penn, and losses to Maryland and Loyola.
So far this year, Duke’s defense has looked just as good, if not better than their offense. Their team defense and their dominance at ball possession have helped goalie Luke Aaron achieve a 58.7% save percentage and Goals Against average of 8.2.
On offense, Duke looks amazing some games, and stale others. Which is uncharacteristic of their typical play.
Key points to the game:
Face Offs – Fowler was the Achilles heal to Syracuse in the National Championship last year. So far this year, he is not slowing down wining 61% of the draws. Syracuse has struggles (read any of my other ‘Cuse previews). This doesn’t always equate to a loss, as they beat a very good Hopkins team, yet won 16% of the draws.
Possession – Syracuse’s Lamolinara is facing almost 27 shots per game, while Aaron for Duke is facing less than 20. With Duke winning so many FOs, combined with their ability to grab gound balls (56% vs Cuse’s 44%), this has the potential to look like the SU vs UVA game.
Defense – The Orange Defense played well against Hopkins, and has progressed over the past 2 weeks. You can see the difference, confidence, and communication. They need to play aggressive and not worry about penalties (Duke is only converting 23% on EMO). On the flipside, Duke’s defense has looked good so far this year, and will need to be at the top of their game against an SU offense that seems to score at will when given the chance (39% shooting percentage / 13.7 goals per game).