Syracuse faces off against Notre Dame in the Big City Classic…How can it be a Classic if it’s only been going on for 5 years?
Both teams (barring the wheels coming off), should be locks for the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse is 10-3 with wins over Army, Hopkins, Princeton, and Cornell. They have lost to Albany, Villanova, and Hobart.
Notre Dame is 10-2 with wins over Duke, Penn State, UNC, Denver, and OSU. They have lost to Hofstra and St. John’s
Syracuse is led by JoJo Marasco with 16goals/30assists, Kevin Rice (14g,20a), and Luke Cometti (24g,6a). In net is Lamolinara with a 9.61 Goals Against Average, and save percentage of 51.6%.
Notre Dame is led by Matt Kavanagh (23g,13a), Sean Rogers (20g,11a), and Jim Marlatt (18g,9a). In net is John Kemp with 7.76GAA, 53.3%
3 keys to the game:
1) Face Offs
2) Syracuse shooting vs Joey Kemp and the ND defense
1) Face offs have plagued Syracuse all season, winning only 45.3% of the time. It is a problem they have perpetuated 3 plus seasons with no end in sight. It is surprising that they still outshoot and outscore their opponents. Notre Dame with a slightly better than average face off win percentage of 52.8% will need to capitalize on this Syracuse deficiency.
2) Syracuse shooters tend to get frustrated easier when their shots don’t hit net. All year this year, they have shown they have range in their outside shots, unfortunately the Orange have a propensity to force the ball inside for an inside shot. Syracuse’s offense could have even more goals if they just let their snipers fire away instead of forcing the inside which, uncharacteristically for Syracuse, has not been very efficient. Notre Dame lacrosse typically has a solid defense and goalie, and Kemp is one of the better ones. Kemp can stop the close range shots and that will get under the skin of SU’s shooters. If they respond by continuously pressing the inside, it will be a loooong day for the Orange.
3) Flow. Syracuse’s last 5 games have been decided by 1 goal. The Orange have a habit of starting red hot and then cooling down or coasting. Notre Dame is the opposite. The Irish have outscored their opponents 47-28 in the 4th quarter (and OT). The Orange will need to build up a large enough early lead before Notre Dame wakes up.
Prediction: I will ignore the fact that Notre Dame’s only losses came against New York City (St. Johns and Hofstra…close enough). I see this game being a game of scoring runs and flow as opposed to a back and forth battle. I also think Syracuse’s face off issues doom them late in the 4th as Notre Dame will be content to slow down the pace and control the ball.
Notre Dame wins by a thread.