Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 11-10 loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — As Syracuse midfielder Peter Dearth raced down the field, his teammate Nick Mellen stood over Virginia attack Michael Kraus, staring down UVA’s leading scorer. As Dearth scored, Mellen motioned to the UVA bench before pounding his chest and yelling out loud.Syracuse jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead because Mellen forced a Kraus turnover on the first possession that led to a fastbreak goal on the other end. When the first half whistle sounded, Virginia led SU 5-4. Kraus had either scored or assisted on every first-half goal.After antagonizing Kraus on the first play of the game, Mellen struggled to slow him down for the remaining 59 minutes as Kraus led No. 4 seed UVA (11-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) over No. 1 seed Syracuse (7-6, 4-0 Atlantic Coast), 11-10, at Klockner Stadium on Friday night in the ACC tournament semifinals.Here are three reactions from SU’s early exit.Michael Kraus proves dominantAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Virginia tacked on each goal in the first half, Kraus’ point total kept rising. The attack found himself the focal point of every offensive opportunity.Behind 3-2, Kraus tried to force his way toward cage against Mellen, but the defender held his position firmly, forcing Kraus behind the cage. But instead of dishing the ball, as he had done in the early minutes, Kraus curled back around the right side of SU goalie Dom Madonna. Mellen draped himself all over Kraus, but still the sophomore found space and rifled in a shot over his left shoulder and past Madonna.When he didn’t shoot, because the SU defense collapsed on him, Kraus found open attackers, notching three assists in the first half, as the Orange failed to protect the cage when it slid. Kraus’ teammates proved beneficiaries.SU’s offense can’t compete with UVA’sIn Syracuse’s first matchup with Virginia — despite escaping with a 12-11 win — the offense was denied by UVA goalie Alex Rode 15 times, and that trend continued Friday night at Klockner Stadium, as Rode added 10 saves.Early in the second quarter, SU earned a two-man-up opportunity. As the Orange swiftly moved the ball around the perimeter, Stephen Rehfuss cut out from behind the cage onto the right side of Rode. Quickly, Rehfuss’ teammates found him wide open, but as he ripped a shot low, Rode quickly reacted to stuff the attack and end his team’s two-man disadvantage.Continuously SU fired shots from the perimeter, unable to beat Rode.On Wednesday, ahead of SU and Virginia’s ACC tournament semifinals matchup, UVA head coach Lars Tiffany told The Daily Orange that he thought one of the most impressive parts of SU’s team was how the young offensive weapons grew from the first matchup. He didn’t have the same depth among his young players, he said.But while Rode dominated in cage, Matt Moore also thrived in the open field. The freshman midfielder notched five points on the day, taking over in the second half. At the end of the third quarter, when SU began gaining some momentum, Moore shut the door with a goal from 15 yards out and just 10.8 seconds remaining in the quarter.Syracuse struggles at the faceoff XIn the two teams’ first matchup in early March, Syracuse took advantage of Virginia’s defense by simply dominating possession and forcing the defenders to play more. SU won the faceoff battle 16-11 in that first contest.In this game, though, Danny Varello and the faceoff crew couldn’t muster the same success. Virginia beat SU in the faceoff X 18-7, forcing SU to do more offensively with fewer opportunities.And when SU did finally manage to win the faceoff, it often resulted in turnovers, poor shots or the back of Rode’s pocket. Comments Published on April 27, 2018 at 11:11 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edulast_img read more