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Every week this season, Drake Porter has scored three points his defenders need to focus on heading into the next game. It’s an idea he’s capitalized on this season because so many of the previous conversations in the small locker rooms are no longer taking place due to the pandemic – it’s a way to have the conversation digitally, he said. -he declares.
Grant Murphy pointed to one of Porter’s notes two weeks ago, which concerned “the delayed dodge down the aisles” of Vermont and how the Catamounts are trying to go under and re-dodge at a low angle, a “key feature to remember and focus on”. Another from Stony Brook last week was aimed at preventing attacks from reaching the middle, Murphy said.
This week, Porter said his text message to the advocate group made reference to inverts, big-small and transition defense. And after Syracuse conceded six goals against Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome, Porter said after the game that “we hit all those goals really well.”
Against the Crusaders, Syracuse’s third consecutive game (4-1, 1-0 on the Atlantic coast) against an unranked opponent ended in a straight win. And while the SU offense got off to a slow start with a first quarter of a goal, the defense didn’t concede a goal for the first 35 minutes. Four of the Crusaders’ six goals came in too much time after the Oranges pulled out their starters and put in their substitutes at the end of the third quarter, and Holy Cross (1-3, 0-2 Patriot League) finished with more than turnovers (24) than recorded shots (20).
“We knew we had the upper hand athletically and then we worked all week. We knew they were going to knock us over and hit us with big-cubs, so that’s something we really focused on, ”Porter said after the game. “We performed really well today, we worked on everything we’ve been practicing all week, so a great performance from the defense.”
When the Crusaders reversed by sending midfielders to the X, Syracuse was ready. The defenders exerted enough pressure, following the movements of the Holy Cross players and closing the shooting lanes. They did it “literally all possessions,” Porter said, and it was something Syracuse had struggled with before.
In a first-quarter game, short-stick defensive midfielder Peter Dearth ran with Will Spangenberg as he shot an X towards the face of the goal. The attack on Sainte-Croix, however, could not create more than a foot of separation despite the big and small clash, and did not create anything.
“We have ideas about what the other offenses are doing, and a lot of it was faced with big-little-guys and inverts, which we struggled with at the start,” Porter said. “Defensively, to stand up and face something that we had struggled with was good.”
The offense struggled at first, but the defense anchored SU and kept them in a game up for grabs. The offensive was “adrift,” said Chase Scanlan, which helped launch the attacks.
In the first half, Holy Cross was patient when he had the ball, which head coach John Desko pointed out was not a frequent occurrence due to the 15 out of 24 SU game wins and 14 caused turnovers. They moved the ball smoothly around the SU cage but couldn’t penetrate within 10 feet on numerous occasions.
The Crusaders weren’t favored in many one-on-one clashes against Murphy, Mitch Wykoff, Nick DiPietro and Brett Kennedy, so they struggled. Holy Cross finished with as many shots on goal as Scanlan had individually (11). The Crusaders attempted a pass to the cage early in the second quarter after looking for a way to get past the SU defense, but the shot clock expired before they could register a shot. Holy Cross shot weak efforts directly at Porter for much of the first 30 minutes, and the League goaltender stood up straight, so much so that ACC network analyst Paul Carcaterra joked in saying they should check Porter’s pulse due to his calm.
When Holy Cross finally found his way through the SU defense, it was thanks to a rough goal five minutes into the start of the third quarter. Cameron Magalotti picked up a loose ball near the Syracuse crease, although Wykoff and Brandon Aviles both struggled to get it back in the middle of a scrum. Neither did, and Magalotti bounced off the contact before shooting into the back of the net as he lost his balance. The goal suited Holy Cross afternoon at Carrier Dome, where he struggled to produce many legitimate scoring chances against defensive coordinator Lelan Rogers’ side.
Desko credited Rogers with pairing up the SU staff, which he said resulted in a good individual defense. Holy Cross didn’t host a lot of choice games, instead trying to win one-on-one battles with the Orange. For the most part, he couldn’t.
“I think our defense just adjusted to who they were,” Desko said. “We played good individual defense, (and) I thought when we had to slip, we did.”
Posted on March 20, 2021 at 5:13 p.m.