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Syracuse trailed 5-1 early against then-No. 6 Virginia on Saturday, but the Orange came back momentarily, going on a 4-1 run to pull them within a goal three minutes into the second quarter.
Still, SU’s defense folded like it has in almost every game this season. By the end of the first half, the Cavaliers’ lead had increased to 12-7. Virginia had five different players leading that charge, including Xander Dickson, who scored two of his three goals during that time period.
Here’s a look at Syracuse’s defensive mishaps from the end of the first half:
Late in the clock
The Orange defended well early in the shot clock against Cornell, but they were unable to maintain that intensity throughout the entire 60 seconds. The Big Red’s two final scores — which came in the final seconds of the shot clock after Syracuse’s defense had exhausted its switches — gave them a late lead.
On this play, Virginia sets up late in the shot clock after a shot from Payton Cormier sails out of bounds. On the reset, SU tries to guard each Virginia attack one-on-one, but a late switch from Dami Oladunmoye with Landon Clary leaves Jeff Conner wide open.
Matt Moore immediately sees Syracuse’s mishap, tossing the ball to Conner for a step-down shot while Clary sprints over to switch. And what should’ve been just six more seconds of coverage quickly became the Cavaliers’ seventh goal.
Shake and bake
While most teams typically rely on a few players to execute efficient dodges, most of Virginia’s midfielders and attacks were able to get open on their own, leading to 10 unique goal-scorers by the end of the outing.
Syracuse’s defense plays aggressively after its brief comeback, with Max Rosa maintaining pressure early on this play. Nick Caccamo properly switches with Rosa, allowing him to stay close to Moore. But Moore quickly cuts in, flipping the ball to Dickson, who mimics the same move and finds the back of the net.
Rosa guarded all three players who possessed the ball for Virginia. He switched onto each ball carrier, eventually tiring himself out once those movements led him near the crease. Here, the Orange needed everyone on their defense to help stop stacked attacks like the Cavaliers instead of relying on one person.
Starts from behind
While UVA had the offensive versatility to score early in the shot clock, it relied on its transition game to score. After a turnover from Carter Rice, Jack Simmons kickstarted the Cavaliers’ offense from the right side of the field.
Simmons quickly runs toward the back of the cage to establish a pick-and-roll with Moore. Simmons sets a screen on Nick Fraterrigo, allowing Moore enough space to run in front of the right side of goal.
A switch is necessary this time, as once he gets in front of the cage, Rice is much closer to Moore. But Fraterrigo stays on Moore, thinking that he has enough time to block a shot attempt after getting off the screen. Moore makes the Orange pay for not switching, using the extra space to wind up a left-handed turnaround goal.
Problems stopping Petey
Throughout the game, the Orange planned to keep a defensive midfielder on the attack to stop Petey LaSalla if he won the faceoff. Other teams have done that in the past, Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany said postgame.
SU had done a good job of stopping LaSalla in the teams’ last matchup, as well as early in Saturday’s game. But as its defense fell apart at the end of the first half, LaSalla found an opportunity to pounce.
LaSalla won the ground ball battle, flipping it to himself as he headed straight to start Virginia’s attack. Only one Syracuse defender lays a stick on LaSalla, allowing him to head directly at the cage, virtually unguarded.
“I don’t think it’s difficult, because if you just be an athlete, and you can see that he’s out the front, you can get there,” Brandon Aviles said of stopping LaSalla. “But if you’re not positioned well, it’s not going to go in your favor.”
The post Film Review: 2nd quarter defensive mishaps lead to blowout loss to Virginia appeared first on The Daily Orange.