Contrasts between Syracuse, Johns Hopkins to force Orange into controlled attack

first_imgSyracuse-Johns Hopkins is a historical clash of styles.The Orange usually likes to get out and run, taking advantage of its often-superior athleticism. Though they boast the No. 3 scoring offense in the nation this year, the Blue Jays have traditionally slowed down the game and won with their offensive efficiency and defense.“If they’re slowing it down, as an offensive unit we don’t want to be watching them play offense the whole game, we want them to be watching us,” Syracuse attack Dylan Donahue said. “We want to take our time, be patient and get the open looks that we want.”Last year, JHU came away with an 11-7 win in Baltimore. The year before, SU won 5-4 — in double overtime.Offensive efficiency will be at a premium for the No. 7 Orange (3-1, 1-0 Big East) on Saturday when it faces No. 5 Johns Hopkins (5-1) at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile their offense has been more high-powered this season, the Blue Jays have achieved that just as they always have – with a precise offense. JHU also ranks third in the nation, shooting 34 percent. At 25.1 percent and No. 48, SU ranks in the bottom half of all Division-I teams.“I think we’re looking pretty good, we’re moving the ball pretty well,” Syracuse attack Kevin Rice said. “I think we definitely could still shoot a little bit better and get some more opportunities, but I think we’re getting there.”Derek Maltz is tied for the team lead with six goals this season. But those six tallies are from 26 shots, good for just a 23.1 shot percentage. The Orange attack recorded his first hat trick of the season last Saturday against St. John’s, but with 11 shots, and only three on goal.On one extra-man opportunity late in the third period alone, the junior attempted four shots. Three fired wide or high. One clanged off a post. None found the back of the net. Syracuse came away with nothing on a prime scoring chance.“I was a little disappointed with myself because I wanted a couple back,” Maltz said after SU’s 13-11 victory. “ … My teammates just did a great job finding me and, like I said, I would love to have a couple of those back.”Just two Syracuse players shoot better than 50 percent this season. One, defensive midfielder Matt Pratt, has shot just three times, scoring twice. The other is Donahue. Entering the Orange’s matchup with the Red Storm, Donahue had scored on all five of his attempts. Against SJU he failed to score on three attempts, but remains the Orange’s most efficient offensive weapon.“I didn’t really notice that. I don’t think about that,” Donahue said. “We worry about shooting a lot and hopefully we just keep getting goals.”Last season, Maltz was the source of a massive portion of SU’s scoring, leading the team with 28 goals. His first multi-goal game this year wasn’t until Saturday against St. John’s.It’s made for a smoother, more effective offense that has already scored 13 goals in a game twice this season. The offense couldn’t achieve that until April last year.“When you have multiple guys that coaches can rely on to make plays or make things happen, I think the whole team benefits,” Maltz said. “And if a defense focuses on me, then we’re going to have other guys that step up and make things happen, and if they’re starting to focus on those guys, then I’ll start to make things happen.”It was one of the biggest question marks coming into the season: How would a largely untested group of attacks come together? Through the early part of the season they’ve found a rhythm, but on Saturday they face their toughest test yet. They have a chance to prove that the hot start is no fluke.“Our offense is coming together nicely,” Donahue said. “I like the chemistry we have between all of us and hopefully we just keep improving.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2last_img