MLAX : Orange defense shuts down Siena’s high-powered attack

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 15, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img By the time Siena manufactured a goal in its set offense, the game was already out of reach. Danny Martinsen’s goal with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter only closed Syracuse’s lead to five.But it took all of 50 minutes for Siena to finally beat the Orange defense in six-on-six play. Their two previous goals came in unsettled, transition opportunities.And SU’s defenders gave the credit to their coaching staff after yet another dominant performance.‘We knew what they were going to do the whole time,’ sophomore Brian Megill said. ‘(Assistant coach Lelan Rogers) got us prepared. Their offenses, we knew down to a ‘T.”No. 1 SU’s defense was one step ahead of Siena (13-5) nearly all game as the Orange won its NCAA tournament opener 10-4 in the Carrier Dome Sunday. The Orange (15-1) forced 19 Siena turnovers and shut down the Saints’ playmakers to control its end of the field.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse advances to the quarterfinal round of the tournament to play Maryland Sunday at noon in Foxborough, Mass.‘Our coaches did a great job scouting them and preparing us all week — what their favorite offenses are, man-up, man-down’ senior defenseman John Lade said. ‘When it came game time, it felt like that. We’d done it so many times that it was a lot easier to maintain them.’Three Siena players entered the game with more than 40 points on the season. Junior attack Bryan Neufeld ranked seventh in the country with 65 points, Martinsen registered 52 and junior midfielder Chris Roth tallied 43.And in spite of that success throughout the year, the Orange defense shut that trio down, holding them to a combined one point in the game.‘We needed to stay with our package, and I think the guys did that,’ head coach John Desko said. ‘But we needed to know who (those three) were and make sure when we did slide, we tried to cover up on those guys in particular and let the other guys shoot from outside.’Megill covered Martinsen throughout and seemed to really disrupt the Siena attack. He poked the ball away from the sophomore attack twice early on, and he seemed flustered the rest of the game, committing five total turnovers.Roth faced a variety of SU defensive midfielders, including Joel White, Kevin Drew and Tim Harder, among others. The Saints’ midfielder took six shots, but most of them were from distance and failed to threaten Orange goaltender John Galloway.Neufeld came into the Dome with at least one point in 52 straight contests. But that streak came to an end as the junior registered one shot and was a non-factor with Lade blanketing him.‘He’s an All-American for a reason,’ Neufeld said of Lade. ‘He does a good job positioning. He always is aware of where I am. I couldn’t really sneak around on him. He does a great job.’Siena’s first goal came in transition off a Syracuse turnover late in the first quarter. The Saints’ second goal came off the opening faceoff in the second as defenseman Brendan Meehan scooped up the loose ball and scored in the unsettled situation.That was the only offensive success the Saints mustered against the Orange, in scattered and sloppy situations. Megill said Siena did change up its looks occasionally, but most of what it ran, SU had prepared for all week in practice.And Syracuse didn’t get beat by that set offense it was so prepared for until it was already up 8-2 with 10 minutes left in the game.‘They do a good job hedging on-ball,’ Neufeld said of the Orange defense. ‘They don’t really commit and slide. They’re a good team. They’re No. 1 in the country for a reason.’zjbrown@syr.edulast_img

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