MLAX : Orange offense improves in pair of scrimmage victories

first_imgAs Syracuse cycled the ball around its offensive end, Stephen Keogh saw his opportunity. A lane opened up in the middle of the Maryland zone, and the senior slashed through it toward the goal.Sophomore attack JoJo Marasco caught a pass even with the goal line and caught a glimpse of Keogh cutting to the cage.The senior Keogh made the catch as he reached the crease and whipped a shot behind his back into the bottom corner of the net for the score, just more than a minute into the action.It only took one possession for the Orange to display a chemistry that was lacking in its first two scrimmages a week ago. Thursday, No. 1 SU knocked off No. 6 Maryland 11-9 in the Carrier Dome as both teams’ starters played for most of the game. Syracuse’s first team then watched from the sideline as the backups pulled out a 10-6 win over Canisius. But against Maryland, it was SU’s first attack line of Keogh, Marasco and redshirt junior Tim Desko that shined for Syracuse after struggling a weekend ago.‘Last weekend, it was kind of sloppy,’ Keogh said. ‘But we cleaned up things this week in practice. I think we just got the chemistry down. … We’re just going to keep working all week, but it was nice to finally click today.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKeogh and Desko led the Orange with three goals each, and Marasco added two goals and two assists. Marasco found Keogh for SU’s first two scores, and Desko added the next Syracuse tally with a low shot through the Maryland goalie’s legs.But as the first attack unit thrived, the defensive unit gave up some uncharacteristically easy goals that allowed the Terrapins to stay in the game. After taking a 5-3 lead just after halftime, Maryland stormed back to even the score at seven after three quarters.They even took an early lead in the fourth before Desko banked in a sharp angle shot off the Maryland goalie’s foot.‘I just took every opportunity that came to me and just dodged well,’ he said. ‘I did what I can do.’After the Desko score, Joel White put the Orange in front with a rare goal from a defensive specialist. And then it was all Marasco.With about six minutes left and SU still clinging to a one-point lead, the sophomore charged down the left side of the offensive zone as a Maryland defender struggled to stick with him. Marasco appeared ready to take the ball behind the goal but instead whipped a shot behind his back that caught the Terrapins goalie off guard. The shot sailed straight into the top of the goal to extend the Orange lead.And he wasn’t done there.As Syracuse took possession with two minutes to play, Marasco took possession of the ball and refused to give it up. He held on to it, running around the Maryland zone with no intention of moving toward the goal. When the Terrapins finally decided to try to get a turnover with a double team, Marasco simply outran the defenders and beat the goalie to put the game out of reach with 39 seconds left.For head coach John Desko, this was the type of performance he wanted from the first offense. In his mind, the key was leaving the unit in throughout the scrimmage to develop that chemistry it was missing against Hofstra and Le Moyne.‘I think the fact that we pretty much kept the first group out there for the whole game let us get in a rhythm,’ he said. ‘We kind of ran one offense and one set of plays. … I think it worked well.’It worked to the tune of eight goals for the Orange’s first attack unit. And for Marasco, Keogh and Desko, it was a much better result Thursday.‘We just played really well together, and we were relaxed out there,’ Marasco said. ‘Finally, we took some time on the clock and moved the ball around, and it just came together for us. … It was very fun, and I’m happy with our attacks playing that well.’zjbrown@syr.edu Comments Published on February 10, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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