How Syracuse’s offensive depth created problems for Albany’s defense in SU’s 11-9 NCAA tournament win

September 16, 2020 | By admin | Filed in: egielqmer.

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Albany packed in its defense and flustered Syracuse throughout the entire first half. On the few chances the Orange had, it rarely converted. For 30 minutes, SU’s offensive puzzle was solved by sliding as little as possible.The Great Danes held Syracuse to just two goals, its lowest in a half this season.Then everything changed. Ben Williams started winning faceoffs, its offense created more opportunities and SU outscored Albany by six after a four-goal halftime deficit.No. 8 seed Syracuse’s (12-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) 11-9 win over Albany (12-4, 6-0 America East) on Sunday night in the Carrier Dome extended the Orange’s season one more week and into the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. But amid the comeback was also a shift in tactics as SU head coach John Desko and Albany head coach Scott Marr strategically matched each other move for move.“Their ability to interchange some guys, to play different people at different positions, just their overall depth,” Marr said of Syracuse. “… I think they’re a really well-balanced offense. It’s very tough to stop.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMarr was the one who got the best of Desko early on as the Orange offense stalled. But in the second half, SU poured in nine goals, partially as a result of several coaching adjustments.Two of Syracuse’s top three goal-scorers are midfielders Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido. But with only one long-pole defensive midfielder allowed on the field, opposing defenses have to make a decision: Defend Mariano with a long pole and Salcido with a short stick or defend Salcido with a pole and Mariano with a short stick. Put a pole on both of them and sacrifice a defender on an attack.“They’re a matchup nightmare,” Albany goalie Blaze Riorden said.In the first half, Marr had his long pole on Mariano and Syracuse’s offense stalled. But in the second, it shifted to Salcido, who finished with two goals and two assists. And that’s when the Orange’s offense found its rhythm. Shots on the perimeter opened up as a result of ball movement and eight different players tallied a goal in the game.“It’s a toss up who you want to put the pole on,” Marr said when asked why he switched the pole from Mariano to Salcido.After Syracuse’s offense struggled, Desko changed up the unit. He bumped starting attacks Tim Barber and Jordan Evans to play with in the midfield and rotated backups Nate Solomon and Nick Piroli into the attack. That allowed Barber and Evans to draw favorable matchups against Albany’s defensive midfielders and force earlier slides.The move worked to perfection as the Great Danes’ defense had to shift more, which opened up the space that was non-existent in the first half. Barber and Evans finished with a combined four goals, all in the final 30 minutes.The depth that Syracuse displayed had been there all season, but for the first time it fully paid off in a crucial spot.As Marr made his adjustments, so did Desko. The puzzle that was previously solved by Albany had been reconfigured to give the Great Danes trouble.“It’s the fact that they can run five or six attackmen in a game and still have success on the offensive end,” Riorden said. Comments Published on May 16, 2016 at 1:34 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img

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