MLAX : Altering shot selection key for SU against Lowman; McArdle poses challenge for Orange defense

first_imgVILLANOVA, Pa. – John Desko voiced to his players they needed to change the angle on their shots or else they weren’t going to be St. John’s goaltender Jeff Lowman.In the first half of Syracuse’s 9-8 victory over the Red Storm on March 10, the Orange sent countless high shots toward the net, providing St. John’s goaltender Jeff Lowman with the upper hand early in the game.When SU finally responded to Desko’s criticism, the ball finally started to fall into the back of the net. The lesson on shot selection is one the Orange attack has carried throughout the rest of the season.‘Definitely just changing the planes on the shots and overall just shooting smart,’ SU attack Tim Desko said, ‘don’t shoot right into his stick and I think we’ll be fine.’The Orange attack will look to beat the goalie that gave them fits early in the regular season when the third-seeded Orange takes on No. 4 seed St. John’s in the Big East tournament final at Villanova Stadium on Saturday. With a lesson from the regular season in hand, Syracuse will hope to conquer Lowman again in the postseason. The junior goaltender is coming off a stellar 15-save performance in the Red Storm’s 8-7 upset victory over Notre Dame in the semifinals.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse is coming off one of its most inspiring offensive performances of the season against Villanova on Thursday. Leading 9-6 late in the third quarter, the Orange used a patient approach to dispose of the Wildcats with six unanswered goals to close out the game.‘We don’t want another let down this season,’ Tim Desko said. ‘We did well dodging, moving the ball good yesterday. We kept moving the ball, getting great dodges and it didn’t matter who scored, it was pretty spread out which is nice.’Tim Desko said the Orange has carried a quiet confidence since nearly upending the Fighting Irish with six second-half goals last weekend. Against Villanova, Syracuse was patient on offense, cycling the ball around the perimeter, unafraid of stall warnings as long as it got a good look at the net.And the persistence in the attacking zone wore down the Wildcats defense.When SU takes on Lowman for the second time this season, John Desko said it won’t be as much about shooting low as it will be mixing up the shot selection. And if SU is able to do that from start to finish he believes the Orange’s offensive success will continue.‘A lot of goalies have had their best game against us, so we’ll see,’ John Desko said. ‘I think he’s comfortable in the goal and as opposed to saying we have to shoot in a certain high or low, I think we need to look at the goal and take good shots.’Syracuse defense preparing to face conference’s leading scorerBrian Megill and the Syracuse defense frustrated Big East attack player of the year, Kevin Cunningham, into three turnovers and held him to two points on Thursday.The Orange blanketed Cunningham off the ball and swarmed him on drives to the cage. With Villanova’s top threat neutralized, the Wildcats offense couldn’t keep pace with Syracuse in a blowout loss.On Saturday, Megill will match up with St. John’s attack Kieran McArdle, who led the Big East with 49 points during the regular season, and the close defender said SU simply has to duplicate its play to contain the Red Storm offense.‘We got to keep playing the way we played yesterday,’ Megill said. ‘Energetic, we had great communication. Our slides were there, our switches were there and that’s how we just have to keep playing.’Syracuse will need its defense to stifle St. John’s offense when the teams square off with the Big East championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament on the line. The Orange is preparing to shut down the Red Storm   using the same formula for success against Villanova.Like Villanova, SJU’s success on offense starts with one player. McArdle is the catalyst for the Red Storm, pacing the team in goals and assists. He led St. John’s to its upset victory over top-seeded Notre Dame on Thursday with seven points coming on three goals and four assists.Against the Notre Dame defense, ranked No. 1 in the nation allowing just 5.75 goals per game, McArdle’s breakout performance in his team’s 8-7 win was even more impressive.Megill said McArdle is athletic and smart, with the ability to make plays all over the field, zipping passes from midfield to his teammates for scoring chances. While the junior will be responsible for covering McArdle, he said the entire defense has to be aware of him on the field at all times.‘I’m going to go out there and play as a team and not worry so much about my individual matchup and hopefully hold them to zero, that’s the plan,’ Megill said.rjgery@syr.eduadtredin@syr.edu Published on May 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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