Opponent preview: What to know about the Colgate Raiders

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ For the second-consecutive year, Syracuse opens its season against Colgate. The No. 5 Orange enter this year’s matchup five spots higher in Inside Lacrosse’s preseason media poll than last year and employ a new-look offense. The Raiders, on the other hand, are coming off a four-win season in which they couldn’t build off the early upset over SU.Here’s what to know about Colgate before Friday’s season opener at 4 p.m.Last time they played: The last time Colgate and Syracuse faced-off ended in one of the most stunning upsets for SU in recent years. Before the 12-9 loss to unranked Colgate, John Desko had won 19 of 20 openers with the Orange. In one of the Orange’s lowest offensive outputs of the 2019 season, Nate Solomon and Brendan Curry tallied three goals apiece. Colgate’s Nicky Petkevich led all scorers with four goals, and Will Blumenberg scored the eventual game-winning goal with 8:06 left in the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders finished with more shots and ground balls than the Orange, but SU did go 3-for-5 on extra man opportunities.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 48-12-1 The Colgate report: Colgate is still a work in progress. Head coach Matt Karweck made strides in his first season, including back-to-back wins to open the year, but also struggled at times, especially over the final 11 games that included nine losses. Griffin Brown returns as the top offensive option at midfield, but Colgate shares the Orange’s most profound weakness: defense. Five defensive players graduated — two close defenders, a starting goalie and a pair of short-stick defensive midfielders.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Raiders opened their season with a loss to No. 10 North Carolina, 19-6, on Feb. 1. Brown had three goals and took eight of Colgate’s 20 shots on goal. How Syracuse beats Colgate: If Syracuse’s offense is what it claims to be, the Orange will win by overpowering the Raiders. When these two teams met last year, Colgate slides forced SU to hold onto the ball too long, midfield Jamie Trimboli said. So this year, the Orange need quick ball movement that gives their playmakers — Trimboli, Tucker Dordevic, Chase Scanlan — space to dodge and shoot. Should Syracuse do that and limit Brown, the Raiders’ best player, SU should coast in its season opener. But that’s what everyone thought would happen last year.State to know: 8 — The number of scorers Colgate returns from its 2019 top 11. Brown and now-graduated Sam Cleveland combined for 32% of the Red Raiders’ goals last year, but the group behind them contributed points at a consistent rate.Player to watch: Griffin Brown, Midfield, No. 11Colgate’s offense the last three seasons has run through Brown. The McLean, Virginia native notched 34 goals in 2018 before following that up with 20 in 2019 — including one goal and three points in the Raiders’ win over Syracuse. Brown has been the leading scorer all three years he’s been in Hamilton. With Colgate losing its second-best offensive player in Cleveland, look for Brown to take on a larger role in cracking Syracuse’s inexperienced close defense. Comments Published on February 6, 2020 at 12:28 am Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrewlast_img

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