No. 4 Syracuse’s dominance in individual battles adds to potent offense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Relation to SU Current StudentEmployee of SUAlumniParent of Current/Former StudentLocal CNY ResidentOther Sign up for The Daily Orange Newsletter Email Address * “If we know our matchups, we can take our matchups and get a goal out of it,” Meaghan Tyrrell said.Instinct stems from lacrosse IQ, Gait said. Syracuse does one-on-one drills regularly, and through that they’ve learned to observe things like the defender’s body positioning.Depending on whether the defender’s hips are open or square, Syracuse’s attacks can select the best one-on-one move for that scenario. Tyrrell utilizes split, roll and topside dodges, she said, but it’s all about each player’s preference.“Whatever they practice the most, that’s how they get in,” Swart said.Midway through the first half against Colgate, Rahal intercepted a pass at Syracuse’s 30-yard line. Immediately, she felt a Raiders defender contesting the ball, but she rotated away and sprinted from the pressure. Rahal’s individual skill sparked a counterattack where the Orange scored through Tyrrell.The spin is Rahal’s signature move in one-on-one situations. She didn’t even know she utilized the move so frequently until her teammates told her. When the defense is forcing her one way, her body naturally tells her to spin the other way, she said.“Mary (Rahal) is a spin-move queen,” Swart said.The Orange’s one-on-one play sets up for the offense to run as an entire unit. Leading-scorer Emily Hawryschuk tends to draw the best defender, Carney said, leaving one-on-one opportunities for her, Tyrrell, Swart and others.Playing against a lot of teams that like to play man-to-man defense helps that one-on-one game as well, Gait said. Because the team capitalizes on one-on-one opportunities, that opens up things like the extra pass, Swart said.“The individual talent,” Gait said, “It just builds into the team talent.” Comments Published on March 10, 2020 at 11:04 pm Contact Roshan: rferna04@syr.edu | @Roshan_f16 From the left edge of the 8-meter arc, Megan Carney stutter-stepped and swung her stick side-to-side. She squared her hips with Northwestern’s Liza Elder and spun counterclockwise. Then, the Orange attack sprinted toward the top of the arc and cut back.Elder was caught. Yards behind the play, she could only watch as Carney scored with ease.Carney’s individual effort gave the Orange a 3-2 lead midway through the first half against the then-No. 6 Wildcats on Feb. 22. This season, SU’s offense has been largely characterized by individual talent — moments like Carney’s goal. Through eight games, No. 4 Syracuse (7-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) has scored 137 times, 70 of which have been unassisted. The structure of SU’s offense lends to a lot of flips and small passes that don’t statistically count as assists, head coach Gary Gait said. Regardless, those unassisted goals still emphasize an element of the Orange’s offense — an innate ability to overpower opponents by winning one-on-one matchups.“Our offense is very unique,” Gait said. “We freelance a little bit and make decisions and let our players decide when they get a step on the (opponent).”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEmily Steinberger | Design EditorA few weeks before Carney’s goal, Gait brought in an outside company called Shake School to help the Orange improve their dodging and footwork. It’s very difficult to teach players how to do a “shoulder shimmy” or a deceptive move, Gait said, but Shake School created drills to help his players improve their one-on-one skills. Against Northwestern, Carney put those skills to work.“Being able to turn around and go the other way quickly,” Carney said. “(It) just gets the defender shaken up.”The ability to “shake n’ bake” a defender stems back to film review, Carney said. Before game day, when Syracuse scouts opposing teams, they keep an eye on potential mismatches. Typically, they have two film sessions before practice that last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.“Players watch to identify the quality and the level of the defender they’re going to be potentially up against,” Gait said. “It’s really about being prepared.”Even if it’s not a mismatch, knowing about the defender gives an attack assurance, Carney said. That decision of whether or not to challenge a defender one-on-one, and what move to do, is one based on instinct, junior Sam Swart and redshirt senior Mary Rahal said. It’s made in the moment, Rahal said, and it’s about finding a balance between when to be unselfish and when to be selfish. * * indicates requiredlast_img read more