MLAX : Syracuse defense expects challenge against explosive Villanova attack in Big East semifinals

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first_img Published on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+ John Desko doesn’t see this as a matter of life and death, but as an opportunity. Syracuse starts a new season Thursday with the chance to put its disappointing regular season in the rearview mirror.The Orange fell to Villanova 11-10 on March 25 in its first-ever conference loss. Now, Syracuse has a chance to earn revenge and extend its season.‘I think we can do better this time and it gives us an opportunity to get to the Big East championships,’ Desko said, ‘and if we win the Big East championships, we’re in the NCAA (tournament).’To do that, Syracuse’s defense must be ready for an experienced Villanova lineup dotted with aggressive shooters. The Wildcats’ offensive firepower beat Syracuse (7-7, 3-3 Big East) once already, and the Orange’s defense is focusing on correcting its mistakes to ensure the Villanova (8-6, 4-2) attack doesn’t repeat that performance Thursday at 7 p.m. at Villanova Stadium in the Big East tournament semifinals. If Syracuse wins, it’ll face the winner of the game between Notre Dame and St. John’s. The Orange likely has to win the Big East tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament to avoid missing the postseason for the first time in five years.The No. 3 seed SU is looking to take two of No. 2 seed Villanova’s most formidable scorers, Kevin Cunningham and Jack Rice, out of the game by sliding early, increasing communication between defenders and keeping them from getting any easy looks at the goal. Back on March 25, Rice had two goals and Cunningham had three assists.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange’s defense has been in flux since the start of the season. Three goaltenders have rotated in and out of the net, the close defense line has two new starters in sophomore Matt Harris and redshirt-junior David Hamlin, and Steve Ianzito is in his first season as a defensive midfielder.All of that has led to a slow-to-develop cohesiveness for the unit. Without sufficient communication, opposing scorers have exploited the Orange’s defenders’ inability to sufficiently slide. ‘We need to be a lot more talkative, we need to communicate a lot better, and I think we need to slide a lot more,’ Hamlin said. ‘We need to have our two slides, and know we’re out there playing team defense, that we’re not out there by ourselves.’Freshman goaltender Bobby Wardwell, who has started the last six games, will likely get the nod in net. Dominic Lamolinara started in goal against Villanova the last time the two teams played, and the Wildcats took 11 shots in the first quarter, the most it took in any period in the game. Villanova will almost certainly do that again Thursday to throw Wardwell of his game and unnerve him early on.It’s a strategy Desko stresses to his offense before each game.Hamlin said Desko routinely tells his attack to take the first couple of shots, and make sure they’re well placed, and if it works the way he wants, the goaltender’s confidence will be shaken at the start.With SU’s season on the line, Wardwell will have little time to overcome early nerves. Villanova has 50 first-quarter goals this season, which is the most it has in any quarter by 13.‘I’d say I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable,’ Wardwell said. ‘The first couple of games I was pretty nervous, and then I kind of relaxed a little bit more.’Still, Wardwell is going to need help.Syracuse’s defense is responsible for slowing the Wildcats down. The unit has to communicate and slide to those shooters when they’re about to get an open look. Hamlin said it might even require falling into a zone defense, not only to force long shots, but also to confuse Villanova on the fly.Though the Orange typically employs a man-to-man defense, Syracuse fell into a zone at Notre Dame and stifled the Fighting Irish’s offense in the second half after some slow rotations in the first half.For a unit that’s still looking for consistency – much like the Orange as a team – the defenders need to reverse the mistakes they made in the first matchup with Villanova. That could begin and end with communication among the defenders.Keeping Rice and Cunningham, who have 29 and 20 goals this season respectively, from hitting the back of the net could be the difference between Syracuse going home for good or playing in the championship round.Said Hamlin: ‘The communication on the field is going to be the biggest help.’cjiseman@syr.educenter_img Commentslast_img

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Boxing: Manny Pacquiao’s 3 fights before Floyd Mayweather 2020 rematch

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Burnes strong, Hiura drives in 3 as Brewers down Indians 7-1

first_img Corbin Burnes pitched six strong innings, Keston Hiura hit an RBI double in Milwaukee’s four-run seventh inning and the Brewers scored three times on two weak infield grounders in a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.Burnes (2-0) didn’t allow an earned run and only three hits to the offensively inconsistent Indians, who got just four hits. He recently returned to the rotation after a three-game relief stint and had his second straight solid outing.Hiura added a two-run homer in the seventh as the Brewers won the opener of a five-game trip and broke the tie in the all-time series between the clubs.Milwaukee is 208-207 against Cleveland.With the score tied 1-1, Hiura doubled home Luis Urías off reliever Phil Maton (2-1) to trigger the seventh, and the Brewers scored two more when Indians first baseman Carlos Santana didn’t stop Christian Yelich’s bases-loaded chopper and the ball rolled into the outfield.Milwaukee’s outburst came after hitting coach Andy Haines was ejected by plate umpire Jerry Meals for a profane rant. With Jacob Nottingham batting, Haines screamed toward Meals with a series of expletives that could be heard in every corner of the empty ballpark.Perhaps fired up by their coach’s fervor, the Brewers followed with a single and double before Santana’s costly misplay. Ryan Braun also delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the inning.The Indians, who came into the series leading the AL Central, played their 24th game without manager Terry Francona. He’s feeling better following surgery and a hospital stay, but the 61-year-old isn’t ready to rejoin the club.Cleveland’s offense remains hit or mostly miss. The Indians have scored two runs or less in 18 of 38 games.Daniel Voglebach got two hits in his debut with the Brewers, who claimed the slugger off waivers on Thursday.SOMBER SALUTEThe Indians flew the flags at Progressive Field at half-staff and a moment of silence was held before the game to honor Cleveland Det. James Skernivitz, who was shot and killed Thursday night while on duty. Skernivitz worked in the past on security detail at the ballpark.PAINFUL MEMORYIndians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. can’t help but recall a tough career moment when he looks across the diamond at Brewers manager Craig Counsell.“Every time I see him, I remember him scoring,” Alomar said.In Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, Counsell scored the title-winning run as the then-Florida Marlins beat the Indians. Counsell hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and scored in the 11th as Alomar, the Indians’ six-time All-Star catcher, helplessly watched.“It’s a tough one, but I kind of turned that page,” Alomar said. “I’m still scarred forever because you went to seven games and you had the lead but at the end of the day, we have to move on.”TRAINER’S ROOMIndians: Starting C Roberto Pérez’s shoulder is improving. He missed time earlier this season with soreness, but team president Chris Antonetti said the issue is more fatigue this time and Pérez should be back behind the plate in a few days.UP NEXTAaron Civale (3-4) starts for the Indians against Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff (2-3), who became a dad for the first time earlier this week.Image credits: AP Associated Press Television News SUBSCRIBE TO US FOLLOW US First Published: 5th September, 2020 07:49 IST Last Updated: 5th September, 2020 07:49 IST Burnes Strong, Hiura Drives In 3 As Brewers Down Indians 7-1 Corbin Burnes pitched six strong innings, Keston Hiura hit an RBI double in Milwaukee’s four-run seventh inning and the Brewers scored three times on two weak infield grounders in a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday nightcenter_img Written By WATCH US LIVE LIVE TV COMMENTlast_img

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