Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
Published on March 18, 2017 at 8:47 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ BALTIMORE — Syracuse didn’t need its defense in the overtime period, but that unit was the only reason the Orange made it there.Before junior transfer midfielder Brendan Bomberry scored the overtime game-winner on Syracuse’s first possession, No. 6 SU (5-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) limited one of the NCAA’s most balanced offenses in No. 14 Johns Hopkins (4-3) to nearly half of its season average total goals. The 8-7 chippy Orange win in extra time over its historic rivals at Homewood Field on Saturday afternoon represented Syracuse’s 45th consecutive victory when holding opponents to fewer than 10 goals. Neither coach, JHU’s Dave Pietramala or SU’s John Desko, expected such a low-scoring contest between teams that combine to average 25 goals per game.“Both defenses played pretty well,” Desko said. “Evan (Molloy) made some big saves for us.”Syracuse’s redshirt senior goalie saved seven of the 14 shots the Blue Jays threw on net, including five in the second quarter alone to spur 26:35 stretch between the first and third quarters when SU scored four unanswered goals.Two acrobatic saves by Molloy in the midst of the stretch, with SU down two players due to penalty, kept the momentum in Orange favor. Syracuse carried a 3-2 advantage into halftime and thoroughly stifled an offense accustomed to pouring in 12 goals per game. JHU scored four of its seven goals man-up or in transition.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Absolutely I’m disappointed in our output offensively,” Pietramala said. “We’ve got to find different ways to generate goals. … I don’t think many of (Molloy’s) saves were … I don’t think he had to make many. But five or six of them were pretty darn good ones.”The Orange’s defensive line, once rendered a liability by injuries and inexperience in high-flying shootouts, showed its maturation Saturday by playing a major role in keeping the Orange afloat late.With 1:34 left in the game and JHU leading 7-6, do-it-all midfielder Joel Tinney slashed toward the net to double the Orange deficit and seal a Blue Jay victory. Redshirt freshman Andrew Helmer, who essentially rotates at longstick midfielder with redshirt sophomore Austin Fusco, knew he was beat and used Tinney’s momentum against him. Helmer shoved Tinney in the back. The junior stumbled. As the ball rolled from Tinney’s stick into the back of the net, the referees waved off the goal because Tinney’s trip landed him inside the crease for a violation.The defensive play, made in desperation or deftness, likely saved Syracuse.All season, the Orange has hoped its defense can string floss together long enough for superior firepower to simply bludgeon opponents with more shots. Saturday, a stalwart defense afforded SU’s offense, not displaying its 13 goals per game average either, just enough time to break through. SU’s 32 shots was one above its season low.Sixty seconds after Tinney’s waved-off dagger, senior Nick Mariano ended SU’s ensuing possession with an overtime-forcing goal.Syracuse had prepared for Tinney, the engineer of JHU’s infamous hidden-ball trick goals and a constant threat because of his quickness. Fusco shadowed him and shut off his left hand, trying to take away any advantage the junior could create. That strategy reflected SU’s similar approach with stars junior Shack Stanwick (3.17 points per game) and senior John Crawley (2.33 points per game). The Orange limited the pair to a combined one point, a Stanwick assist.Fully aware of the threat Stanwick posed as a feeder, Syracuse assigned converted-LSM Scott Firman to him. The senior stayed in the Blue Jay’s hands, refusing to yield space and Stanwick helplessly watched from his maestro position behind the net as the JHU offense came up empty possession after possession.“We communicated really well,” Molloy said. “They didn’t have any goals in the 6-on-6 set. Some (goals on) broken plays and transitions, but we did our assignments.”Forty minutes before the game, the necessity of physicality in a contest that exhibited perhaps anything but finesse was foreshadowed when Johns Hopkins and Syracuse broke from their normal pregame warmups to have a shoving match at midfield. Half of either team, about 40 players in total, jawed and bodied each other as flags flew. No one remembered starting a game with players in the penalty box before.“That’s just Syracuse-Hopkins for you,” Molloy said later.When Bomberry put home the game-winner in overtime, players again sprinted from the sidelines. Molloy and the defensive line were among the first to reach Bomberry and form another heaving mass. This time, though, the jerseys were the same color, and they danced on Johns Hopkins’ side of the field. Comments
From Olawale Ajimotokan in AbujaThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is lining up a friendly match with either Burkina Faso or Benin Republic for the Super Eagles ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, to make up for the Stars of Ghana which have pulled out, THISDAY gathered last night.NFF has already confirmed the Eagles will face Africa’s highest ranked country, Senegal in Egypt, before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations in June.The match against Ghana, originally fixed for Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, was called off at the instance of the Ghanaians, who would be having their Nations Cup camping in Dubai about the same time the match is scheduled. The Nigerian federation is now holding talks with both Benin and Burkina Faso as replacement for Ghana.Like Nigeria, Benin will appear at the Nations Cup, while Burkina Faso, which incidentally to the Eagles at the 2012 final in South Africa, is not among the 24 nations that will officially campaign at the continent flagship football spectacle.A high profile friendly between Nigeria and Burkina Faso was on the cards in London last year, before the World Cup in Russia. But it was cancelled because the Burkinabe team could not secure UK visas f or the match.Nigeria will play its Africa Cup of Nations matches in Group B along Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram