No. 6 Syracuse’s futile offense results in 18-7 loss to No. 17 Johns Hopkins

first_imgDanny Varello thought he finally got one. Though the game had not come easy, as he turned his back an SU player had the ball and the faceoff-specialist had seemingly done his job. Turning back around to check back on the action, Varello saw the ball on the ground. He looked confused. After the Blue Jays converted in a matter of seconds, Varello turned back around. He held his stick on top of his helmet and pulled it down, seemingly trying to snap it in frustration. Even when he did right, things for SU still continued to go horribly wrong.“Every time we tried to stop the run and answer, they answered right back,” SU senior Brendan Bomberry said. “We tried to answer the best we could but they were quick to answer always.”No. 6 Syracuse (3-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast), held back by poor offensive production and an inability to hold onto the ball, fell to No. 17 Johns Hopkins (3-2), 18-7, in a lopsided game in favor of the Blue Jays. The loss produced SU’s second-worst offensive performance of the year, only behind the Orange’s 15-3 embarrassment at the hands of now-No. 1 Albany.“To come up here, in a hostile environment, in a place that can be a horror show for some teams…” Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala said. “I’m pleased.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU was undermanned on the offensive end from the get-go. The Orange was without one of its top offensive players in Nate Solomon, but Syracuse normally is a very balanced attack, getting its scoring from a lot of areas. SU had players with one, two, three, four, five and six goals coming into the game, with five players representing the latter two categories. But on a day where the Orange was missing two of its most important defensive players in Tyson Bomberry and Jared Fernandez, it is the offense that may have suffered the toughest blow.Junior Bradley Voigt did little filling in Solomon’s starting position and the Orange struggled to get separation all game long. Last year, when Syracuse met Johns Hopkins on March 18, the Orange and the Blue Jays played nearly identical games. SU and JHU were separated by no more than five in every statistical category, but Syracuse’s four shot-on-goal advantage was enough for the Orange to pull off the one-goal win. Today, the Orange couldn’t benefit from an advantage in any offensive category. Syracuse was outshot 46-25, with Johns Hopkins putting 28 shots on goal to the Orange’s 17. “We were real frustrated offensively,” SU head coach John Desko said. “When they had the lead we had to play faster, which is difficult to do against a team like (Johns Hopkins).”With Syracuse struggling to maintain possession, it relied on its defense to provide its only strong offensive chances. On one play, with the Blue Jays’ Brinton Valis holding the ball by the 40-yard line and Johns Hopkins holding a 3-0 lead, a huge Luke Schwasnick hit allowed SU’s Tyler Ford to pick up the ball and push ahead. Syracuse worked the ball around to Brendan Curry who gave the Orange its first goal of the game. Dom Madonna saves and forced turnovers were SU’s only hope of gaining possession given its struggles with the faceoff and Johns Hopkins dominant attack. But in a game where SU’s defense struggled almost as much as its offense did, those opportunities rarely presented themselves.Even when they did, turnovers stopped an SU chance before it even started. Following a big save from Dom Madonna, David Lipka had a breakaway opportunity to gain some momentum. As a speedy Blue Jays defender trailed him, Lipka faked and started to his left. But as he broke, he had his stick knocked away from him, unsuccessfully trying to catch it before it struck the ground and Syracuse lost possession of the ball. The play wasn’t a crushing blow for SU, but rather another example of how the game was going. The Blue Jays ended with the second-highest forced turnover mark, 12, in school history.“You get so jipped up, you want to make something happen,” Desko said. “A lot of the turnovers come from emotion.”But even though Desko said that the Orange stopped turning the ball over as frequently in the second half, he noted that some of the shots that Syracuse sailed past the cage and clanked against the crossbar, like a wide-open chance in front of the goal from Brett Kennedy, did the same damage. The frustration was easy to spot from many players on SU. Already losing big, Ryan Simmons got a chance near the cage to get the SU offense going, something that was few and far between for the entire 60 minutes. While pushing forward, he lost his footing and the ball, falling flat on his stomach. He watched as the Blue Jays picked it up and ran down the field. He slammed his fists to the floor as the Blue Jays started their break, and he nodded his head. It was a point of acceptance for the senior, who had just witnessed the dominance the Blue Jays defense had brought all game up close.“We definitely expected a tougher matchup,” JHU’s Pietramala said.But on Saturday, because of SU’s futility, they didn’t get it. Comments Published on March 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+last_img