Men's Lacrosse

No. 2 Syracuse dominates faceoffs early to pull away from Siena

Spencer Bodian | Staff Photographer

Syracuse won 15-of-28 faceoffs against Siena. The Orange struggled at the X a year ago.

It didn’t take long at all for Syracuse’s biggest weakness from a year ago to resurface in the 2014 season.

The first whistle blew and Siena’s Casey Dowd immediately ran off with the season-opening faceoff. Giggles and sneers could be heard throughout the Carrier Dome press box. The Orange collapsed in last year’s national championship because of problems at the faceoff X, and that’s exactly how SU began its comeback season.

But the struggles wouldn’t last Monday night.

“A lot of guys get lost in faceoffs when they get frustrated after they lose a couple and that’s the last thing you can do,” said SU midfielder Chris Daddio. “You got to really focus on yourself. You can’t worry about the other guy.”

Despite losing three of the first four matchups at the X to start the game, the Syracuse faceoff specialists pulled it together to control 12-of-18 faceoffs in the first half in the No. 2 Orange’s 19-7 win over Siena at the Carrier Dome.

The final tally shows only a 15-13 Syracuse advantage at the X, but the Orange dominated possession early on, leading to eight first-quarter goals. SU went on to cruise to a blowout victory.

“I was happy with the faceoffs,” SU head coach John Desko said. “We’ve watched their faceoff guy before and he’s had some great success so it was good to get Chris out there and get on a roll and get things back on track.

“We’ve worked so hard and he’s worked so hard all year long, so it’s great to get back out there and have the numbers fall our way.”

Just as the Orange persisted through its faceoff woes last year, SU flew out to a quick 3-0 edge before four minutes had passed. But Siena scooped up two consecutive faceoffs and found the back of the net twice to draw within 3-2.

A media timeout at the 6:42 mark proved to be the turning point. The Orange grabbed six of the remaining seven faceoffs in the first quarter and rattled off four unanswered goals to pile it on the Saints.

Daddio, who finished 10-of-17 at the X, nailed down his reading on Dowd’s move and often left the Siena midfielder lying on the Carrier Dome turf as he secured the ball and looked to dish it out.

On junior college transfer Mike Iacono’s very first battle at the X in his Syracuse career, he proved exactly what he has called his strength – popping the ball out to himself and using his 6-foot-5 frame to pull away from his opponent and start a transition opportunity.

Iacono did just that on his first faceoff, and threw his hands up in the air after his first pass, because he knew exactly what was coming. Two more passes and not even eight seconds after the whistle, Dylan Donahue buried the goal for a 6-2 lead.

The Orange won just 3-of-10 in the second half, but it didn’t matter.

“It’s a good start,” Daddio said. “Not good enough, I don’t think, but it was good so we’ll just keep working from there.”

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