Syracuse looking to avoid letdown
As thrilling as top-ranked Syracuse’s 12-10 victory over No.2 Virginia on Friday night was – it was the Orange’s first regular-season win against the Cavaliers since 2004 and took place before a crowd of 14,340, which is the largest to watch a college lacrosse game thus far – coach John Desko wants to make sure that his players aren’t coasting into Saturday’s contest against No. 15 Georgetown at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
“I don’t know that we’re talking about letdowns as much as we’re talking about the big game we had with Virginia and what to take out of it and how to turn around and re-focus on a new opponent,” Desko said Tuesday. “As a coaching staff, we have to find incentives for our guys to do well against Georgetown. It’s our first Big East game with Georgetown being one of the better teams in the Big East. So I think that’s our job as coaches, to get them re-focused. We lost one game by one goal in the regular season last year [to Virginia], and I think the team had a very good mindset about going out and playing the next opponent. We really didn’t have that big breakdown last year. So we’re going to try to mimic what we did a year ago and keep the guys focused on the next opponent.”
The Orange is one of four teams in The Sun’s top 10 that is still unbeaten, but the team’s triumph seems to have widened the gap between Syracuse and the remaining teams in Division I.
That may be the case, but that’s not something that Desko is clinging to.
“We had some seniors that hadn’t beaten Virginia in the regular season, and we had throwback uniforms, a very large crowd in the Carrier Dome. So I think there was a lot of incentive to play well and try to win the game,” he said. “So I think from that point, it was important to us, but I think even [Cavaliers coach]Dom Starsia would tell you, it’s a game that’s fun to play and those kind of games show you where your team is at even if it’s early in the year. At the end, when it comes to strength of schedule and RPI, which is criteria for the playoffs, and wins in the top five and top 10 and so on, it could be helpful at the end of the year. Right now, it’s more of a barometer of where we’re at right now.”
Desko had the rare opportunity to watch his son Tim, whose career-high five goals proved instrumental in the Orange’s victory. The redshirt junior was selected as the Big East’s Offensive Player of the Week.
“It’s rewarding as a parent, but the game is kind of tense, and I think you look at each goal as a big goal and as another opportunity to help you win the game,” John Desko said. “So I think you tend to enjoy it more afterwards rather than during – as a parent. During the game, you’re treating it mostly as a coach. Watching the game afterwards, it becomes more enjoyable from that aspect.”