first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 21, 2013 at 2:08 am Contact Melissa: Loose ground balls and lost draws plagued the Syracuse defense in Sunday’s defeat to Maryland.Syracuse went into the half having won only four of 15 draws, and trailing 8-6. It came out for the second half and lost another, putting further pressure on an already vulnerable defense.The defense was still not clicking, and while SU improved on the draw in the second half, turnovers kept the Orange under siege and the Terrapins ran out 19-11 as the winners.“We weren’t as sharply prepared as we thought we thought we were,” head coach Gary Gait said. “That’s the way it goes, you think you’re ready and then you make a lot of mental errors.”This week, No. 6 Syracuse (1-1) worked on controlling its defensive errors and communication on the field leading up to a rematch with No. 7 Virginia (2-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSunday’s game is the 15th meeting between the two schools. The Cavaliers have dominated the series 11-3, and earned their last victory by exposing the Orange defense with a 4-1 run late in the first half.The team is appreciative of an early loss to a top-five team. Gait explains the Terps exposed many of the young team’s flaws, beginning with its teamwork. The stinging loss forces SU to regroup ahead of hosting UVA.“Virginia is, historically, a team we struggled against,” junior attack Alyssa Murray said. “If you go in doubting yourself, the outcome is going to be something you don’t want.”To boost its confidence early, the Orange looks to overwhelm Virginia’s defense and score first. Once Virginia goes on a run and converts open looks, it is hard to play catch-up.Syracuse is aware of this as it looks to snap the Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak in this series. With a week off from its first game, the Orange has paced itself in preparing for the matchup, choosing not to study film on the Cavaliers just yet. Instead, SU is focusing on its own mistakes.“We’ve taken the last couple days to look at what we can take away from the Maryland game,” senior Linley Block said.Senior Becca Block was often left alone defending the crease as defensive communication broke down. Only four players notched goals for the Orange against Maryland, as opposed to 11 players at lowly Jacksonville in the season opener.Dooming the defense and starving the offense was SU’s inability to control possession off of the draw. The Orange would take initial possession, only to lose it before it could settle into a set offense.“I think that’s the focus,” Gait said. “We worked on a lot of boxing out and quick starts to make sure we give ourselves a better shot at getting those.”His game plan was not executed then, but he guarantees it will be this Sunday. He wants his players to play a physical style of lacrosse.Murray noticed the defense stepped up its pressure in Tuesday’s practice, focusing on getting a marker on everyone.Said Murray: “It’s been a lot harder to play them this week.” Commentslast_img

Communication, defense focuses for Syracuse ahead of hosting Virginia

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