Published on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: email@example.com Comments When Syracuse takes the field in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, it will be searching for an identity. After losing seven starters and All-Americans from last season’s roster, the Orange enters the season as an unknown in college lacrosse for the first time in years.With the first scrimmage of the season this weekend, Tommy Palasek hopes to see the team begin establishing its identity.‘I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job figuring it out,’ Palasek said. ‘But as far as everyone else is concerned, I mean really no one’s seen us play since Maryland, so we have a whole new team for the most part. I think that we’re getting there.’Syracuse will be back in action for the first time since falling to Maryland in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals last May, taking on Le Moyne and Hofstra in a pair of scrimmages at the Carrier Dome on Sunday. The exhibition matchups will serve as a chance for the Orange to evaluate its progress two weeks before its season opener against Albany. With seven holes to fill going into the season, the tune-ups will also be a crucial to solidifying the starting lineup.Head coach John Desko said he is close to determining the starters and lineups on the field after nearly three weeks of practice.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRight now, the head coach said goaltender Matt Lerman will start in net. On close defense — where the team must replace two starters — Desko listed four candidates to join veteran Brian Megill, who is currently battling injuries. And in the midfield, 10 different players are in the mix to see significant playing time. JoJo Marasco, Hakeem Lecky and Bobby Eilers appear to be set as the starters thus far.Though Desko has an idea of his plans heading into the season, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the final roster. And Sunday will allow him to mix and match players on different lines to see how different combinations respond in game situations.‘We see some different things happen in game situations and how different players react. Some rise to the occasion, some take a step back,’ Desko said. ‘And we see how well those have learned the offenses and defenses when they get in a game situation, so that tells us a lot in these types of scrimmages.’With 10 players fighting for time at midfield, Desko said he actually feels more comfortable with the line as a whole than he did heading into last season. Though they don’t have the same experience as last season’s group, which included three All-Americans, Desko said the intense competition has them clicking and learning the offense.The constant battling every day has started to form the identity the Orange is searching for.Bobby Eilers remembers a grueling team workout before leaving for Winter Break. At 6 a.m., every player did six-minute squat holds, grimacing in pain while pushing each other to finish the exercise that left their legs shaking.‘The whole team did it and everyone lasted six minutes, and that’s just what we’re kind of like this year,’ Eilers said. ‘We’re all just sticking together and doing things together, and it’s paying off. We’re meshing very well out there.’Eilers said he hopes that togetherness translates to success on the field for the Orange, specifically in the midfield.The defense — which ranked third in the nation in scoring defense and set a school record for man-down efficiency last season — has been Syracuse’s identity in recent years while the offense has struggled. But the senior wants to see the offense pick up its production this year and return to SU’s old ways when the Orange seemed to go on a scoring outburst every game.Palasek feels the Orange has the ability to achieve that. After a few weeks of practice, the attack characterizes Syracuse as an unselfish group that is always looking for the next pass and has the athleticism to get up and down the field.And though SU won’t know its identity until the regular season begins, Palasek is confident this group will continue the program’s success the same way it always has.‘We’re just trying to stick with the Syracuse way,’ Palasek said. ‘And that’s always been the Syracuse way and play unselfish, and we’re just trying to keep that identity.’firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Twitter Google+
After opening its season on the road and coming away with a victory against defending NCAA champion UC Irvine, the USC men’s volleyball team returns to the Galen Center to host one of its biggest rivals.Spiking it ·Junior Tanner Jansen finished with eight kills in USC’s straight-set victory over the top-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters on Jan. 11. He has 13 kills on the season entering Friday’s match against Stanford. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe No. 7 Trojans (1-1) will take on No. 2 Stanford on Friday night, facing off against a squad that has amassed a 4-0 record to begin the season.“They’re a really skilled team,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “They’re going to want to get [Stanford middle blocker] Eric Mochalski the ball quite a bit. Brian Cook and Steven Irvin are two of their pin attackers, and those three are what really make them go.”After being swept by UC San Diego in their opening match, the Trojans rebounded with an emphatic win over the Anteaters in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, 27-25). The victory not only enabled USC to earn its first win of the season but also allowed the team to avenge its tough loss at home to UCI in last year’s NCAA championship match.Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers shined on both sides of the court, registering a team-high 12 kills to go along with six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Alex Slaught and redshirt junior opposite Tanner Jansen each notched eight kills to pace the Trojan attack alongside Feathers, while the defense was anchored by freshman libero Brooks Varni (eight digs) and sophomore setter Micah Christenson (seven digs).“I liked that no one major stood out,” Ferguson said. “I thought everybody brought something to the table and it was a team victory. The thing that was very important to me was us responding to a bad loss and showing the perseverance to leave that behind and do well in the next match.”Ferguson’s club is attempting to make up for the departures of two key players in the team’s 2012 championship run–outside hitter Tony Ciarelli, the 2012 national player of the year, and All-American middle blocker Steven Shandrick. The Trojan squad consists of 18 underclassmen; of the nine players to start in each of the team’s first two games, only one — opposite Tanner Jansen — holds junior status.“We came out of our staff meeting wanting to make sure our guys were as professional as possible,” Ferguson said. “There are going to be some young guys who aren’t playing as much right now who need to be ready when their number is called. What we really want to see from our younger guys is how well they’re going to respond to adversity, because it’s going to come as the season progresses.”Though Stanford poses a tough challenge, the key to success for the Trojans will be limiting the strong Cardinal attack.“We’re going to expect to see a heavy load of Mochalski, Cook and Irvin. If we can hopefully alter or slow them down a little bit, we’ll have a better shot if we limit one or maybe even two of them,” Ferguson said.Last season, the Trojans defeated the Cardinal in each of the teams’ two meetings, once in Palo Alto in February and again in a late season home game in March. In the first matchup, USC knocked off then-No. 1 ranked Stanford behind 12 kills from Jansen. Senior opposite hitter Maddison McKibbin also chipped in 10 kills in the team’s 3-2 win.In the second meeting, USC again outmatched its foe, this time more handily in a 3-1 win. The Trojans’ defense was particularly strong, limiting the trio of Mochalski, Cook and Irvin to just 27 combined kills The defense will have to contain those three again in order to improve their record to 2-1.USC and Stanford are set to square off at 6 p.m. at the Galen Center.