Syracuse’s ‘mission accomplished’ in getting strong win before Selection Sunday

first_img Published on May 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories SU makes final statement in 17-5 dismantling of Colgate prior to Selection SundayFast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 17-5 blowout of Colgatecenter_img Syracuse midfielder Jamie Trimboli and goalie Dom Madonna took their seats at the press conference table following No. 12 SU’s (8-6, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) 17-5 dismantling of Colgate (7-8, 3-5 Patriot League). Arriving minutes before Syracuse head coach John Desko, the two joked around, tapping the microphones to test audio levels and discussing how Brendan Curry sat in Desko’s seat following the win over North Carolina.Trimboli suddenly turned to Madonna, tapping him on the shoulder to tell him that Denver lost to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament.“Maybe we’ll host,” Trimboli told Madonna.As soon as the game against Colgate ended, attention shifted to tomorrow’s selection show, where the NCAA tournament bracket will be released. Syracuse used Saturday’s home contest as a tune-up before the tournament with an easy opponent at the end of a gauntlet schedule.After Syracuse took a 6-0 lead, it never led the Raiders by fewer than five goals and when the fourth quarter came around, Senior Day turned into a freshman showcase.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen the final buzzer sounded, names on the field included Jacob Buttermore, Jakob Phaup, Troy Lauder and Nate Garlow, all freshmen who have scarcely seen the field this season. Madonna left the field to a standing ovation just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.“You want to keep your starters healthy,” Desko said. “To leave them in with the score the way it was and for potentially one of them to get hurt, that’s not a great decision by the coaching staff.”While Syracuse played stress-free at the conclusion of the game, the week leading up to it was anything but so. With final exams and review sessions all week, 10-15 players were missing every single practice, Desko said. The coaching staff would have to teach the same thing multiple times. Yet a loss to Colgate meant there was no shot at making the tournament, Madonna said.“I was treating this whole week like it’s my last week,” Madonna said.When the players took the field following pregame lineup introductions, Austin Fusco corralled the starters near the sideline in a tight circle.“Nothing’s given to you,” Madonna remembers Fusco saying. “You have to go out and get it.”Syracuse proved the beneficiary of other teams’ successes and failures from around the country on Saturday. Ohio State, a team rapidly rising up the RPI rankings, fell to Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten semifinals, failing to overtake the Orange in RPI. At the same time, Villanova and Penn, two teams ahead of SU in RPI, dropped games in their conference tournament semifinals, as well.Trimboli’s address of Denver’s loss before the post-game press conference, and perhaps the chance at hosting a first-round tournament game, comes from the fact that Inside Lacrosse released a mock bracket earlier this week that slated Denver as the last seeded team, and Syracuse as the first unseeded team, with the Orange making the first-round trip to Denver.Trimboli entered the room smiling after hearing the news of Denver’s loss from a team manager in the hallways. But while the numbers fall in SU’s favor, Desko held caution, immediately cutting into Trimboli to tell him that he was wrong.“It’s not good for us. Denver is probably a playoff team either way,” Desko said. “That takes another (at-large) slot away from someone. This time of year, when you’re being considered, you want as many teams that are guaranteed to go to the tournament to win their conference play.”Syracuse remains the only team in the country with two top-five wins, and a win Saturday as well as other team’s losses will likely bump SU’s RPI up. Yet this is a team that lost six games, and has struggled to pull out wins against lesser opponents.Still, Syracuse boasts the third-ranked strength of schedule in the country, something that has prepared the Orange for the road ahead, Desko said.“I said from the first press conference, ‘if it doesn’t kill us, it will make us stronger,’” Desko said.Saturday, in danger of falling out of the tournament conversation with a Colgate upset, Syracuse dug in and produced one of its best all-around showings of the season just over 24 hours before the bracket will be announced. In the 12-goal victory, the team’s second-largest of the season, SU did everything it could do to make a statement in the eyes of the committee.“We wanted to take care of business. … It went according to plan,” Desko said. “Mission accomplished.” Commentslast_img

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