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Villanova Lacrosse Preview: #14 Villanova at #9 Syracuse

On Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome, the Villanova men's lacrosse team looks to right their season when they take on the 9th ranked Orange of Syracuse to open up Big East conference play. After 2 straight blowout losses, the #14 Wildcats sorely need a win, not only for their confidence, but also to stay in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid. Syracuse is 4-2 overall; their 2 losses have come to #1 Virginia and #2 Johns Hopkins, but they don't have any real quality wins. Nova enters the contest with a 4-3 record.

Historically, Syracuse is a run and gun team that scores 10+ goals week in and week out, but this is not your typical Syracuse team. For the season, the Orange have averaged 9.67 goals per game, with the coach's son, Tim Desko, being the focal point of the offense. Desko has recorded 13 points thus far, while JoJo Marasco also has contributed 13 points. The leading point getter for Cuse is Derek Maltz, as he has notched a healthy 13 goals and 5 assists through 6 games.

On the defensive end, the Orange let up just over 9 goals a game, but they have experienced issues in the cage after graduating John Galloway last year. Dominic Lamolinara started out the season as the starter, but he has recently split time with Matthew Lerman. They have combined for a 49.5% save percentage to date.

If there's any year to beat Syracuse, this is the year. Cuse lost a lot of key cogs to graduation, so they are somewhat inexperienced. However, this will be no cake walk for Villanova; Syracuse may be weaker than in recent years, but the Orange don't rebuild, rather they reload. It will be important for the Cats to get out to a quick start in this contest, which I'm sure head coach Mike Corrado has stressed this week after being down 6-0 early on to Maryland last Saturday. In addition, last year's 5-4 heartbreaking loss should be in the back of the Cats' minds still, so the revenge factor could come into play. It should be a good one up at the Dome on Sunday. The game will be aired live on SNY at 2PM.