MLAX : Syracuse offense thrives from development of additional scoring options

first_img Published on April 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 Off a turnover by Hobart’s defense, Stephen Keogh’s shot from the doorstep missed wide right. Just before halftime, his last-ditch effort from close range sailed by the left post. A few others were saved by Statesmen goalkeeper Evan Kirk.Two goals on eight shots. It was atypical for Syracuse’s leading scorer.‘Evan made some great point-blank saves,’ Hobart head coach T.W. Johnson said. ‘And a few on Keogh, who is an excellent shooter.’Yet the uncharacteristic night for Keogh was perhaps overshadowed by goals from a wealth of teammates. As SU enters the final stretch of its season, additional scoring options seem to emerge on a game-by-game basis that bodes well for the side looking to regain its No. 1 ranking.On Tuesday, when it wasn’t Keogh, it was Bobby Eilers continuing his torrid stretch with another goal. Or Jeremy Thompson, who had his first multigoal game since March 15. Or Kevin Drew, who contributed the first two-goal game of his career.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKeogh missed uncharacteristically from areas on the field he has owned this season to the tune of five hat tricks in 12 games. But it didn’t matter that Keogh had an off night with only two goals.‘The last few games, it’s a couple players have stepped up with two or three goals,’ Syracuse head coach John Desko said.Team effort might be exactly the right words to describe the Orange offense this season. Through 12 games in 2011, 18 players have registered goals for SU. Last year’s team only had 16 goal scorers the entire season.Already, there are six players with double-digit goal totals.And lately, the goals have come from players not thought of as contributors prior to the start of the season — or even a few weeks ago.Eilers scored his fourth goal in two games when he sprinted down the right side of the field and ripped a long-range shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. He took three shots against Hobart as part of the second midfield unit and seemed eager to look for shooting angles.Newfound confidence is what Desko called it.‘I think he’s just playing with a lot of confidence. That’s what it comes down to,’ Desko said. ‘He’s a big, strong, physical kid with a good, hard outside shot and he runs well. I think he’s just out there and he knows he can do it, and he’s playing that way.’For Thompson, his opening faceoff win over Bobby Datillo — one of the best faceoff men in the country — seemed to energize the senior. He took SU’s first shot of the game following that win at the X and ultimately assisted on Josh Amidon’s goal that opened the scoring. Thompson, like Eilers, looked for his shot often and pinged one off the post in addition to his two goals.‘We have guys clicking right now on the offensive end that weren’t in the beginning,’ Syracuse goaltender John Galloway said.The third and newest offensive weapon was the midfielder Drew. Through the early part of the season, he had been used primarily for his ability as a defensive midfielder, but lately has been contributing more to the offense.He scored the final goal against Princeton on April 9 that sealed the victory, and his two goals Tuesday were one shy of his total from all of last season.Though Desko would like to see his leading scorer, Keogh, avoid another 25 percent shooting night — which is 12 percent below his season average — he will certainly welcome the increased contributions from others.At one point this season, the Orange was held to single digits in five games of a seven-game stretch. True enough, it emerged with a 6-1 record during that span. But the team is done walking the tight rope. Syracuse has scored 13 goals in each of its last two games, and the offense appears to be clicking exactly when it needs to.‘It’s team play, and I think it makes us hard to cover if you can’t just shut down one guy and stop us,’ Desko said. ‘It’s a team effort, and it shows in the scoring.’mjcohe02@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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