MLAX : In focus: Remembering last season’s early exit, SU refuses to look past Siena

first_img Comments One of the biggest challenges Syracuse faces heading into the first round of the NCAA tournament can’t be solved on the field. But it might be the one thing that can prevent the Orange from suffering an early upset — as it did a year ago when it lost to Army in the opening round.‘I think it’s all about focus,’ Syracuse head coach John Desko said. ‘I think it’s our job to get across to the players the team we’re playing against — what their characteristics are.’Syracuse received the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last Sunday after it finished its season as the top team in the nation. Now, as Syracuse (14-1, 6-0 Big East) prepares to play Siena (13-4, 5-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in the first round Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, staying focused on the Saints is the crucial point of emphasis for Desko and his players. The Orange is determined not to overlook unseeded Siena in the tournament.As the Orange learned from last year’s first-round defeat to Army, taking an opponent lightly can quickly end a team’s championship hopes.Siena clinched an automatic bid to the tournament when it beat Detroit 12-3 in the MAAC championship game. The one-sided affair wasn’t surprising considering the Saints have scored double-digit goals in all but three of its games this season. As it has many times this year, the Syracuse defense is going to be called on once again to hold down a potent offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We need to learn their personnel in the days that we have,’ SU goaltender John Galloway said. ‘We have a good idea of what’s coming into us, but need to prepare as the days go on now until Sunday night.’Sunday will mark the second matchup between SU and Siena in the first round of the tournament. The Orange beat the Saints 11-4 in the opening round in 2009, en route to a national championship. This year, the Orange is preparing to try to stop an offense that features three players with at least 29 goals. Siena attack Bryan Neufield leads the team with 40 goals and 25 assists, anchoring the No. 1 offense in the Saints’ conference, which is averaging 11.9 goals per game.And while averaging double-digit goals, Siena is also only allowing about nine. Saints goaltender Tom Morr was the best goaltender in the MAAC this year, but he was the backup two years ago when SU and Siena played. Moor saw just over two minutes of action in that first-round game.A lot has changed in two years. This Siena team is very different. That change is keeping Syracuse focused on this weekend, and this weekend only.‘It’s a different year. They have a lot of different players, and so do we,’ SU attack Stephen Keogh said. ‘We can’t take anyone lightly, and we have to take Siena’s best and just come out ready to go.’During the final stretch of the regular season, the offensive struggles that plagued the Orange midway through the year disappeared. In its final five games, Syracuse averaged nearly 14 goals per game. And during that span, it allowed an average of only 5.2 goals per contest.For Syracuse, this is the start of a new season. The winner will move on to face the winner of the game between North Carolina and Maryland in the second round next weekend in Foxboro, Mass. For now, though, that game is too far in the future for Syracuse to even begin to consider — especially after what happened last year.Galloway knows the feeling of walking off the Carrier Dome turf with nothing but disappointment after last year’s first-round exit. But that’s the last way he and the most winningest senior class in Syracuse history want it to end this time. And the prospect of that happening is more than enough to keep Syracuse’s focus on Siena, and not on possible matchups in the next round.‘We know what’s at stake,’ Galloway said. ‘Now we know the feeling of being able to exit the tournament early. Everything rides on the line every weekend now, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, everybody has a chance to live.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on May 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img read more

Chelsea’s summer transfer decision was a surprise, says Fabinho

first_img Bakayoko and Fabinho won the French league together at Monaco in 2017 Chelsea’s decision to send Tiemoue Bakayoko on loan to Milan came as a surprise to Liverpool midfielder Fabinho.The pair were team-mates at Monaco and won the 2016/17 Ligue 1 title before the Blues snapped up Bakayoko for around £40million and gave him a five-year deal.An underwhelming campaign, though, saw him sent to Italy for the season, but Fabinho doesn’t agree he was an expensive mistake. 2 “I don’t think he struggled that much,” he told Yahoo.“I watched a few games and he seemed always good to me.“Obviously, in your first season in a new club it’s always difficult and I wasn’t expecting him to leave, but AC Milan are getting a great player.“I’m sure he’ll be able to prove how good he is and show what he did at Monaco.“I’m sure if he comes back to England he will be stronger and will show everyone what he’s capable of.”Fabinho followed Bakayoko to the Premier League during the summer, with Liverpool paying the French side £43.7m, but has so not played any competitive games.center_img 2 Bakayoko joined Milan on loan for the seasonlast_img read more