first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The gaping cutting lanes that helped Syracuse to 36 combined goals in its wins over Siena and Albany suddenly disappeared.The number of shots the Orange took dwindled, while the open space in the offensive third dissipated. The lethal duo of Dylan Donahue and Kevin Rice was absent, and the emergence of Randy Staats as one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most dynamic attacks was put on hold.On Tuesday, senior goalie Dominic Lamolinara said Maryland could have the best defense in the country. Then the Terrapins gave the Orange a harsh ACC welcome by proving that their back line is certainly in that conversation.“We knew coming in that they were a good defense,” Rice said. “I think it was a lot of us pressing, trying to make things happen too quickly.”No. 5 Maryland (3-0, 1-0 ACC) doubled up No. 2 Syracuse (2-1, 0-1) 16-8 in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, handing the Orange its first loss of the season and first ACC loss in as many games. A joint effort by faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa and Maryland’s slow offensive attack kept the ball out of SU’s hands for most of the contest.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut when needed, the Terps defense used multiple looks to handcuff the Orange attack.“We watched the Siena game and we saw that their offense was really prolific,” UMD head coach John Tillman said. “And we learned a few things and picked up a few things that we didn’t want to allow them to do.”Syracuse came out of the gates quick with goals by Rice and Donahue in the first 5:42 to forge a 2-0 lead. But both goals — the only two SU goals that would come within six minutes of each other on the day — were unassisted, which fed into Maryland’s defensive game plan.The Terps came out in a tight man-to-man that forced the Orange attacks to beat defenders one-on-one. Rice and Donahue were able to take advantage of that in the early going, yet when the Maryland attack slowed the game and forced the SU frontline to do the same, the man defense yielded few opportunities.Rice and Staats cradled behind the net and waited for open cutters to surface in front of the net, but each one was tightly face guarded before peeling away from the goal.“They were denying our attack the ball when the middies were dodging early on and I think that’s why we scored early,” SU head coach John Desko said. “But then they started showing to us more and they had certain guys that they were jumping to.”At the end of the first, the defense breathed even more life into an already enraptured Maryland bench.Syracuse midfielder Scott Loy moved back and forth, trying to find open space behind the net with Goran Murray shadowing him step for step. Then Loy fell down before throwing a lifeless pass to Staats who caught it as the quarter clock expired.Murray ran over in front of the bench and waved the entire team into a raucous celebration 10 yards onto the field.“We were just focusing on communicating and being a seven-man unit,” Maryland goalie Niko Amato said, “and we threw a lot of looks at them throughout the game.”The Terrapins went into halftime with a 12-5 lead and came out with a different defensive approach. They traded their up-tempo man-to-man pressure for a more reserved and compact zone, and the Orange couldn’t adjust.Long shots were guarded by an umbrella of defenders and cutters were erased by an amoebic wall that formed in front of Amato. In the second half, Syracuse controlled the ball for long, hollow possessions that led to one goal in the third and two garbage-time goals in the fourth.After two strong performances against Siena and Albany, Syracuse’s attack was as potent as advertised leading up to the season.But as the Orange moves into its ACC schedule, it seems that its potency may also be predictable.Said Rice: “We just have to give credit to them.” Comments Published on February 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img