Published on February 9, 2018 at 2:53 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco UPDATED: Feb. 10, 2018 at 12:50 p.m.No. 11 Syracuse is set to open the season against Binghamton on Saturday, Feb. 10 inside the Carrier Dome. The Orange returns just three starters on offense but will be bolstered on the defensive end with the return of preseason All-American Nick Mellen, who missed the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury. The Bearcats lost attack Tom Moore to graduation, who had 38 more points than the next-best player, but return three-fourths of their attack. All-time series: Syracuse leads, 6-0Last time they played: In a season filled with 11 one-goal games, Syracuse escaped with a 9-8 win over Binghamton. The Orange jumped out to an early 4-1 lead before the Bearcats stormed back with a four-goal run. Syracuse scored two more before halftime and entered the break with a one-goal lead. The game remained close throughout before Jamie Trimboli scored his second of the day to put SU up two. Moore scored with 2:38 left for Binghamton, but the Orange defense buckled down, taking home a win right before the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Then-senior Jordan Evans finished the game with a hat trick and Moore scored five in the Bearcats’ loss. The Binghamton Report: Binghamton lost its top weapon, Moore, last year. But, as SU head coach John Desko points out, the Bearcats are experienced and return most of its starters. Thomas McAndrew, a senior attack, will likely be the main threat for Binghamton — he had 18 goals and 17 assists a year ago.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They’re gonna know who they are,” Desko said. “They know who their personnel are and how they play. So it’s gonna be a tough go going up against an experienced group like that.”The Binghamton defense was a bright spot in 2017, ranking seventh in the NCAA with 8.19 goals allowed per game. It also finished fourth in man-down defense, posting a stellar 78.9 percent success rate. Syracuse ended the year 12.9 percent less successful while man-down. And though it lost a few of its defenders, it returns two sophomore long poles that started all 16 games: Dan Mottes and Zach Barrett. They will be expected to stop the young SU attack.Bearcats head coach Kevin McKeown has also added three new coaches to his staff from last year. Most notable is the addition of Paolo Ciferri, former SU fifth-year defensive midfielder. He assists with the defense and runs both the faceoff and riding unit, and has defended most players that returned on offense for Syracuse. That could give Binghamton an edge come Saturday, especially since last year’s game ended in a close loss.How Syracuse beats Binghamton: The loss of Moore is a huge one for Binghamton. He broke down the SU defense last year, even when covered by then-senior Scott Firman, the No. 1 long pole for the Orange in 2017. For Syracuse to gain an early edge, it will rely on its defense to stop Binghamton’s weapons. The Bearcats’ best returning attacker scored 18 goals last year, as compared to Moore’s 48.In addition to its defense, Syracuse’s young offense must step up in the opening game. The Binghamton defense is physical and was among the nation’s best in 2017, which could pose a large threat for the Orange, who sport just one starter on offense entering his third year under Desko. That is Nate Solomon, who finished second in goals last year. There were moments where the attack thrived, like his four-goal game in the NCAA quarterfinals against Towson, but he was also held scoreless five times — Binghamton being one of them.“You know the Orange, those boys, they don’t lose, they reload,” Ciferri, now at Binghamton, said. “Jamie’s a great shooter, but there’s five other guys on offense on every other set on every possession that are also dangerous.”Solomon will be looked on as a leader and him, along with the rest of the offense, needs to break the Binghamton defense early. Getting an early lead like last year’s game, could give enough padding for the Orange to pull away or stave off a Binghamton comeback.Numbers to know:58.7 — Percent of points that left Syracuse’s starting offense from 2017. The Orange returns just one returning starter on the midfield and two on attack.31.3 — Percent of goals that Moore accounted for at Binghamton last year. That doesn’t even account for any additional losses on offense.50 — Syracuse finished fifth in the NCAA last year in man-up offense with a 50 percent success rate. Desko was unimpressed with the new man-up unit in SU’s last scrimmage against Yale.43 — Binghamton finished 47.9 percent at the faceoff X, which ranks 43rd in the nation. Without Ben Williams, SU will look on Danny Varello who, in limited time, finished 52.2 percent at the faceoff X. That would’ve ranked 36th in the country.2.75 — There are 38 teams and 2.75 assists per game that separated Syracuse (fifth) and Binghamton (43rd) last year. Ball movement will be crucial to beating both defenses.Player to watch: Zach Barrett, defender, No. 5Against Syracuse, then-freshman Barrett caused a game-high three turnovers and was one of the defensive stalwarts that led to Binghamton’s top 10 defense. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound defender led the Bearcats with 24 caused turnovers and picked up 37 ground balls. Syracuse’s offense is young and Barrett has proven he is among the better defenders in the NCAA, which could be a cause for concern come Saturday.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Syracuse’s ranking was misstated. Syracuse is ranked No. 11. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
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