NCAA Lacrosse Rivalry Matchup: No. 5 Syracuse Faces No. 2 Johns Hopkins

D HoldingCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - MAY 26:  Dan Hardy #22 of the Syracuse Orange drives against Andrew Miller #3 of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays during the NCAA Lacrosse Championship at Gillette Stadium on May 26, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Hardy scored three goals in the 13-10 victory. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Syracuse will make the trip to legendary Homewood Field on Saturday hoping to make a statement. They will face No. 2 Johns Hopkins, who are undefeated and improving with every win they accumulate.

Syracuse is looking to right the ship a little bit in this game. They lost a competitive game with Virginia by a score of 14-10 two weeks ago, followed by a narrow 9-8 victory against St. Johns last weekend.

The Orange are led by Derek Maltz and Tim Desko offensively, with their depth and talent adding scoring from elsewhere on the field. Desko is a crafty attackman who has the ability to score whenever he gets a quick touch. 

The Orange will be looking to sophomore goaltender Matt Lerman to add consistency at a position where it has been clearly lacking. With the loss of Joey Galloway to graduation last year, the team also lost skill and leadership at a position where both are critical.

They have used sophomore Dominic Lamolinara in goal as well. Coach John Desko is hoping one of the two will take advantage of their time and take the job outright.

However, against Johns Hopkins and away from home, neither goalie is primed for success.

The Blue Jays will enter Saturday a perfect 6-0 in 2012. They have been impressive at all positions, and have only been getting better.

Senior goalie Pierce Bassett is boasting a 61 percent save percentage, proving to be the front-runner for First Team All-American. He is a tall goalie, but has the quickness and awareness to save the low shots.

At midfield, junior John Ranagan proves to be a versatile threat. He is a big, athletic dodger that can pass and shoot on the run with ease. He is helped by linemate Matt Guida, who has fantastic quickness and can draw a quick slide.

Offensively, attackman Zach Palmer runs the show. He is the leader of the offense, directing his teammates from behind the net. He uses his body well to shield defenders, consistently getting above the goal line. With 10 goals and 15 assists so far this year, his ability to do it all creates problems for opposing defenses.

If Pierce Bassett plays well and Hopkins can get a lead, Tucker Durkin and the Hopkins defense will close out the game.