Syracuse looks to prevent Duke from getting revenge in ACC championship game

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHESTER, Pa. — In order to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Syracuse will try to do what Duke couldn’t do last season against the Orange: win twice.The Blue Devils annihilated SU, 21-7, in the teams’ regular season matchup last season, but the Orange countered with a 16-15 win just over a month later.The roles are now reversed. Syracuse beat up on Duke 19-7 on March 22, and will try to avoid the same fate they delivered to the Blue Devils last season.“We know first-hand how that works,” attack Kevin Rice said. “…We know they have that same revenge and mindset on their brain.“We’ve got a little bit of that too because last year we came up short in the (ACC) championship game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHaving beaten the Blue Devils over a month ago, No. 3-seeded SU (10-2, 2-2 ACC) is set to play No. 4-seeded Duke (11-4, 1-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in PPL Park for the conference tournament championship.While Syracuse and Duke have only been conference opponents for two seasons, Sunday’s game will be the teams’ fifth matchup in three years. Rice said the championship game will be more about the players’ mentalities than X’s and O’s, and head coach John Desko echoed his senior captain’s message going into the winner-take-all game.“Mentally we’ll have to get past our win in the Dome,” Desko said. “They’re a much improved lacrosse team from what I saw this afternoon, I think they’ve been steadily improving all year long.”Desko said his team plans to look at the Blue Devils’ improved faceoff unit in its short practice on Saturday and in film review. The Orange dominated the X in the regular season matchup, allowing SU to neutralize Dukes’s top offensive threat, midfielder Myles Jones.Syracuse pitted senior midfielder Peter Macartney against Jones, who often had his shooting angles cut off by Macartney and was forced sideways instead of straight ahead. When Jones did get an open shooting lane, it was Bobby Wardwell in net who was the stopgap, making 11 saves and allowing only two goals in 48 minutes.Wardwell, though, made it clear that his previous success means nothing substantial on Sunday.“You’ve kind of just got to forget that game that we played them,” Wardwell said.Syracuse will have its 9-8 ACC semifinal win against North Carolina fresh in its mind when taking the field on Sunday. It’ll be the team’s second game in three days, the shortest stretch between games that SU has endured all season.Duke’s situation is similar, but the Blue Devils did play four games total in two consecutive weekends to open up the season. The one-day break between games during the ACC tournament is traditional, but not a common practice teams tend to prepare for during the season.“Everybody’s got bruises and bumps and you’re used to maybe a full week or four days to rest,” Rice said. “But you’ve gotta know that both teams played a tight game and everyone’s going to be banged up.”While the Orange has little experience this season to draw upon on such a short stretch between games, SU’s core of fourth- and fifth-year players certainly have more of it.The veteran group is advancing to its fourth consecutive conference tournament championship, sending a clear message to younger contributors that the stretch is as much about being resilient as it is being the most talented team in the conference.“It’s the team that can look within themselves and pull out and go back to all the conditioning you’ve done,” Rice said. “Just find whatever reserves you’ve got left to push through it.” Comments Published on April 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img

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