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WLAX : Syracuse looks to improve performance on draw controls

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ At a Syracuse practice run by Gary Gait, draw controls are the one constant. It doesn’t matter where practice is, or if it’s indoors or outdoors. At some point, SU’s head coach Gait will have his players practice the draw.The Orange has gotten off to a slow start this season in all regards. And for a team that in years past has had success with draw controls, the struggles there are especially alarming.So at each practice, the team continues to work on draw controls.‘We’re getting there,’ Gait said. ‘We practice every day, every single day. We’ve been struggling. Our draw people have been working at it every day individually, and we do it as a unit. We just need to gel.’As No. 16 Syracuse (3-5, 1-0 Big East) travels to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth (6-2) on Monday, it will look to win more draw controls than its opponent.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd for the returning players, the Monday game means a chance for redemption after the team’s worst loss of the regular season last year.Senior Catherine Rodriguez remembers last season’s Dartmouth game with a bitter taste in her mouth. Syracuse was coming off a close loss to then-No. 1 Northwestern and had no focus from the opening draw in a 17-10 loss.Rodriguez said this contest is going to be a ‘revenge game.’ And the Orange’s veteran players have even expressed the importance of the game to the freshmen.‘From the opening draw, they took it to us,’ Rodriguez said. ‘We were kind of falling apart on both ends. We couldn’t score, but then we couldn’t stop them scoring, so the deficit just got big. It was honestly a little bit embarrassing.’In that game, SU won only 12 of the 29 draws.SU attack Michelle Tumolo said there will be a little less pressure Monday against Dartmouth. This game is the only nonconference match in a seven-game stretch for the Orange. Syracuse’s next five matches are against Big East teams, and four of them will be at home in the Carrier Dome, a place SU hasn’t played in since Feb. 27.The game out of conference will allow SU to test out the draw-control skills it has worked on constantly in practice. SU hopes the improvement in the draw-control facet of the game will correlate to improvement in the win-loss column.‘That’s our transition,’ Tumolo said. ‘That’s what gets us the ball. And if we don’t have the ball, we can’t score.’Players in every position have spent time working on their role during the draw. The attack’s job is to sprint to the 30-yard line to get any stray balls. The defense has to be ready for stray balls as well, but will look to stick check an opponent who wins the draw.In fact, Rodriguez said it is defender Lindsay Rogers who dominates draw controls from her position on the circle.‘It’s like a magnet for her,’ Rodriguez said. ‘The ball just seems to go to her, and she just seems to always come up with it.’But Rogers needs support for the team to be effective on the draw and build momentum. Rodriguez said it is hard for a team to get going if, after every goal, it loses the draw and concedes a quick goal.The team has had a week and two days since its 11-7 win over Rutgers to work on draw controls. Gait said for the young team, the difference will come from each player finding a role in the unit, something that did not happen in last season’s matchup.‘It hasn’t come together, but it’s hustle, it’s intuition, it’s focus, it’s all those things we talk about every day,’ Gait said. ‘And hopefully, we’ll get some better results.’[email protected] Published on April 3, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img

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