Ben Williams dominates No. 12 Albany at the face-off X in Syracuse’s 16-7 win

first_imgAfter winning his fifth faceoff, Williams tore down the field instead of dishing the ball off to his wings. He sprinted across the right hash in pursuit of Albany’s goal, and uncorked a shot wide of Riorden’s net.Senior attack Tim Barber managed to still get a shot off shortly afterward when Syracuse maintained possession of Williams’ errant shot, and SU went up 4-1 on a Matt Lane goal nearly 90 seconds later.The Orange has been toying with the idea of further integrating its junior midfielder into the offense, but this was the only instance the 6-foot Williams deviated from his usual “faceoff-get off” strategy.“If see a little bit of a lane,” Williams said, “I’m going to try to take it.”Even as the game trickled out of Albany’s grasp in the second half, Williams didn’t let up until Desko withheld his best trump card in favor of getting Cal Paduda reps.Just before Williams day ended prematurely, he craftily shoveled back-to-back faceoffs in the third quarter through his legs, akin to a center in football. His second attempt fell in the stick of Tom Grimm, who advanced the possession that ended with a Devin Shewell shot skirting past Riorden.It was just another one of the “awful lot of shots” the Albany keeper said he faced, something Desko knew to attribute to Williams as he reflected on the game. Eight different goal-scorers punctuated Syracuse possessions that started with the same man: Williams.“It was great that Ben was in good form,” Desko said. Comments Albany head coach Scott Marr didn’t have to think long about what doomed his team as he sunk into his postgame press conference. The Great Danes, losing to Syracuse for the second straight year, watched Ben Williams combine to win four of every five faceoffs.“It’s hard to win when you don’t have the ball,” Marr said, pausing to look down at the stat sheet below him. “0-for-8 facing off in the first quarter.”SU’s dynamic face-off specialist owned Albany at the X once again, this year winning 17-of-24 draws after taking away 24-of-27 last year. Williams’ dominance allowed the No. 5 Orange (2-0) to leverage possession time and jet out to a 5-1 lead, and an eventual 16-7 win against No. 12 Albany (0-1).The repetitive possessions stretched the Great Danes’ defense thin as Syracuse peppered more shots than it had in any game since 1997. By the time Albany attack Bennet Drake uncorked his team’s first shot of the game, SU had seven shots and three wins at the X by Williams.“(Williams) gave us a lot of possessions to keep a lot of pressure on their defense throughout the game,” Orange head coach John Desko said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWilliams crouched to a knee against Albany’s Zach Ornstein to take the game-opening faceoff, and upon hearing the referee’s whistle, spun nearly 180 degrees and popped the ball into his stick in three seconds.He sprinted down the right alley about 25 yards before dishing the ball off to Scott Firman and retreating to the sideline. Midfielders Nick Mariano and Matt Lane both unfurled shots toward Albany goalkeeper Blaze Riorden before Jordan Evans converted the third shot on the game-opening possession.The process continued to repeat itself as SU’s junior face-off man finished the first quarter 8-for-8 from the X, and didn’t lose a draw until his 13th try nearly midway through the second quarter.“Ben was winning all the faceoffs,” said midfielder Derek DeJoe, who tied a game-high with three goals. “He was doing really well at the X so we were getting a lot of opportunities.” Related Stories No. 5 Syracuse rides balanced attack to 16-7 win over No. 12 AlbanyInjury update: Nick Piroli ‘week-to-week,’ Tim Barber’s status uncertainGallery: No. 5 Syracuse improves to 2-0 with 16-7 win over No. 12 Albany Liam Sheehan | Asst. Photo Editorcenter_img Published on February 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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