Tim Barber starts for injured Randy Staats, provides viable option at attack moving forward

first_img Published on March 26, 2015 at 12:20 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Tim Barber didn’t lose a game at Onondaga Community College and tallied 91 points last season for the Lazers.Yet when the junior transfer stepped out on the Carrier Dome field for the first time as a starter on Sunday, he was nervous to be with stars like Kevin Rice and Dylan Donahue. The midfielder replaced the injured Randy Staats on the starting attack against Duke, marking the first occasion that the attack trio of Staats, Rice and Donahue didn’t start together since April 2 of last season.Initially worried about messing with the chemistry on the attack, Barber only netted one goal but excelled for the Orange on off-ball plays.“Kevin and Dylan like guys who run the offense well, they want to know where players are going to be, supposed to be,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “Timing is important in terms of finding open people and feeding open people and I think Tim fit right in.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBarber has appeared in all seven contests for No. 1 Syracuse (7-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast), and is likely to make his second career start against No. 2 Notre Dame (5-1, 1-0) in Saturday’s matchup at noon in South Bend, Indiana. While a good distributor on the field, Barber was timid at times approaching Duke’s crease with the ball on Saturday. He took only two shots while Donahue and Rice combined for 17. Both Desko and Barber said the junior is out there to be an offensive force in place of Staats, and he needs to play the part a little more.“I could’ve taken some more chances, dodged a little more,” Barber said. “The nerves came out I guess a little bit.”When Barber did see his scoring chance though, he took it without the aid of Rice or Donahue. He ran from behind the left side of Duke’s goal with defender Greg Pelton pushing at his right side.He ran to the 19-yard line before spinning off Pelton to his left and hitting the top shelf all in one motion. It’s Barber’s unpredictability that indicates he’ll bring positive returns against the Fighting Irish — which averages 7.5 goals allowed while SU scores over 15 per game.“You really got to make sure you know what you’re doing when you approach Tim,” midfielder Mike Messina said. “He could shoot it right away or he could split at you, throw a fake at you.”Barber expects Notre Dame’s defense to slide especially quick, something that can be counteracted with a good dodger. It’s an aggressive defensive strategy similar to a blitz in football that can quickly tire out a defense if it’s constantly facing pressure.Such was evident in Notre Dame’s victory against the Orange in the ACC championship tournament last season. Syracuse lost 15-14, but was able to cut the deficit to one with four consecutive fourth-quarter goals in the span of six minutes.With the fluid-like defense the Fighting Irish are expected to bring, Barber’s fellow attack expect him to take advantage of spaces inevitably left open.“He’s a really good off-ball player,” Donahue said. “He knows exactly where to be while everyone else is dodging.”Going up against the eighth-best defense in the country and best in the ACC is going to present a different challenge than the type Barber thrived against at OCC. He has experience and success away from the Orange, but now after a successful first start feels like he has wave of assurance to ride into Saturday afternoon’s showdown.Said Barber: “Just having a start under my belt and knowing I can face a top defense like a Duke team and score on them definitely gives me confidence going into next week.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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