first_img Comments The frustration and regret sets in immediately.As soon as Bobby Eilers takes a high shot, he knows the opposing goaltender is going to make the save. The goalie barely moves. His stick stays in one spot, and the ball lands right in the head of the stick.One poorly placed shot is a mistake. But several high shots are detrimental to Syracuse’s chances to win games.‘You need to keep changing it,’ Eilers said. ‘Coach will tell you as soon as you come to the sideline, your linemates will tell you. You know right away, as soon as you took that shot, it’s a bad shot. You know you have to change it up.’Throughout the Orange’s last game against Villanova, an 11-10 loss, SU’s shooters rarely changed it up. They took high shots all game long, sending the ball right at the goaltender’s eye level for plenty of easy saves. The No. 14 Orange (4-3, 2-1 Big East) begins arguably the roughest part of its schedule starting with its game against No. 8 Duke (8-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., at 4 p.m. Sunday. Changing the plane on shots will be critical for Syracuse to turn its season around.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter the setback against the Wildcats, SU head coach John Desko was at a loss for words. He couldn’t explain why his players repeatedly fired high shots. Desko said they talked about it during the game, but it didn’t result in smarter decisions.Outside of taking the shots himself, there wasn’t much Desko could do.On Tuesday, Desko said the problem is rooted in the ‘bad habits’ of several players, which makes it especially difficult to change the way they shoot. The head coach said when the team spoke about it at halftime against Villanova, the players said they would never take a high shot again.Then they continued to fire high shots in the second half.‘That’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for the players, it’s frustrating for us,’ Desko said. ‘We had some very good opportunities and to lose the game by one and have those kinds of shots, those are some bad habits there.’The Orange’s poor shooting has been magnified with two losses in its last three games. And when Syracuse loses games by one or two goals as it did to Villanova, the importance of changing up the angle of those shots can’t be ignored.The Orange had the chance to tie the game at 11 with 55 seconds left against the Wildcats as JoJo Marasco sprinted toward the crease and quickly stopped to shoot. But he shot high, and Villanova goalie Dan Gutierrez stayed in one spot in the cage to make the save.Midfielder Ryan Barber said it can be tough to really think about a shot before taking it because of how fast the game moves. That means in practice, Desko and the SU coaches have to repeatedly remind the Orange’s shooters to try different shots to constantly keep the goaltender guessing.‘I think that’s why he’s been drilling it into our heads so much just because it’s such a fast-paced game,’ Barber said, ‘and there’s not a lot of time for thought, so there’s a reason he drills it into our heads.’In Syracuse’s last four games, opposing goaltenders are making an average of 12.75 saves per game. It started at St. John’s, where the Orange barely won 9-8 to avoid a huge upset loss. Red Storm goaltender Jeff Lowman was a force between the pipes at times, making several stellar stops, but SU’s shooters also gave him plenty of easy saves.As SU starts the second half of its schedule Sunday, taking better-placed shots is going to be a key focus, as it is a problem that could keep costing Syracuse wins.‘In practice, we’ve been trying to change planes, too,’ Eilers said, ‘but we just need to really, in the game situation, change the plane of that shot and get that goal because we’re making every goalie look like an all-star at this point.’[email protected] Published on March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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