MLAX : Orange increases practice energy at critical time of year

first_imgAfter a loss to Johns Hopkins, Brian Megill said his team lacked heart. The Syracuse captain spoke passionately about the Orange’s current state as it struggled through its first five games.Eight days later, Megill repeated the same idea after a loss to Villanova, saying the Wildcats wanted a win more than SU did.On Tuesday, Megill had another message for his team.‘We’re taking practice to another level now,’ Megill said. ‘I told the guys between the hours of 4 and 6 we’re no longer friends. I’m coming after you, you’re coming after me and whatever happens, happens. Whether we get into a fight, someone gets hurt, that’s how it’s going to be.’The new attitude Megill plans to bring to practice comes after Syracuse (4-3, 2-1 Big East) fell to its lowest ranking since 2007. The inexperienced Orange, now ranked No. 14 in the nation, hasn’t played with confidence this season, and it has showed on the field. SU’s three losses this year are already more than its totals in each of the last three seasons.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe defeat to Villanova added another low point, with it being the program’s first-ever loss in the Big East.While Megill recognized the Wildcats’ performance in their win, he also pointed out the Orange’s lackluster effort.Already, though, the junior said he has finally seen his team respond and come to life at practice.‘There’s been a huge change in energy. There’s been fights, there’s been scraps,’ Megill said. ‘The hustle for ground balls is crazy. People are diving out of bounds now after shots, and you didn’t really see that in the fall or early in the spring.’The increased intensity comes at a crucial time in Syracuse’s season. The team has already fallen down the rankings, and its upcoming schedule is loaded with top teams.With seven games remaining, the Orange will face No. 8 Duke, No. 11 Princeton, No. 4 Cornell, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 6 Notre Dame. Only two of its final seven contests will be played at home.The daunting slate provides a major challenge for Syracuse, adding significance to each day of practice and preparation. And the Orange is eager to get back on the field this week to prepare for its upcoming games.‘Obviously when you get a loss on your record, the next thing you want to do is get a game as quick as you can afterwards so you can redeem yourself as a team and a player,’ SU attack Tommy Palasek said. ‘But going into this week of practice, I think we’re just going to have to focus on working hard and really getting better at the things we haven’t been doing well and trying to have fun.’Palasek said the energy around the team has been good since its loss to Villanova. After a short week of preparation for the Villanova game after playing Providence on Wednesday, SU head coach John Desko said the team will benefit from a full week of practice this week.The head coach wants to see improvement in a variety of areas – from faceoffs to ground balls to shot selection – as the Orange gets ready to take on Duke.‘We’re going to try to keep things simple and just keep working hard at what we’re doing and getting after ground balls and executing,’ Desko said.Besides working on execution, Megill wants to see practice become a competitive battle every day as it was in his first two seasons.The junior said the Villanova loss was a wake-up call for Syracuse, and he can already see his teammates realize it’s time to pick up the intensity.Intensity defined the Syracuse teams that graduated as the winningest group in college lacrosse history. And Megill hopes to see that passion restored this season as the Orange aims to get back on track.‘I think that’s one thing that the seniors last year and the juniors the year before that they had at practice, they had tons of fun, they went after each other,’ Megill said. ‘I mean, they were best of friends off the field, but in practice they were enemies.’rjgery@syr.edu Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on March 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edulast_img

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