Nick Mariano leads balanced Syracuse attack with 3 goals in 15-4 win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds While Syracuse head coach John Desko stood with his arms folded on the sideline, Nick Mariano dodged down the right alley, switched to his left hand and finished at the crease.Desko unfolded his arms and clapped four times and refolded them. Syracuse already possessed a four-goal lead to start the game, but it was back to business for the Orange and Mariano, who scored another goal a minute later in what ended as a 15-4 blowout win over St. John’s (1-6).“I had an opportunity to dodge and when I dodge, I finish the ball,” Mariano said. “The offense was just setting up good looks for me and it was all on them.”Mariano scored the No. 3 Orange’s (5-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) fourth, fifth and seventh goals in the victory on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome and SU’s widespread offense, featuring 10 different goal-scorers, was spearheaded by Mariano’s team-high three.After transferring from Massachusetts in the offseason, Mariano leads Syracuse with 11 goals on the season, including six in the past two games. His laser-like shot forces defenses to spread out to defend him, opening up lanes to drive to the crease, where he scored two of his goals on Saturday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s a great player. We wanted to (defend Mariano with a long pole),” St. John’s head coach Jason Miller said. “…He’s going to go by on a short stick. We needed to slide to him too. Overall, I wasn’t pleased with our slide-recovery game at all. That’s probably one of the reasons why he had as good of a game as he did.”A minute after Mariano’s first goal, he capitalized again on one of St. John’s’ 19 turnovers. Red Storm defender Jack McClellan backed up a Sergio Salcido shot and was set to start the clear.But the ball slipped out of his stick and McClellan moved toward the opposite end of the end zone to cover another Syracuse player. Mariano, meanwhile, picked up the loose ball behind the net and charged forward. With no defender on him, he cleanly shot the ball into the back of the net and nearly fell over as his momentum carried him away from the goal.Already with a 6-1 lead two minutes into the second quarter, Mariano stood on the sideline holding both arms up in the air. Syracuse was slowing down the pace before goalie Warren Hill had even recorded a save.Five minutes into the second quarter, Mariano caught a pass at the 25-yard line, wound up and fired in a lefty shot for his third goal of the game. After two goals came at the crease, Mariano displayed his signature shot, which helped set up his previous two goals.“He possesses a great outside shot,” Desko said. “Not everybody can shoot the ball from outside like he can. That helps stretch the other teams’ defense.”One of the benefits of transferring from UMass and switching from attack to midfield was that Mariano no longer has to be the center of defense’s attention. But with the performance he’s had so far this season, his prominence on SU’s offense is growing.“He’s a junior but he’s a freshman to our offense,” Desko said. “He’s spent a lot of time trying to learn it, pick it up, see what the options are. … I give him a lot of credit.” Commentslast_img