WLAX : Gait uses time off to refocus, move around team’s personnel

first_img Published on March 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Gary Gait’s team still isn’t gelling. Three games into the season, the group, dominated by underclassmen, is still trying to form a cohesive unit. Following a 21-11 loss to Virginia, it’s time to reassess.‘We’re still adapting,’ said Gait, the SU head coach. ‘I don’t think we’ve found the chemistry and made those changes yet.’Now, though, the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team has the time to make changes. After playing only three games so far this season, SU is taking a hiatus of sorts. The team has a two-week period between the Virginia game and its next matchup with Maryland. The break in the schedule is welcome by the team, which, despite being No. 5 going into the season, has lost two of its three games so far to teams with lower rankings.The 1-2 Orange struggled so far this year against teams it had success against last season. In games with Colgate, Stanford and Virginia, Syracuse lost only a one-point game to the Cavaliers. A loss to Stanford, in addition to the Virginia loss this season, makes the trajectory of the team unclear. Senior Catherine Rodriguez said having this time dedicated solely to practice will help set them on the right path.‘It’s a good time to refocus,’ Rodriguez said. ‘We kind of had a bitter taste in our mouth after the Virginia game, but a good thing is we have two weeks without games to practice.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGait said he will take this time off to get his team back to basics after a disappointing start. Now that the freshmen have a taste of college lacrosse, he can set his lineup with confidence. He started moving people around in a search for more firepower on offense. And with three games under its belt, the team can take this time to come together.Following the loss to Virginia, senior defender Lindsay Rogers said the team had trouble communicating. The young team has not reached the comfort level it needs to gel as a unit, something Gait can address as he figures out where each player can serve best.In his quest to find proper positions for players, Gait has begun moving personnel around in practice to see how they adapt to new spots on the field. Freshman Alyssa Murray has slightly shifted from the eight-meter elbow to a position behind the net. Gait said he has tried out other little alterations as well.‘We’re just testing things out,’ he said.But he has also made some bigger moves. Rodriguez, a veteran defender, sees some time at midfield during practice. She had a goal in the season opener against Colgate and has been consistently strong in shooting drills, Gait said. Her push forward is part of the search for a more explosive offense.‘We’re looking for players to challenge to the goal, and she goes strong to the goal,’ Gait said. ‘And she’s got some good skills.’The duo of Michelle Tumolo and Tee Ladouceur was a threat as a scoring tandem last season. Although Ladouceur had a strong performance against Colgate, the pair has not provided the Orange with as many scoring opportunities this season as Gait wants. The offensive shifts are an attempt to free up the veterans.Rodriguez said the team is working on movement off the ball, which will help create those chances.‘It’s not major changes,’ Murray said. ‘Just adjustments to get Tee and Michelle open easier, because they’re huge players for us, and we just need to get them the ball.’This two-week period leads up to the game at No. 1 Maryland on Saturday. The Terrapins beat SU in the final four of the NCAA tournament last year, so the teams know each other’s playing styles. Rodriguez remembers Maryland as a strong transition team, so having her play midfield may be an attempt to slow that down.The time off is all about preparation for the next month of lacrosse. A 1-2 record isn’t where the team thought it would be, and changes need to be made to make up ground.‘Our next opponent is Maryland, but at the same time, our next home game isn’t until April 8,’ Rodriguez said. ‘So we’re kind of looking to be strong on the road.’[email protected]last_img

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