SB : Orange refocuses heading into Big East play

first_imgWally King warned his Syracuse players they would return to ‘top-25 practices.’After narrowly escaping with a win over a lowly Canisius team, the SU associate head coach knew it was time for the Orange to snap back into it. For King, it starts with returning to hard work between games.‘I think Saturday was a close enough game that required us to turn it back on,’ SU head coach Leigh Ross said.With Big East play rapidly approaching, Syracuse needs to flip the switch back on during practices. Ross felt the team was going through the motions and the energy level needed to rise.And with the excuse of constant travel the team faced at the start season in the books, Ross decided it was time to push the Orange like she did in the preseason. The end result is a re-energized squad that will take on St. John’s in a slate of three games this weekend on the road to open Big East play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut against Canisius, SU almost didn’t win a game it should have won easily. A Kelly Saco walk-off single rescued the Orange from a potentially major bump in the road. After the game, senior catcher Lacey Kohl said she and her teammates weren’t happy with what transpired, even in a win.‘I don’t want to say disappointed because disappointed is a strong word,’ Kohl said. ‘We just know that we’re a much better team that showed up on Saturday. … I don’t think we showed up to play by any means.’Because the Orange didn’t show up Saturday, it got back to work Monday.With the entire team in attendance, Kohl said SU slowed things down while still turning up the intensity. The Orange got back to focusing on the fundamentals of the game, and if the team didn’t do something the right way, it ran sprints and did push-ups.‘We were all scared because we know what it means if we mess up,’ Kohl said. ‘We run.’It was a reminder from Ross that to play well in every minute of every game the team needed to keep focused, regardless of the competition.Lisaira Daniels said she and her teammates still have the goal of making a deep postseason run on their minds, but it helps when the coaches remind them of that agenda.‘It was getting back on that goal,’ Daniels said. ‘… It’s different when you hear it from your coach.’That agenda brings Syracuse to conference play this weekend. Daniels sees the team as underdogs for another season. In the preseason conference poll, the Orange was voted to finish second behind DePaul, despite the fact that SU topped the Blue Demons last year in the Big East tournament.To Daniels, it was a slap in Syracuse’s face.But Daniels isn’t concerned with proving Syracuse is the best team in the conference. To prove it’s better than teams like DePaul, Louisville and South Florida, the senior outfielder knows the Orange must take care of business against weaker teams like the Red Storm this weekend.St. John’s is just 12-19 on the season and has lost three of its last five games. The last time Syracuse played St. John’s in the regular season was during the 2010 season, in which the Orange won both games of the doubleheader.Regardless of SU’s past success, it still can’t take inferior competition for granted like it did against Canisius on Saturday.‘The Colgates and the Canisiuses, we’ve got to beat those teams,’ Daniels said. ‘We can’t play at their level. We always have to stick with our level. We’re a great team.’Daniels wouldn’t go as far as to say St. John’s is one of the teams that Syracuse should beat with ease. But Kohl had no problem saying she thinks Syracuse is the superior team.‘I do think that,’ Kohl said. ‘And I think we all know that going in.’dgproppe@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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