3 things Gary Gait said before Syracuse’s NCAA semifinal matchup against Maryland
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No. 4 seed Syracuse (19-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) made its fourth consecutive national semifinals after slipping past Southern California in the quarterfinals. Now, it takes on undefeated No. 1 seed Maryland (21-0, 5-0 Big Ten) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, with a trip to the national championship game on the line. The Terrapins eliminated the Orange in the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons.
Here are three things SU head coach Gary Gait said on the NCAA coaches teleconference on Monday:
Maryland is dominant against everyone, not just Syracuse
Because of their frequent matchups — Friday’s matchup will be the ninth matchup between the two programs since the 2013 season — and Maryland’s overall dominance against Syracuse (Maryland is 19-1 all time in the series), Gait often get asked if the Terrapins have the Orange’s number. But Gait thinks that it’s a bit unfair to pin it just on SU.
“People always ask me, you know you guys have hardly beat them, you’ve only beat them one time. But I can say that about almost every team out there [laughs] there’s not many teams that have beat Maryland ever. Certainly in the near future there haven’t been many teams that have beat Maryland,” Gait said.
“It’s a tough challenge and we’re excited to have that opportunity again. We know that we have to play a perfect game if we want a shot at competing with them and trying to come out on top.”
An 0-8 record against Maryland under Gait isn’t deterring Syracuse
SU has been defeated by UMD eight times in a row and it’s the one team that has given the Orange problems through the length of Gary Gait’s tenure as Syracuse’s head coach. But Gait is confident that his team has what it takes to compete with the Terrapins.
“We’ve beat the No. 1 team before, we’ve done that, so at least we have that history behind us. They’re a tough team, they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. The good thing is we have nothing to lose so we could just go give it 100 percent. I think we have the talent, I think we have the players and the capability of getting it done. The mindset is pretty simple, play your best lacrosse and hopefully good things will happen for you.”
SU’s recent string of playing in one-goal games is good experience, although they didn’t always have to end up that way
Barring the game against Canisius, which was completed a month after it began because of a weather delay, the Orange has played in three straight games that have been decided by a goal. And while Gait is happy that SU has experience in those close games, he would like to see his team close out games that his team has a lead in earlier.
“We’ve made mental mistakes, mental errors, gave the ball back to the other team. You look at USC, we’re up 11-8 with four or five minutes left. We’re man-up and we give the ball back. It’s just another opportunity to learn form it and try and get one step better so if we do get a lead we can maintain it and not have to fight for our lives at the end of the game,” Gait said.
Published on May 23, 2016 at 8:04 pm