Published on February 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ What now constitutes as “experienced” on Syracuse’s defense is less than a year spent as a starter.Evan Molloy, a backup 10 months ago, now barks orders from the net as a grizzled guru. Injuries and graduation have forced the redshirt senior into the leadership position on a defense with a former fourth man, a fresh-faced sophomore and transitioning long-stick midfielder. Molloy has an approach manicured over years of goaltending: Be really, really loud.“I make my voice really deep,” Molloy said, speaking normally. “It doesn’t sound like this. I’m yelling at people. It’s intense.”Syracuse’s current defense — Tyson Bomberry, Marcus Cunningham and Scott Firman — combined for one start at their positions entering the year. But it’s the group Syracuse must roll with after preseason All-American defender Nick Mellen, who started all but one game last season, needed season-ending surgery.Albany exposed Syracuse’s new defensive line last Saturday like Siena never could with skip passes and quick rotations. Now, No. 6 Syracuse (2-0) needs Molloy to be the antidote for inexperience by preparing and directing teammates for when Army (2-1) visits the Carrier Dome on Saturday at noon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“(Molloy) is very local, which helps our defense play well as a unit,” SU head coach John Desko said. “He’s like a quarterback out there. Communication is important. … He’s been the strength of our defense.”The coach now heaping high praise passed on starting Molloy last season but reversed his decision after eight games. Immediately, Desko noticed, defensive communication improved. The fluidity of slides, second slides and recovers increased. Syracuse’s clearing improved from 88 percent to 93. “He really turned some things around for us,” Desko said.Molloy transitioned into the larger role midseason, leaning on senior stalwarts Jay McDermott and Brandon Mullins. This season, roles reversed.“I love playing for Evan,” redshirt sophomore Cunningham said. “He bails you out all the time and he’s very vocal. …. Even though usually we are in a good spot, he’s always reminding you where you need to be.”Molloy, though, cannot communicate what he does not see. But therein lies his strength as a goaltender, he said. Because Jamie Molloy, his father, introduced him to lacrosse in Manhasset, New York, at age 5, Molloy said he often recognizes offensive sets and angles.He compares it to playing football and walking to the line of scrimmage. You can’t exactly explain how you know the defense will blitz, but you yell to alert your teammates anyway. The confidence to direct as Molloy did last season as a career backup comes from Jamie. His father holds the career saves record at SU and still says, according to Molloy, that he could play wide receiver in the NFL. Projecting unfailing confidence has been passed down and now signifies one of Molloy’s strongest traits.“It’s just my IQ,” Molloy said of his strength in net. “I’ve been playing the game since I was 5. … I’m just a good leader inherently. I’m in the net and (defenders) hear my voice, their ears perk up. ‘He’s telling me something I got to do.’ Then they realize someone’s wide open in the crease.”The vocal and fundamental soundness reminds ESPN lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon of other great Syracuse goalies, such as John Galloway and Jay Pfeifer. The 6-foot, 176-pound redshirt senior’s frame, read-and-react style and steadying influence fit the archetype.The Orange needs a calming presence now more than ever. The experience has already hurt Syracuse two games into the season with struggles against Albany. When SU faced a 6-1 hole against the Great Danes, Desko shifted lineups by rotating Austin Fusco and Andrew Helmer at long-stick midfielder and even subbed off Cunningham for true freshman Nick DiPietro in long spurts. The defense clamped down and didn’t allow a goal in the next 30:38 en route to a 10-9 win. But Desko credited Molloy and his four second-half saves to cool a scalding offense and play SU back into the game.The result didn’t surprised teammates. And Molloy even less. But they know it’s only the beginning of the defense’s transition. Impromptu adjustments require time to normalize and, until then, Molloy will push Syracuse forward with direction from behind.“I have the best view because (defenders) are all focused on their men,” Molloy said. “Their back might be turned, but I’m in the net. I can see everything.” Comments
Ghana won its first medal at the ongoing African Youth Championship after weightlifter Juliana Arko secured a silver medal in the girl’s 63kg category on Friday.Arko, who was competing in her first major international competition after winning eight medals at the African Weightlifting Championships in Casablanca, Morocco last year, finished with a total of 140kg.She went through the initial snatch phase of the competition with three lifts, and rounded up with three lifts in the clean-and-jerk.She was prevented from taking a gold medal by an Egyptian athlete (Sarah) while a Moroccan won third place.The 2013 SWAG Weightlifter of the Year is one of three athletes on a Ghana Olympic Committee sourced Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, and has already qualified to compete in the World Youth Championship in Nanjing, in August.In a related development, Ghana’s other Weightlifter at the AYG, Christian Amoah will be chasing a medal and qualification to the World Youth Championship when he competes in the boy’s 77kg event on Saturday. Meanwhile the President of the discipline, Ben Nunoo Mensah believes their best is yet to come Badminton: Team Ghana misses out on semi finals slotGhana’s Badminton Team missed out on a place in the semi finals of the Team event despite an impressive second day performance which saw the young team beating Seychelles 5:0 in their last Group B game.Team Ghana lost 5:0 to South Africa in their opening Group game on Thursday as Coach Jacob Wilson’s boys and girls struggled with the cold weather conditions and altitude in Gaborone, having only arrived two days to the opening game.The mixed doubles pair of Emmanuel Botwe and Victoria Asmah went down to South Africa’s Von Bodestein and A. Schoones 22-20 21-9.Victoria Asmah partnered Diana Archer in the Women’s doubles event but could not restore parity for Team Ghana as they were overwhelmed by A. Schoones and G. Roberts to lose 21-19 21-15. Diana Archer also lost the women’s singles to J. Van Der Vyver 21-12 21-11.Ghana’s Abraham Ayittey, the second athlete on a GOC sourced Olympic Solidarity scholarship, then engaged R. Synman in a gruelling men’s singles encounter which could have gone either way. Ayittey clawed back his way into the tie after losing the first set but eventually lost 21-14 19-21 22-20.The men’s doubles game witnessed a much closer encounter with the pair of Abraham Ayittey and Mohammed Adam winning the first set but B. Von Bodestein and B. Visser staged a dramatic come back to win 18-21 21-15 22-20.Despite their opening day lose, Coach Jacob Wilson’s boys and girls mounted a serious challenge in their next game against Egypt to secure one of the semi finals slot in the group.Abraham Ayittey was the star of the show, beating Egypt’s Yousef Essam 21:12 21:10 in the boy’s singles event after the mixed doubles pair Emmanuel Botwe and Victoria Asmah had lost 21:16 21-8 to Egypt’s Elgamal Adham and Mostafa Farida. After Diana Archer also lost 21-13 21-12 to Hany Doha in the girl’s singles event, Ayittey partnered Mohammed Adam in the boy’s doubles event as they came back from a set down to beat Egypt’s Elgamal Adham and Abdelhakim Abdallah 13-21 21-17 21-17.But Diana Archer and Victoria Asmah could not hold the nerve in the deciding game, losing 21-18 18-21 21-11 to Egypt’s Hany Doha and Mostafa Farida.In their last group game against Seychelles, Team Ghana secured a comprehensive victory, winning 5:0 overall.Meanwhile, Ghana has entered five candidates in the singles event which starts on Sunday.Table Tennis: Team Ghana progresses Marian Amankwah Adom and Isaac Amoako are through to the 1/16 stage of their singles event after winning their group games at the ongoing African Youth Games on the opening day of the Table Tennis competition on Friday.Drawn in group B of the girl’s singles event, Marian Amankwah Adom defeated Algeria’s Sannah Lagsir and Uganda’s Florence Serra, 3:0 respectively.Isaac Amoako also advanced with 3:0 wins against Botswana’s Peo Thebe and Tunisia’s Karem Ben Yahia respectively.The competition continues on Saturday.Swimming: Ghana’s lone swimmer, Ophelia Swayne is set to be in action in Day three of the competition in the 50-free style and 50 butterfly events respectively. The competition will serve as a qualifier for the World Youth Olympics in Nanjing, in August. Ophelia is the third Ghanaian youth athlete on a GOC sourced Olympic Solidarity scholarship.