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first_img Published on February 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm Comments It wasn’t the way many Syracuse players wanted to go out last season.After emerging from the regular season virtually unscathed, SU was unseated by Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals.But even with some motivation for redemption lingering in the back of a few of the Orange players’ minds entering this Sunday’s scrimmage with the Terrapins, this year’s matchup will be very different from when the teams squared off last May.‘It’s a little bit redemption, but it’s more fine-tuning things that we need to work on,’ SU defender Brian Megill said. ‘Obviously, play with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, they knocked us out, they stalled us the whole game, so we’re going to come out a little bit fired up. It’s going to be a good scrimmage, but I don’t think we’re going to show everything we got.’When Syracuse takes the Carrier Dome field at noon Sunday for a preseason matchup with the Terrapins, the stakes will be much lower than they were in last season’s postseason game, which Maryland won 6-5 in overtime. Each team has lost superior graduating classes, and the scrimmage will be an opportunity to see what both teams have moving forward.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd for SU, playing a team of Maryland’s caliber will go a long way in determining lineup changes that will take shape before the season opener against Albany on Feb. 19.‘We need to get everything we can out of this scrimmage,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘It’s our last contest before our first game against Albany. We’re just looking to improve and evaluate our players and see who’s going to play well against a team like Maryland.’Both teams enter the regular season with question marks on both sides of the ball. The Orange lost Stephen Keogh, the team’s leading scorer from a season ago. The Terps graduated their top two scorers from their team that reached the national championship.And on defense, Megill is SU’s lone returning starter. Maryland lost each of its starting close defensemen. Less than half of the players that started the quarterfinal game will be on the field Sunday.‘I guess you can say they’re like us,’ SU midfielder Bobby Eilers said. ‘They don’t really have a true identity yet. They lost a lot of their guys from last year, and I’m sure they have amazing players just like we do, and everyone is looking to step up.’During last season’s matchup, the Terrapins slowed the game to a sluggish pace, looking to capitalize on their precious scoring chances while limiting the Orange attack. Maryland held SU to just 22 shot attempts and controlled the time of possession.But Eilers said he anticipates the scrimmage to have a far quicker tempo than the playoff contest of nearly eight months ago.‘I think they’re going to run and gun with us,’ Eilers said. ‘… This year they think of us as an underdog. They think they can play with us, and that’s good for us because when we get in run and guns with teams that’s when we play our best.’But playing a team of Maryland’s ability early, even if it’s in the preseason, will set the precedent for Syracuse’s matchups with perennial powers Virginia and Duke later in the season. As SU searches for its own identity, the matchup will be a building block toward figuring out the best combinations on the field.‘We’re just looking forward to it,’ Desko said. ‘It’s great competition. Obviously a team that beat us in the playoffs, pretty similar teams with their graduation, they’re learning about their guys, too, got a few guys coming back, but got big graduations. We’re not quite sure what to expect on the field.’Despite the number of changes for SU and Maryland, Eilers admitted that this preseason game might be a little different from the ones he’s played in years past.And even if an SU victory doesn’t appear in the win column, this scrimmage could go a long way in determining what the future holds for the Orange.‘You don’t really want to treat any game like it’s a preseason game,’ Eilers said. ‘You want to act like you’re playing to win and we’re going to be trying to play to win, and we’re not going to hold back. We’re going to get after them.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more