Derek DeJoe continues expansion of offensive game as man-up specialist

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ This summer, Derek DeJoe’s shot was clocked at 111 miles per hour.He said it nonchalantly, but that’s five miles per hour shy of the world record.“I like to think that I have a good shot,” he said.It’s a trait that allows DeJoe to be Syracuse’s primary man-up specialist, a role he’s earned by being able to draw opposing zone defenses to him to free up space for the attack. This season, the junior midfielder had scored three goals in four games — two of which haven’t come on the man-up.And though DeJoe’s skill set allows him to fit the mold of a man-up specialist, his newfound ability to penetrate a zone instead of standing outside of it has helped expand his game. The No. 1 Orange (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) travels to Kennesaw, Georgia to take on St. John’s (1-4) in the Cobb County Lacrosse Classic on Saturday at 1 p.m. DeJoe is looking to continue developing his offensive repertoire as SU tries to hold onto the nation’s top spot.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think he’s starting to turn the corner into being a solid and dependable offensive midfielder all around,” attack Kevin Rice said.In his first two years at SU, DeJoe didn’t possess the decision-making ability necessary to be as efficient as he could, head coach John Desko said.In 2013, not even 27 percent of DeJoe’s shots found the back of the net. It took him 26 shots to muster seven goals and that ratio dipped even further in 2014, when he only had two goals on 11 shots in 13 games played.But this year, it’s only taken DeJoe five shots to beat the goalie three times, as his shot selection is paying dividends on the stat sheet.“I think in the past we’ve had that shot, but he hasn’t always made the right decisions with the ball,” Desko said. “We’re really starting to see him come into his own now.”Against Cornell on Feb. 15, DeJoe stood 15 yards away from the goal as SU swung the ball around the perimeter with a man advantage. He received a pass from Henry Schoonmaker, took a crow-hop and unleashed.The ball blistered over the left shoulder of Big Red goalie Christian Knight to give the Orange a 7-1 lead 16 seconds into the second half.“I think that when they call me the ‘Lefty Laser’ or whatever, it’s kind of funny,” DeJoe said. “When I am out there, they know that, ‘Oh God, we have to watch for his outside shot.’”On the flip side, DeJoe said he enjoys being in the field when its six-on-six instead of just being used on the man-up.He doesn’t mind being defined by his cannon of a shot, though, since it gives Rice, Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats a viable option to feed when defenses hone in on them.“They come down, they draw the defense lower to them and I’m usually open up top,” DeJoe said.With 5:18 left in the fourth quarter in the season opener against Siena, the Orange swung the ball around the perimeter, but this time on even strength. It reached Matt Lane and DeJoe cut to the middle instead of staying up top.He corralled a pass 4 yards from the goal, shot in stride and once again, found the back of the net.“I don’t think last year you would’ve seen him recognize a cut against a zone and fill the open space and catch it in traffic and finish,” Rice said. “I think it shows where he’s going as a player.” Comments Published on March 5, 2015 at 12:14 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img

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