Nick Martin emerges as SU’s do-it-all player in crucial situations

first_imgSusan Martin cried tears of joy in the stands of Koskinen Stadium at Duke. Sitting next to SU defender Marcus Cunningham’s parents, she hollered as her son Nick won faceoff after faceoff in the fourth quarter, sparking Syracuse’s comeback over then-No. 3 Duke.About 825 miles away, Nick Martin’s brother Jeff’s phone was blowing up with texts from Susan. Jeff waded through the crowds of Ultra Music Festival in Miami to see his brother’s highlights from the end of SU’s win.But for Martin, entering his first career ACC game down by two in the fourth quarter, winning five straight faceoffs was business as usual.“Any time my number is called I just try to be ready and fortunately we got a lot of good bounces,” Martin said. “I just had to keep the ball down for 3-5 seconds.  It was a really big win for us as a team.”While the rest of SU’s faceoff specialists combined for 7-of-27 at the faceoff X, Martin went perfect in the game’s final five minutes. Martin has entered games in tough situations all season. As a backup faceoff specialist and the short-stick defender on No. 9 Syracuse’s (7-4, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) man-down unit, Martin is often called on sporadically to give his team a lift. And almost always, he has delivered.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThrough 11 games, Martin is 8-for-11 at the faceoff X. While the bulk of his minutes have come on the man-down unit, he occasionally faces off — even though many people told him he would never do so in college, Susan said.In high school, Martin took faceoffs for Detroit Country Day School (Michigan) all four years. Although he holds his high school’s record for faceoff wins, Martin’s only season as a specialist came during his freshman year. He hated just taking faceoffs and not being involved in other parts of the game. But he wanted to play and did whatever he could to see the field, his father Jefferson Martin said.That is part of the reason why Martin plays the short-stick on the man-down unit. In high school, Martin technically played offense and defense. But like most high-school midfielders, he said he focused on offense.“I used to make fun of him that he couldn’t guard his own shadow,” Jefferson Martin said.But when Martin came to Syracuse in 2015, there were 16 offensive midfielders and only a handful of defensive midfielders. He saw that as an opportunity to contribute earlier, he said.During his 2016 freshman season, Martin redshirted and spent practices working on his short-stick defense, a role that he wasn’t completely used to. But he also continued to practice facing off. Martin switched to a long-pole defender last season, but still worked in the “sandbox” — SU’s faceoff practice area — with specialists Ben Williams and Danny Varello.Now back to short-stick defense, Martin has wowed his team in crucial situations, assistant coach Lelan Rogers said. Entering this season, Martin became the short-stick defender on SU’s man-down defense. As the lone short-stick, Martin has to play “quarterback.” He has to see the rest of the field and communicate with his long poles where they need to slide.Against then-No. 7 Notre Dame, SU’s man-down defense held the Fighting Irish scoreless in all eight of its opportunities. What makes Martin so useful on the man-down is his off-ball ability, vision and lacrosse IQ.“He can see things before they happen,” said teammate Nick DiPietro, who also plays on the man-down unit. “Martin already knows where people are going, and he can point that out.”Against the Fighting Irish, the coaches decided against playing their typical zone with Martin in the middle. They wanted him to faceguard Mikey Wynne, who is tied for the UND lead in man-up goals. Wynne did not shoot a single time on the man-up.“Nick’s a very intelligent player,” Rogers said. “He’s the smartest player on the team GPA-wise (4.0 in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management), and he plays that way on the field.”Against Army, Martin wasn’t supposed to play due to a shoulder injury. But in double overtime he was called on to help the man-down unit prevent an Army game-winner. SU killed the penalty and won in the next overtime.As the season has progressed, Martin’s role on the team has grown, and so has his recognition. Martin and his family received dozens of phone calls, texts and emails from other family, friends, former coaches and even some Syracuse lacrosse alumni after Su’s win over Duke, Martin said.“He’ll do some things we don’t even coach sometimes that makes us look like geniuses,” Rogers said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 17, 2018 at 12:00 am Contact Matt: [email protected]last_img read more

Women’s World Cup: Germany Makes it Two Wins Out of Two

first_imgGermany Wednesday made it two wins from two at the on-going Women’s World Cup as they claimed a narrow win over Spain in Group B.Bayern Munich midfielder Sara Daebritz’s scrappy first-half goal settled the contest and put the side ranked number two in the world all-but through to the knockout stages.Spain dominated possession but the Germans scored against the run of play when Daebritz pounced on some hesitant defending to bundle the ball in at the far post. germany-spain-world-cup-watch The result meant that Germany will be assured of their place in the last 16 if South Africa fails to beat China today, while realistically they look set to top the group.Two-time winners Germany – who opened with a win over China – have reached at least the quarter-finals in all of the previous seven World Cups, while the Spaniards – who beat South Africa 3-1 on Saturday – have qualified for the tournament for the second time.Efficient and resolute, the Germans remain unbeaten in 14 games since March 2018, while they are yet to lose to Spain after five meetings.Germany were without influential midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, who may miss the rest of the tournament after breaking a toe in their opening win over China, but still possessed the talent and resolve to emerge with the victory.Jorge Vilda’s side had edged the first half, which began amid torrential, wet conditions in Valenciennes, but Real Sociedad’s Nahikari Garcia scuffed wide after being played clean through and Atletico Madrid’s Silvia Meseguer fired off target from the edge of the box after a neat move.But after Alexandra Popp’s strong downward header was well saved by Barcelona keeper Sandra Panos, Spain skipper Marta Torrejon took too long to clear the loose ball and Daebritz pounced to slide the ball in on the rebound.After the break, Torrejon’s free-kick hit the wall from one of Spain’s best chances, before substitute Klara Buehl blazed over at the other end for Germany, and they were solid at the back to fend off a comeback.Group B’s other teams South Africa and China do not play their second match until Thursday (20:00 BST) in Paris.Then Spain face China in Le Havre on Monday (17:00) at the same time as Germany’s final group game against South Africa in Montpellier.The top two teams will qualify automatically for the last 16, while the four best third-placed sides from the tournament’s six groups will join them.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more