Syracuse’s Jakob Phaup won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week award after going 24-of-27 at the faceoff X against Virginia on Saturday. Phaup’s performance marked the most faceoff wins by a Syracuse player in 18 years and was tied for the sixth-most in SU history.
At one point, he won 15 consecutive faceoffs. Phaup’s 88.9% outing was the best of his career when he’s taken more than three faceoffs. The junior has had an up-and-down season, including a “slump” that featured a 1-of-10 performance against Duke and 1-of-8 against Notre Dame. Both ended with his benching during the second quarter.
On Saturday, head coach John Desko said “the shoe was on the other foot” for Syracuse at the faceoff X, an area Desko said the Orange were previously getting beat.
“I had a little pep in my step, finally felt like I was back to my old self and had confidence,” Phaup said postgame.
SU has one conference game remaining — a matchup against Notre Dame on Saturday. It also added a nonconference game in the Carrier Dome against Robert Morris on May 7 to round out its 12-game schedule.
In Syracuse’s first matchup with the Fighting Irish, the Orange had limited offensive possessions in their 18-11 blowout loss as Kyle Gallagher and Charles Leonard won 23-of-32 at the faceoff X. Syracuse benched Phaup, then backup Danny Varello, before turning to third-string freshman Jack Savage. Saturday, Phaup will have a shot at redemption against the two.
“He’s gonna be better the second time around,” Phaup’s Faceoff Academy coach Greg Gurenlian told The Daily Orange on April 5. “That’s why coach (Desko) goes back to him.”