Last year, the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team was on its way to perfection. The Orange were 5-0 and ranked first in the country, but it all came to a screeching halt in March. Once COVID-19 hit, the athletics programs were canceled for the rest of the year. For many, the question exists, what if? Now those questions turn into answers as SU suits up for the first game in 2021 on Sunday.
There is a lot of anticipation and expectations for this year’s squad. Inside Lacrosse put seven Syracuse players on their Preseason All-American list and gave three first-team selections. That provides the Orange with the most honorees coming into the season.
What is unique this year is that Syracuse returns all of its starters. But that doesn’t mean that the personnel hasn’t changed. In addition, the Orange brings in consensus number two freshman in the nation, Owen Hiltz. There is not a lot of available playing time, but head coach John Desko applauded his improvement.
“I don’t know if he will be the go-to guy at the start on day one,” Desko said. “But I think you’ll see him just get better and better and more time as the year goes on.”
To open the season, Syracuse takes on Army, the 12th ranked team in the nation. This game breaks the 351 day break in between games for Syracuse. This series has been close in the last five matches; seven total goals have decided the outcomes. Despite opening against a tough opponent, SU has history on its side. In the John Desko era, Syracuse is 20-2 in season openers.
Syracuse bolsters one of the best midfields in the country with Brendan Curry, Jamie Trimboli, and Tucker Dordevic. Coming into the season, John Desko is excited about what they can do this season.
“They are all athletic; they all are a threat scoring,” Desko said. “All of them as far as having both hands are probably as good a group as we’ve had to be able to go to their left or their right.”
Desko continued saying teams tend to force midfielders in directions of their weak hand. But the ‘Cuse midfield seemingly doesn’t have a soft side, so it poses a difficult task for most teams.
Last year Syracuse was one of the best teams in the country but could not see the season all the way through. Now it’s time for their 2021 campaign to begin.
Syracuse takes on Army in a top-12 matchup this Sunday at noon. WAER has you covered, starting with a special hour-long Countdown to Faceoff at 11 a.m.