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How Syracuse Lacrosse Stars Are Helping to Grow the Game They Love

Mikey Berkman (White #3) puts his hands in the air as he celebrates a goal against Hobart.
SU attackman Mikey Berkman is one of many Cuse standouts not from a part of the country historically know for its lacrosse.

Both the Syracuse Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams have benefited from talent coming in from outside the Northeast lacrosse “hotbeds.” WAER’s Calvin Christoforo explains why the game is growing and how current SU stars are helping the sport expand.

Lacrosse has been the fastest-growing collegiate sport over the past 15 years. According to a 2018 study done by the NCAA, the number of college women's lacrosse teams has grown by 97% and on the men's side by 61%.

Not only is this trend growth in the number of teams, it is also seen in the number of different states that these players are coming from.

In Sunday's loss to John Hopkins SU players from 11 different states saw the field, and on the women's side, six different states along with Canada were represented in Syracuse's win over Virginia.

Syracuse men's lacrosse head coach Gary Gait knows the geographical diversity on his roster.

"I look at our attack group that we have out there, and you know, it's not just Oregon, it's non-traditional areas, you know we got Florida, Oregon, and Texas all represented right now," Gary Gait said.

On the women's side Megan Carney, a senior for McKinney, Texas has noticed the growth of the game within her own team.

Megan Carney (white #22) looks to score withe her back to the goal in Syracuse's win over Duke
Texas native Megan Carney leads a growing geographically diverse roster for Syracuse women's lacrosse

"It is definitely cool. I think that that is something cool about Syracuse is we are starting to branch out as the years go on. We have Liv (Adamson), me, we have another from Texas, so there is a few of us and then one from California," Carney said.

But why is this happening? Why is the game continuing a high rate of growth in places that it has never been before? Well, that is because of current stars of the game like SU senior attackman Lucas Quinn, who even though hails from Niskayuna, New York, a place that would be considered by most to be a lacrosse "hotbed", are making the effort to teach the game across the country.

Lucas Quinn (White #26) runs towards the net holding his stick in his right hand as he looks to score in Syracuse's win over Hobart.
New York native Lucas Quinn has traveled to Idaho and Montana to try to grow the game of lacrosse.

"Two or three summers ago, I actually went out to Montana and coached lacrosse for six weeks and lived out there, and traveled around. I think that was kinda my part in growing the game and I would love to do something else like that in the next couple of years, but yeah, it is the best for a young kid, I think that this is the best sport you can play," Lucas Quinn said.

And Quinn is just one of many coaches nationwide that Syracuse women's Lacrosse head coach Kayla Treanor says are making the biggest difference in growing the sport.

"The game is really expanding and I think that has to do a lot with the coaching in that area. It is great for the game, it is great for women's lacrosse, and hopefully, we will be able to take advantage of that," Kayla Treanor said.

The SU men's team is already seeing the benefits of recruiting nationwide. Tucker Dordevic who comes from across the country from Oregon leads the Orange in both goals and points.

Tucker Dordevic (white #23) looks to score from behind the net in Syracuse's 18-16 win over Hobart.
Oregon native Tucker Dordevic leads Syracuse men's lacrosse in both goals and points.

But Dordevic isn't the only one from afar making an impact. Sophomore Mikey Berkman from just outside Orlando, Florida has netted nine goals so far in his first season as a starter. Berkman says his goal is for the sport that he loves to grow closer to home.

"I think it is going to grow all across the country, and just the more accessible we can make it to kids, the more it is going to grow, people love it the more they get exposed to it," Mikey Berkman said.

So whether it is in the women's game, or in the men's, college standouts nationwide and at Syracuse want the game of lacrosse to continue its growth. And those athletes are willing to help out however they can.