2021 Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Season Preview
By Trey Redfield
CitrusTV’s Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
Let me tell you a story. It’s 2020. Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse is on a roll. It’s winners of its first five games–one of which includes a top-seven win against Army West Point. The Orange were outscoring opponents 83-47. Most importantly, they were the number one team in the nation, according to InsideLacrosse. Many said this was the team that was going to make it to Memorial Day Weekend and win the program’s eleventh national championship (twelfth if you count 1990).
But then, Thursday, March 12, 2020 came. In one blink of an eye, everything stopped.
That Thursday, the ACC canceled all winter and spring championships. The NCAA followed immediately after, making Syracuse’s chances to win a national championship go from very high to zero.
But that was 2020, and this is 2021. Thanks to the NCAA allowing seniors from last year to return for a fifth year, the usual faces for fourth-ranked Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse are taking advantage to run it back.
THE FIFTH YEARS
Stephen Rehfuss and his team-leading 18 assists will be back to dominate the X once again. One of his main men, Jamie Trimboli, will also return as a team captain for the Orange this season. The redshirt senior racked up 17 goals, tying Rehfuss with 20 points on the year.
The duo would not be as lethal if it weren’t for Danny Varello. One of Syracuse’s two FOGOs will also be returning to the face-off X with a 63% face-off percentage.
Finally on the defensive end, Peter Dearth is back for one more round. The short-stick defensive midfielder will be joined by the main man at goaltender, Drake Porter. The Ontario native led the ACC and was 12th in the nation last season in save percentage with 57.7%.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
The fifth-years won’t be alone. Chase Scanlan headlines the non-fifth-year returnees for the Orange in 2021. The junior led the team in goals with 18 last season.
Scanlan has backup. Alongside Trimboli, Brendan Curry and Tucker Dordevic will be back to round up the rest of the starting midfield. Curry and Dordevic combined for 24 goals in 2020.
Do you remember the flashback where I said that many thought this would be the team to win it all? Well what if I told you the chances of people saying that this year are even higher? Syracuse added 14 new recruits for the class of 2024. Out of the 14 new Orange, Owen Hiltz, the lone five star recruit that signed with Syracuse according to InsideLacrosse, stands out the most. The Culver Academy attacker put up 112 points in his junior season in 2018, the last time he played in a high school game because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
THE USUAL AT THE HELM
John Desko will be back for his 23rd season as head coach for the Orange. He hasn’t seen Memorial Day Weekend in a while. The last time he got his squad to that point was 2013. The last time he led them to a national championship? 2009. So in case you are wondering, a lot is at stake for Desko, who has one of the more impressive Syracuse squads in recent memory.
Syracuse will play 12 games this season, with six of them coming against top-seven opponents. Out of those 12 games, SU will only have three road games, traveling to third-ranked Virginia, seventh-ranked Notre Dame, and top-ranked Duke. Despite traveling thrice, the Dome will still be silent for now. Until further notice, no fans are allowed in the Dome. After the regular season, it’s straight to the NCAA Tournament. For the second consecutive season, the ACC will not hold a conference tournament.
The countdown to opening day is down to two. When that countdown strikes zero, fourth-ranked Syracuse will be in the Dome to take on twelfth-ranked Army West Point. The Black Knights were one of the five opponents the Orange played last season. SU was down two going into the fourth quarter, but scored four unanswered goals to win 9-7, back in 2020. Syracuse will begin their quest for a national title this Sunday at noon.
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