SU Men’s Lacrosse Season Preview: Attack
By Braden Reed | @BradenReed6
Syracuse men’s lacrosse’s four top attackmen from last season combined for more than half of the team’s scoring. Only two of those players, Owen Hiltz and Owen Seebold, are back for 2022. Bad news came last week though, when Inside Lacrosse reported that Hiltz is expected to miss “extended time” with an upper body injury. It remains to be seen just how long that’ll be, but the Orange’s depth at the position will be tested early on.
Senior Owen Seebold is the only upper-classman out of all of the listed attackmen rostered. The next oldest players are Mikey Berkman and Basil Aburn, both of whom are redshirt sophomores. Last week, first-year head coach Gary Gait said, “we’re gonna see some new faces here and there, and it’s going to be fun to watch how they embrace opportunity.” With that said, let’s meet a handful of attackers expected to contribute the most this upcoming season.
Owen Hiltz, sophomore
The lacrosse world learned the name Owen Hiltz pretty quickly last year. The Ontario native came storming out of the gates, scoring 11 times in the team’s first four games, and leading the Orange in goals on the season. As a preseason All-American, Hiltz was primed to build on his success in 2022, but an upper body injury in a preseason scrimmage against Michigan has put those plans on hold. Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said last week that he doesn’t have an update on Hiltz’ diagnosis or timetable, that SU will be taking it day-by-day and week-by-week to figure out when he’s going to get back.
Owen Seebold, senior
After appearing in all 13 games for the Orange a season ago but only starting four, Seebold has an opportunity to emerge as one of the top scorers this season. He’s more than earned the right, spending the better part of three seasons as the team’s fourth attackman before cracking the starting lineup a few times in 2021. With Stephen Rehfuss off in the PLL and Owen Hitlz sidelined with the aforementioned injury, it’ll be Seebold’s group to lead early on. The Dallas native was strong down the stretch last year, tallying 10 goals in the team’s final four games, highlighted by a five goal, seven point outing against Robert Morris. The point can’t be stressed enough, with the young, inexperienced group that the Orange have, which will be even more emphasized with Hiltz’ absence, Seebold will be needed as a go-to guy on SU this season.
Griffin Cook, junior
While he’s listed as a midfielder, Cook gained plenty of experience at attack in 2020 and 2021 and could end up being an important piece there this year. He started all five games at the position in the pandemic-shortened season, and has been one of the best riding attackmen in the country when he’s on the field. He appeared in all 13 games last season but only started the season opener against Army. While Cook’s goal total was only one in 2021, Gary Gait said last week that he was impressed with his performance in the Michigan scrimmage and that he can be a difference maker when he steps up and plays with confidence.
Liam Ferris, sophomore
Despite not spending a lot of time at attack in 2021, Ferris could be relied on in the early going to seriously contribute as Hiltz gets healthy. Ferris spent time on SU’s second midfield line last season, appearing in seven games and tallying a lone goal. His high school resume is what makes him such an intriguing prospect to have success this season. He was a four-star recruit, a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and led all Capital Region (NY) scorers with 91 goals and 123 points. According to the team website, he’s grown an inch and added more than ten pounds to an already solid frame.
While he’s not listed at attack, it’s worth noting that midfielder Tucker Dordevic will likely see time at attack this season. With the group already thin going into the season, he was projected to potentially even start at the position. Owen Hiltz’ injury now further emphasizes that issue, and players who haven’t had their number called a lot in the past will be relied on to play big minutes in some meaningful early season games. Gary Gait hasn’t said with 100% certainty where Dordevic will be playing this year, but don’t be surprised if arguably the team’s best player is moved around early on to see where he can benefit the team most.