Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Looks to Regroup Before Friday’s Game
By Tyler Melito
CitrusTV’s Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
To call the last week for Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse (6-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) a roller coaster would be an understatement. First, there was SU’s 13-11 victory of Virginia. That win snapped the Orange’s three-game losing streak in the ACC and completed a season sweep of the Cavaliers.
In that game against UVA, SU was without their leading goal scorer, attackman Chase Scanlan. At the time, he was serving an indefinite suspension for an incident that occured after the Orange’s 21-9 against North Carolina inside the Dome on April 17. In the lead up to the game against Virginia, the team released few details regarding the reason behind Scanlan’s suspension. A team spokesperson said he was suspended for “violating team rules and expectations.”
Fast forward to Tuesday, April 27, where reports surfaced that Scanlan had been reinstated to the team(which Desko would later confirm). Not long after, John Johnson of Spectrum News reported that, had Scanlan showed up to the team’s practice Tuesday afternoon, players on the team would walk out and not practice.
The team’s captains met with Syracuse Athletic Director John Wildhack to discuss the matter as well. Wildhack told ACC Network’s Parker and Durham that the meeting went well. Scanlan would practice individually with a member of the coaching staff, but once again, not many details regarding the situation as a whole, making Coach Desko’s weekly press conference all the more intriguing on Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday’s press conference saw, without a doubt, the most people at any Syracuse Lacrosse press conference this season. Typically, we get right to business and media members can ask questions. On Wednesday however, Coach Desko opened with a prepared statement, during which he said:
“Before I get started, I wanted to address reports that have occurred in the media about Chase Scanlan. As you’re all well aware, federal law prohibits the university from discussing specific issues relating to a student’s experience or record at the university. What we can tell you is limited to a student-athlete’s team status. Chase was suspended from the team 10 days ago for violating team rules and expectations. On Monday, April 26, I reinstated him. He will not be traveling with the team this weekend. I can’t, and won’t, offer any further comment. I will now take questions about our game against Notre Dame.”
From there, members of the media would ask Desko questions regarding Scanlan, the team’s threat to walking out of practice, and just tried to get any information on what transpired. Desko however was very firm in not revealing any information, and it eventually got to a point where both Desko, as well as another team representative had to interject and flat out ask for all questions to be focused on the game against Notre Dame this weekend.
There was a report first by Syracuse.com in which they said that Scanlan was “involved in what police labeled a domestic incident a day before he was suspended by the team, according to law enforcement sources and people familiar with the case.” Scanlan has not been charged with a crime for the incident.
Usually on Thursday’s there is a press conference for the media to ask questions of certain players each week. This week though, nothing of the sort.
This all culminated this past Saturday against Notre Dame, a game where the ‘Cuse suffered their worst loss of the season, 22-8. In that game, Notre Dame’s Pat Kavanaugh set a Fighting Irish program record for most points in a single-game with 10, scoring five goals and dishing out five assists. During his postgame press conference, Desko said that he felt the team had a great week of practice and was focused on the game at hand against Notre Dame; It just did not ultimately come out in their favor.
So where does the team go from here? Given the threats of the team walking out of practice had Scanlan showed up, that does beg the question of whether or not Scanlan’s relationship with his teammates at this point is unrepairable. Which then adds the question of was it worth even bringing him back. Sure, the Orange did not look good on offense against Notre Dame without their top goal scorer this season, but in the first game against the Fighting Irish they did not look all too good on offense either. The team also looked good without him against Virginia the week prior.
Another question worth asking is will we ever see Scanlan step on the field for SU again? This is a guy who when he transferred from Loyola to SU ahead of the 2020 season was hailed as the next SU great, being honored with the famed #22 jersey. Those questions won’t be answered for a while and maybe never at all.
Now, with one game remaining during the 2021 regular season, there is really only one thing Syracuse can do. Lock in, come together as a team, block out all the outside noise, and just simply focus on the here and now and fight for their NCAA Tournament lives and play at the level the entire college lacrosse community thought they would given where they stood prior to the 2020 season being shut down because of COVID, and entering this season.
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