Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Tries to Get Back on Track Against the Colonials

Friday, May 07, 2021 at 11:18 am by Sports Editor

By Tyler Melito

CitrusTV’s Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

Throughout the 2021 season, Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse(6-5, 2-4 ACC) has squared off against some really talented offensive players. Here is a rundown of some of the best of the best:

  • Brendan Nichtern(Army):
    • Against SU: 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 total points
    • On The Season: 23 goals, 28 assists, 51 total points
  • Connor Shellenberger(Virginia):
    • Against SU(2 games): 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 total points
    • On The Season: 23 goals, 32 assists, 55 total points
  • Payton Cormier(Virginia):
    • Against SU(2 games): 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 total points
    • On The Season: 37 goals, 8 assists, 45 total points
  • Matt Morre(Virginia):
    • Against SU(2 games): 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 total points
    • On The Season: 25 goals, 29 assists, 54 total points
  • Dylan Pallonetti(Stony Brook):
    • Against SU: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 total points
    • On The Season: 34 goals, 19 assists, 53 total points
  • Michael Sowers(Duke):
    • Against SU: 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 total points
    • On The Season: 30 goals, 37 assists, 67 total points
  • Joe Robertson(Duke):
    • Against SU: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 total points
    • On The Season: 33 goals, 16 assists, 49 total points
  • Brennan O’Neil(Duke):
    • Against SU: 3 goals
    • On The Season: 38 goals, 8 assists, 46 total points
  • Pat Kavanaugh(Notre Dame):
    • Against SU(2 games): 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 total points
    • On The Season: 23 goals, 36 assists, 59 total points
  • Chris Gray(North Carolina):
    • Against SU: 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 total points
    • On The Season: 42 goals, 35 assists, 77 total points

Despite all of these talented players the Orange have faced, they might be facing their toughest challenge yet when they take on Robert Morris(7-5) on Friday, May 7 to close out the regular season. That player being the Colonials’ 6’2″, 220 pound graduate student attackman, Ryan Smith.

Smith may not be like a Sowers, Kavanaugh, or Gray and be in the conversation to win the Tewaaraton Award for the nation’s best lacrosse player, but from an experience standpoint, level of consistency, and just play on the field this season, Smith is arguably the best player Syracuse will have seen this regular season.

Through 12 games so far this year, Smith leads RMU in goals(41), assists(23), and total points(64). In the entire country, Smith is tied for 5th in goals, tied for 6th in goals per game, tied for 19th in total assists, tied for 28th in assists per game, 3rd in total points, and 7th in points per game. Just top to bottom, Smith gets it done consistently. In every game this year, Smith has had three or more points and in just two out of Robert Morris’ 12 games, Smith scored fewer than three goals.

Smith has been doing this for the Colonials ever since he stepped on campus in 2017. His season output falls as follows:

  • 2017: 20 goals, 8 assists, 28 points.
  • 2018: 17 goals, 13 assists, 30 points
  • 2019: 40 goals, 20 assists, 60 points
  • 2020 (pre-COVID shutdown): 17 goals, 11 assists, 28 points
  • 2021: 41 goals, 23 assists, 64 points

All of this production has led Smith to become RMU’s single-game leader in points, and tied for the single-game record for both goals and assists. He also leads the program in career points and career goals.

Of the players listed above, only Sowers is older than Smith, and that is only by a couple of months. Smith has seen and played a lot of lacrosse in his lifetime, and knows how to play in certain situations. Smith is also a bigger player as well listed at 220 pounds. Syracuse head coach John Desko in speaking to the media about Smith said “He is a handful. Probably their best dodger. He plays a lot bigger than he is…. He likes to get physical.” Desko would also mention that it is really hard to replicate someone like Smith in practice so his guys know what they are going up against given his size and play style.

So how does the Orange plan on slowing Smith down? Well, according to Desko, the plan is to have Mitch Wykoff guard Smith one-on-one, but it will be a collective effort to slide to the ball if and when Smith makes his move to the goal.

This is essentially a do or die game and the last chance for the ‘Cuse to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. You can catch all the action between the Orange and the Colonials on Friday, May 7 at 4 p.m. on Ernie Davis Legends Field inside the Carrier Dome. | @MelitoTyler