Syracuse men's lacrosse hosts preseason media day

Orange head coach John Desko discusses 2017 campaign as SU prepares for season opener on Feb. 11.

As of Monday, Syracuse men’s lacrosse is officially in full swing or, as head coach John Desko likes to say, “‘tis the season.”

Securing a winning season, however, has become increasingly difficult as the sport grows in popularity. With formidable players popping up across the country, Syracuse faces competition from teams outside the northeast region, including the 2016 NCAA champions, North Carolina.

Photo: Morgan Bulman
Senior attackman Jordan Evans discussing the upcoming season with a member of the media.

Yet, the Orange start the season ranked in the top 10 by both Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s Face-Off Yearbook Preseason ACC Poll (No. 3) and the Nike/USILA Coaches Poll (No. 5).

Even Syracuse’s roster boasts athletes from all over. Denver transfer and Ontario native Brendan Bomberry joined the Orange as a new midfielder and Desko still recruits from Central New York, the birthplace of lacrosse.

Among them is senior attackman Jordan Evans from Jamesville-Dewitt who’s been carrying the legendary number 22 on his back since freshman year. Desko said he is now looking to Evans to step into his anticipated leadership role, especially following the loss of former offensive operators Tim Barber and Dylan Donahue to graduation.

With a career-high 35 points last season, Evans has some catching up to do compared to Donahue’s 61.

“I think Jordan… has to step into a whole new role as the top guy, but he’s got to take that next step,” Desko said.

As of right now, Desko said he is “still trying to figure out combinations.” Senior midfielder Nick Mariano and sophomore Tyler Ford have been taking turns up top at attack, changes Desko alluded to after the alumni game this fall.

The defense is facing similar challenges as it will be led by a group of sophomores.

After ending last season starting in goal, Evan Molloy will be guiding returners Marcus Cunningham and Tyson Bomberry, as well as Nick Mellen, who Desko referred to as the Orange’s go-to guy for shutting down top scorers. 

“Defense is not just an individual play, it’s in a package and it has a lot to do with communication,” Desko said. “I think our goalies do that really well and just help them mesh together.”

If there’s one thing Syracuse should be feeling good about, it’s returning senior midfielder Ben Williams who secured 232 faceoff victories last season despite battling through injuries. Williams’ ability to secure the ball provides the Orange with longer, more frequent control.

“There are no secrets with Ben,” Desko said. “Everybody knows who he is in the scouting report. They’ll come up with all kinds of gimmicks to try and slow him down, but I think he’ll be ready for it.”

Williams was nominated for the Tewaaraton Award — awarded annually to the nation’s top player — the past two seasons. Other players to watch are returning All-American senior midfielder Sergio Salcido and promising sophomore attackman Nate Solomon. This is Desko’s 19th year.

Syracuse will open its season on Feb. 11 against Siena. First face-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.