The faceoff position for the Syracuse men's lacrosse team was undoubtedly the topic of conversation throughout the season last year. The National Championship game against Duke only exacerbated the situation on a much grander stage.
Then junior Brendan Fowler encapsulated a near perfect afternoon at the X, going 20-for-28 en-route to a 16-10 victory for the Blue Devils.
Syracuse will welcome three new faceoff specialists/midfielders in Nassau Community College transfer Mike Iacono and incoming freshmen, Joe DeMarco, Massapequa (NY); and Alex Schoen, Millburn (NJ) in addition to senior, Chris Daddio; sophomore, Cal Paduda; and sophomore, Brendan Conroy.
Iacono flourished in Nassau Community College's system as its dominate faceoff get off (FOGO) specialist, scooping up 120 groundballs and being honored as a 1st Team All-American and Region XV's Most Valuable Player.
"He has been a dominate force at the X for us," Nassau head coach George Powers said. "He is a big reason why we made it to back-to-back championship appearances."
Because of his frame and high lacrosse I.Q., Powers notes, Iacono has the ability to win it to himself, pick it up quickly and get it to their end on offense.
"He is a student of the game," Powers said. "He takes great pride and just goes about his business. He is a professional when it comes to getting prepared to play."
Desko and his coaching staff will evaluate all the players throughout fall ball right up until season to make the best possible decision.
"Sometimes," head coach John Desko said, "it's a matchup issue. Sometimes one guy will go good against another guy because he has a different move, so he may do well against one person and not do well against another. Daddio was one of those guys."
Daddio took a majority of the reps at the X and capitalized on 45 percent of them.
As a whole, Syracuse went 200-for-476 (42 percent).
"Paduda got some good takes at the end [of the season]," Desko continued. "I think he shows the most promise right now, but the new guys coming in, their moves could counter these guys. You don't always know.
Surprisingly, Desko may be in the minority when he expressed that he wasn't a proponent of the faceoff.
"You could faceoff between quarters," he said. I think that it gives too much importance to one player on the team and the fact that one player has that much control… I think the [NCAA Rules Committee] will look at techniques first before they get rid of it."
Desko continued, "I'm thinking the game could be sped up a little, but keep the faceoff in by having one every quarter. I think there are more people that still want the faceoff that don't. Change is always tough."
As far as a clear-cut starter? There isn't one, Desko said. It's an "open competition."
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