The Syracuse lacrosse team lost some notable offensive weapons in JoJo Marasco (24 goals, 42 assists) and Luke Cometti (34 goals, 9 assists) last season to graduation, however, the outlook for the Orange looks bright as head coach, John Desko and his coaching staff have brought in a 2013 recruiting class known for its high-octane goal scoring.
Marasco, a captain and First-Team All-American, was the team's creator, an efficient disher who carved up defenses and found his cutting teammates. Cometti, meanwhile, was the go-to recipient of Marasco's passes as well as the team's best off-ball player when it came to finding the openings from up top.
Scott Loy is the only returning player from the first midfield line and will look to get help from Henry Schoonmaker and Hakeem Lecky.
"We are hoping that [Loy, Schoonmaker and Lecky] will fill in where the other guys left off," Desko said. "They are very talented players and I think that halfway through the season they started to make good decisions on the field and ran the offense better."
Desko continued, "I think you would have seen them in the game quite a bit against Duke if we had the ball more. Duke stopped sliding to us and I think Lecky and Schoonmaker were probably better dodgers than Luke [Cometti]."
Aside from Marasco's and defender Brian Megill's abilities, Desko said it was their leadership that would be missed the most. At one point during the season, Desko told a story about the time he went out to address the team before a major game and his captains had already stepped up and talked about what needed to be done. Loy, Schoonmaker and Lecky will be looked upon to do the same.
Captain Derek Maltz (32 goals, 7 assists) returns for the Orange and will suit up with his brother, Dylan, an incoming freshman and Under Armour All-American, one last time. The addition of Dylan, Jamesville-Dewitt (NY) standout, Jordan Evans, as well as Onondaga Community College transfer, Randy Staats -- to name a few – will add to Desko's good problem of depth at attack.
"You just do it and see who performs the best," Desko said about shifting players from attack to midfield. "The one good thing is, one part of our offense was we always had an attackman that has always played in a midfield spot - we shift our players around. Offensively, for the guys coming back, it shouldn't be that big of a deal."
Another player not to be lost in all of this is North Carolina transfer, Nicky Galasso, another attackman who was sidelined for the entire 2013 season with a foot injury. The No. 1 ranked recruit in 2010 as dubbed by Inside Lacrosse, was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011.
"He was probably our best dodging attackman before he got hurt," Desko said. "He got hurt at North Carolina his sophomore year. If you looked at his numbers from freshman year, they were terrific. His sophomore year his [statistics] went down because I think, he was hurt. Here, he came in, and as far as going out and beating his defenseman, he was the best player we had at the time. I think Nicky can give us a guy to help create."
The way things are shaping up on offense in terms of elite talent, the depth chart, as Eagles' head coach, Chip Kelly said during training camp, is "written in sand."
An Offensive Dilemma
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