Open competition

With lacrosse season officially underway, the Syracuse coaching staff is feverishly working to try and solve the team's face-off woes from a year ago. Head coach John Desko and assistant coach Kevin Donahue talk about about the squad's situation inside.

Assistant coach Kevin Donahue has studied and dabbled in just about every position over his 20-plus years on the Syracuse lacrosse sidelines.

This season, Donahue has teamed up alongside fellow assistant coach Lelan Rogers to try and combat its play at the dot, something that seriously hindered the Orange a season ago.

"I consulted it in a lot of different ways," Donahue said. "I talked to some people, I watched a lot of film, but I talked to a lot of players that were involved in facing off. We're going to have a specific practice plan, a strategy for those guys.

"It's a lot of muscle memory, it's a lot of proper technique," Donahue continued. "You have to be doing the right thing over-and-over again and not the wrong thing over-and-over. You have to be athletic and you got to have your stick match what you're trying to do. A lot of work on getting the sticks up to speed on what we want them to be able to do."

Syracuse's top two specialists, senior Chris Daddio (115 for 254) and sophomore Cal Paduda (47 for 111)return. The Orange will also welcome freshman Joe DeMarco and walk-on Austin Wentworth into the mix.

Wentworth had his far share of reps in its scrimmages in the fall, but Desko noted in a phone conference about a month ago that the sophomore "hadn't gone out in practice and dominated consistently."

Very much like the goalie competition, the battle between Syracuse's specialists is friendly. DeMarco told me in the fall that both Daddio and Paduda have embraced the fact that he is here and want to help the team.

"All the older guys really accepted us, especially the face-off guys" DeMarco said. "They really just took me in, showed me the ropes and how I should string my stick. They taught me all the advantages."

Desko said the goal for his team is to hit 50 percent. Last season, the squad was 42 percent (200 for 476).

According to head coach John Desko, the position is still open.

"We still have some evaluating to do, frankly," Desko said. "We may have worked more in the fall (on face-offs) than we did the last three years put together as far as looking at film, repetitions, working on other things. I wish that was a little more closed, but it's not. It's still an open position."

Cuse Nation Top Stories