Syracuse Lacrosse 2011: And So It Begins

JoJo Marasco is trading in his No. 1 jersey for the holiest of holies, No. 22, via media.syracuse.com

I know these kind of stats are like a broken record but it bears repeating. Syracuse lacrosse has made it to the Final Four in 25 of the last 28 seasons.

Impressive as that number is, we also have to take note that the three years they did not make the Final Four have all been within the last six years. Is it a matter of Syracuse not being as good as they used to be or are we in the middle of a changing of the guard?

Syracuse also won two National Titles in that six-year span (three if you go back seven), so the team is still capable of winning it all every year. So has the game changed? Slightly, I suppose. Duke is the first "new" National Champion since Princeton in 1992, but it's not like they came out of nowhere.

The sport of lacrosse is changing and yet its not changing. It's expanding but it's still a traditionalist's game. Denver, Ohio State, Villanova and Notre Dame are making strides but only the elite continue to win titles. Until somebody changes that, it's the way it is for college lacrosse.

Syracuse can confirm all of this by following through on their expectations in 2011. They are considered by most to be the No. 1 team in the nation heading into camp, which kicks off this Thursday.

First things first...who's wearing No. 22 this season? No surprise it's attack/middie JoJo Marasco. The sophomore is returning from a leg injury and ready to fulfill those lofty expectations.

"He had a terrific fall," Desko said. "We’ll use him mostly on attack this season. We think he can be a Kenny Nims kind of quarterback for us."

The Orange were named No. 1 in the land long before Tom Palasek decided to transfer from Hopkins to Syracuse (teehee). So how will Palasek fit in with the Orange? Will he even see the playing field this year given how little time he has to learn the ropes?

"We’ll see," Desko said. "I honestly don’t know until he gets here and we evaluate him. He’s arriving midyear with no knowledge of the offense or defense, and we have our first scrimmage in a few weeks. We have our lines set coming out of fall ball. He will really have to come in and make an impact. There has been talk of a redshirt year so he can learn the system. I guess it remains to be seen."

Media Day will be held on Thursday. The Orange begin their quest for a fourth National Title in eight years (and 12th overall) with a joint exhibition game with LeMoyne and Hofstra on February 5th.

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