The 2013 Syracuse Orange lacrosse season officially got underway Tuesday with a media day and first practice session. Coming off a disappointing season and four years removed from their last National Championship, the team comes into the season without the usual pressure of living up to their predecessors. Whether that works to their advantage or not, we'll see.
So what did we learn Tuesday? Actually, quite a few things...
First off, let's confirm that super-transfer Nicky Galasso is officially a member of the team and on the practice field...CONFIRMED!
Syracuse University athletics confirmed Tuesday that attackman Nicky Galasso has been admitted to school for spring semester classes which begin Monday. He is expected to be cleared to play for the Orange immediately.
In case that means nothing to you, all you need to know is that he was the No. 1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school and was named Freshman of the Year in 2011 before a leg injury limited him last season. By all accounts he's exactly what SU needed to fill a need at attack, replacing Tommy Palasek and Tim Desko.
He's wearing No. 25, in case you're wondering. When asked if Galasso is going to be expected to make an immediate impact, John Desko didn't mince words:
"We hope so," Desko said. "We aren’t encouraging transfers to come in and sit the bench.
"I think Nicky faces high expectations first of all," Desko said. "It’s a matter of how quickly he picks up the offenses and rides. It’s us figuring him out, too. We may turn around look and say, hey, maybe he can help us in the midfield being a threat, too. "It’s us evaluating him and how quickly he can learn."
He'll join JoJo Marasco and Derek Maltz in the starting attack unit...if he can make it. Kevin Rice, Billy Ward and Eric DeJohn will be more than happy to take it from him if he's not up for it.
Meanwhile, another recent transfer isn't on the field right now and might need a bit of time to recover from a recent accident. Mike Daniello, brother of SU alum Chris and recent transfer from Johns Hopkins, was involved in an accident that resulted in a fractured skull and bruised brain. So, uh, that sounds pretty serious and let's just wish Mike the best as he recovers.
Some other SU players not suited up yesterday include Henry Schoonmaker, Brandon Mullins, Sergio Salcido and Matthew Lerman.
Of course, the big question for Syracuse lacrosse remains, as always...face-offs. The Orange were 45th in the nation last year and you can draw a direct line between their inability to win the ball and their early exits in the NCAAs. So how are fixing this? Enter faceoff specalist Brendan Conroy.
"The game starts with the faceoff," Desko said. "We're hoping with the new guys coming in, especially with (Chris) Daddio coming back with the experience being a junior now, we hope we'll have more possessions."
Something else to keep an eye on, the recent rule changes to college lacrosse. Namely, a 30-second shot clock meant to speed up the game. It's something that plays to Syracuse's benefit:
"Without the stalling and teams holding the ball on us it’s going to be a very fast-paced, up-and-down game for us and that’s the lacrosse we like to play," captain Steve Ianzito said