Last time around, I did a quick 'lil recap of some SU Lacrosse recruiting. Some of these recruits are getting to see the field for the first time as Fallball rolls around and the Orange under John Desko get back to the grind.
InsideLacrosse (specifically the amazing David Rahme) got an exclusive look at one of the practices. The gist: the practice would make Chip Kelly impressed.
Some 55 lacrosse players crowded onto one of the Manley practice fields on an early fall beauty - cloudless with temperatures in the low 70s - creating an atmosphere of mayhem that had to be choreographed perfectly to produce a method to the madness.
It was, despite a frenetic pace at practice, just days before the Orange's round-robin tournament against the Israel and Iroquois teams. There was a torrent of lacrosse balls being passed back and forth at full speed, a full-field scrimmage in which subs, subs and more subs changed places on the fly and a bunch of half-field drills that thinned the herd, albeit momentarily.
Some other observations from Rahme: freshmen Jordan Evans and Hayes McGinley are the two most likely candidates to step in and play right away. A name to remember is 6-6 attackman Matt Lane who is raw but will be a presence on the field. Transfers Nicky Galasso and Mike Daniello add depth to a midfield/attack that has the potentially to be the best SU's seen in awhile. Derek Maltz and Brandon Mullins are battling injuries (Maltz not sure, Mullins recovering from ACL) but both will be ready for the regular season.
Oh and that round robin tournament mentioned? That happened and Syracuse went 2-0. John Desko said it was a success after the Orange defeated the Iroquois Nation 14-11 and Israel 11-4. The former was the marquee game of the tourney.
That the Nationals put on a clinic of offensive lacrosse at times, forcing unsettled situations and then dazzling the fans with trick passes and shots, was no surprise. Nor was their tendency to get caught trying to force those unsettled chances and instead giving the Orange chances at the other end. And despite several missing pieces, Syracuse remains a team that knows what to do with the ball in unsettled regardless of who is in the lineup.
The Thompsons and Staats scored a bunch of logic-defying goals from seemingly nonexistent angles - Staats' flip while lying flat on his back past SU goalie Dominic Lamolinara was the most amazing, proving once again they are the undisputed kings of creativity.
Junior Hakeem Lecky, a player long touted by Desko as being "uncoverable" by Syracuse's talented defense in practice but often absent from the box score for several games at a time as a redshirt freshman and sophomore (14 goals combined), exploded for five goals to power the offense.
"It's a confidence builder," he said afterward. "Hopefully I can run away with it and carry it into next season."
Yay, this is all good news. Having too many weapons is not a bad thing and if Lecky can be a playmaker/difference maker for the Orange, this will be good. However, the story of the tournament was a player who John Desko doesn't even know.
Even nicer was the answer to the trivia question that was asked throughout the course of the day - who is No. 56 taking nearly every draw for the Orange and winning well over half of them?
"Uh. . . a walk-on," Desko said, fumbling in his pocket for the lineup and name. "Austin Weston." His name actually is Austin Wentworth, though.
The mystery man had surprising success against accomplished face-off specialists Jeremy Thompson and Vaughn Harris of the Nationals, keeping the Orange in the game early when everything else was pointing toward a blowout. Considering the way SU struggled at the X last season (42 percent success rate), the veterans who stayed home due to injury or eligibility problems (Desko preferred not to get more specific) should be concerned.
Oh. Wow. Ignoring the eligibility thing at the end, this Austin Wentworth kid may be "The Piece." I'm sure Sean can come up with a great narrative on how Wentworth was trained with a wooden stick by wolves in the forest.
Bottom line: Syracuse Lacrosse could be really really fun to watch this year.