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Syracuse Lacrosse: Stacking Up the Attack

The biggest asset for the Syracuse lacrosse team is its attack, but how does it stack up to the college lacrosse's other best attack line? We compare, stat-for-stat, the nation's top two attack groupings.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The best word to describe the 2015 Syracuse Orange attack might be "balanced." This line has three weapons that seem to compliment each perfectly. Randy Staats expounded on this saying,

"...we all bring to the table... [something] that someone [else] isn't good at that the other person is good I think that definitely balances everything out and it's going to be tougher on defenses to cover us."

Dylan Donahue added,

"...we can all do a little bit of everything."

Kevin Rice works from behind the net as the quarterback of the offense and has incredible dodging skills. Dylan Donahue, also a great dodger, can snag just about any pass sent to him and could be considered the finisher on this line. Randy Staats has tremendous stick skills and uses his box lacrosse skill set to back down defenders on the crease while possessing the ball; Staats can make tough crease shots look easy.

" get surprised every day..some of the stuff he does is unbelievable,"

says Donahue talking about some of the moves that Staats is able to do on the field.

Staats didn't really join this attack line until a few days prior to last year's Maryland Terrapins game. It took some time for the group to understand how to play together, but once they did the line began to click on all cylinders, check out the highlights of the 2014 ACC Semifinals game against Duke if you want to see how good this trio can be. This year, however, the group has had all fall to play together and should start the season off just where it finished in 2014. Rice spoke to this at media day:

"Last year we only had the two weeks of preseason with Randy and at that time he was playing midfield primarily, so he sort of got thrown in before the Maryland game... by the end of last year I thought it showed too that we had each figured out the way we each like to play and, you know, played to our strengths and with the whole fall behind us I think we'll be able to take off running."

I've kind of tiptoed around this question a few times already, so I think it is time to address it. Does Syracuse have the best attack line in the country? There are a few possible suspects that immediately come to mind when talking about solid attack groups:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

North Carolina Tar Heels

Denver Pioneers

Syracuse Orange

Duke Blue Devils

Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Out of all these programs, the two that stand out above the others are Syracuse and Denver. No other attack line is as complete as either of these two. I've set up a comparison between the two attack lines below. A couple of things to consider when looking at the stats:

  • Only Division I statistics are included; statistics from a player's prior Division I school are included
  • There are four players on the Denver list because Connor Cannizzaro transferred to Denver over the summer and while he will play both attack and midfield, he is traditionally an attackman
  • The Pioneers play a slightly easier schedule than Syracuse
  • While very efficient on offense, Syracuse had big problems possessing the ball in certain games last year, possibly downplaying the 2014 stats
  • In 2014 Denver played 19 games while Syracuse played 16
  • The four Denver players have started a combined 102 games while the three Syracuse players have started a combined 71games

It is certainly an interesting comparison, but take a look for yourself and decide.

Syracuse Orange

Kevin Rice

Randy Staats*

Dylan Donahue





Career Goals




Career Assists




Career Points




2014 (G,A,Pts)

36, 44, 80

33, 23, 56

37, 17, 54

2014 GPG (Nat'l Rank, Actual #)

40th, 2.25

28th, 2.36

32nd, 2.31

2014 APG

5th, 2.75

29th, 1.64

85th, 1.06

2014 PPG

5th, 5.00

12th, 4.00

33rd, 3.38


2015: Co-Captain, 1st Team Preseason All-American, Preseason All-ACC

2014: USILA 2nd Team All-American, Tewaaraton Nominee, All-ACC, ACC All-Tournament

2013: Big East Championship MVP, Big East All-Tournament

2015: 2nd Team Preseason All-American

2014: Tewaaraton Nominee, ACC All-Tournament

2015: Co-Captain

2014: USILA honorable mention All-American, ACC All-Tournament Team

2013: NCAA All-Tournament Team

*Transferred from OCC (stats from OCC not included)

**Rice is 8 goals away from making the top ten in career assists

Denver Pioneers

Wesley Berg*

Jack Bobzien**

Zach Miller

Connor Cannizzaro^






Career Goals





Career Assists





Career Points





2014 (G,A,Pts)

48, 20, 68

42, 21, 63

38, 19, 57

26, 8, 34

2014 GPG (Nat'l Rank, Actual #)

22nd, 2.53

44th, 2.21

54th, 2.11

132nd, 1.53

2014 APG

93rd, 1.05

71st, 1.11

91st, 1.06

NR, .47

2014 PPG

26th, 3.58

34th, 3.32

48th, 3.17

NR, 2.00


2015: Big East All-Conference, IL Preseason 1st Team All-American

2014: USILA 3rd team All-American, Tewaaraton Nominee, 1st Team Big East, Big East Tourn. MVP, Big East All-Tournament, NCAA All-Tournament

2013: USILA Hon. Mention All-American, 1st Team All-ECAC, Preseason All-ECAC Team

2012: ECAC ROY, ECAC Preseason ROY

2015: Big East All-Conference, IL Preseason 3rd Team All-American

2014: 2nd Team All-Big East, Big East All-Tournament

2013: America East All-Tournament, America East All-Rookie Team

2015: Big East All-Conference, IL Preseason 2nd Team All-American (as a Midfielder)

2014: Big East All-Tournament, Tewaaraton Nominee, IL Freshman of the Year

2014: ACC Freshman of the Year

*Berg is currently 1st in career points, 1st in career goals, and 3rd in career assists in Denver's history

**Bobzien transferred from Hartford

^Cannizzaro will be playing both midfield and attack; transferred from Maryland