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Inside Lacrosse ranks Syracuse seventh in Face-Off Yearbook Top 20

Now if only we had a schedule...

NCAA Lacrosse: Quarterfinals- Syracuse-Johns Hopkins Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Inside Lacrosse released its 2017 Face-Off Yearbook Top 20, not to be confused with the preseason media poll.

Once again, all five ACC programs are ranked within the top 15. The reigning champion North Carolina Tar Heels sit at no. 2 with the Denver Pioneers taking the top spot. Although Carolina’s leading scorer Steve Pontrello has graduated, the Heels still return five of its top seven point scorers. Stud close defenseman Austin Pifani will also come back to lead the defense in front of Brian Balkam who should be the returning starter in net.

Notre Dame moves into the fourth position while the Syracuse Orange fall into number seven. Syracuse loses several key players to graduation including Tim Barber and Dylan Donahue on offense and Brandon Mullins at close defense. The Orange do have some solid pieces to build off of including Evan Molloy in net, Nick Mellen leading the defense, Ben Williams at the faceoff X, and Nick Mariano, Sergio Salcido, and transfer Brendan Bomberry on offense. There are some serious questions about the depth of this roster, but Coach Desko overcame similar questions last season.

Duke hangs its hat at number eight, one place behind SU, while Virginia is the lone ACC outcast from the top 10, sitting at 14th. The Cavaliers come into 2017 less than a year removed from an embarrassing mess of a coaching change. Lars Tiffany will be a the helm and he will have the n.2-rated recruiting class at his disposal. UVA’s biggest hole may be in net. With Matt Barrett suspended for the 2017 season, Tiffany will have limited options between a true freshman, a former walk-on and a junior with just over 100 minutes of playing time in his two years.

The Syracuse schedule has not been released yet, but as most of us know, it rarely changes. SU will play the other four ACC teams and rival Johns Hopkins. In addition, Albany will almost definitely be on the schedule, making that seven regular season opponents which are listed in the IL preseason rankings. Of course when that schedule is released we will delve more heavily into it.

Below are the rankings with probable 2017 opponents in bold.

  1. Denver Pioneers
  2. North Carolina Tar Heels
  3. Maryland Terrapins
  4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  5. Loyola Greyhounds
  6. Yale Bulldogs
  7. Syracuse Orange
  8. Duke Blue Devils
  9. Navy Midshipmen
  10. Brown Bears
  11. Towson Tigers
  12. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
  13. Albany Great Danes
  14. Virginia Cavaliers
  15. Richmond Spiders
  16. Penn State Nittany Lions
  17. Fairfield Stags
  18. Air Force Falcons
  19. Rutgers Scarlett Knights
  20. Marquette Golden Eagles