Of course, the Syracuse Orange men’s and women’s basketball teams are still playing games right now, but that doesn’t stop us from glancing at the next sports on the horizon. As is always the case, Syracuse’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are back in action very soon. And with their respective seasons about to start, the expectations are high.
That’s nothing new, necessarily, for either squad. But the idea that both squads were capable of winning it all going into recent years has burned us come May. The SU women’s team has never won it all — though they’ve come close several times in the last decade. Syracuse’s storied men’s program on the other hand, has tasted success numerous times before, just not since 2009. They haven’t made a Final Four since 2013. For a program that once made championship weekend 22 years in a row, this certainly feels like a crisis.
Yet, both teams seem to have legitimate championship aspirations again in 2020, perhaps unlike previous seasons when we simply convinced ourselves of it due to talent level alone. That talent level certainly helps here. The fact that both bring so much experience back and have teams comfortable playing with one another is a plus. Disappointment lingering from this past season likely helps too.
SU’s WLAX squad is fourth in the preseason coach’s poll. MLAX is fifth, though there’s potentially a lesser gap between them and the top spot. On Syracuse.com, Brent Axe makes the case that this group has what it takes for a title run, especially with Loyola transfer Chase Scanlan in the fold. We all want to believe they’re a title team, and many of us do; even if we’re scarred by the disappointment of the last decade.
We’ll have plenty more previewing both upcoming lacrosse seasons. But just know that it’s okay to have high expectations once again. That doesn’t mean we’re collecting hardware come Memorial Day. However, both teams seem as likely as they have been in awhile to do so.
The Orange check all the boxes of a team that can make a serious run. That includes transfer Chase Scanlan, who has embraced the history and expectation that comes with wearing the No. 22 at Syracuse. Scanlan, who has switched to attack, led all Division I freshmen midfielders with 43 goals at Loyola but sought a stronger team bond with the Orange.
It is a habit, Guerrier said, that is around four years old and dates back to high school when Thetford (Quebec) Academy coach Ibrahim Appiah encouraged him to find a comfortable free-throw routine and not to waver from it. Routine is important to him elsewhere too. He arrives at the Carrier Dome 2 1/2 hours before the start of each game to get shots in from the free-throw and 3-point lines. He listens to the same music. He talks to Appiah once a week.
John Wildhack on Zach Arnett: ‘He knew what he was signing’ (Syracuse.com)
Wildhack said Arnett signed an employee agreement with the university that outlined details including pay, benefits and vacation time. “A first-grader could figure out what he signed,” Wildhack said, when asked whether an employee agreement was different than a contract. “He knew what he was signing, and his agent knew what he was signing.”
“He showed the young players, this is what you have to do, this is what hard work is,” Boeheim said. “He set the tone for LeBron and all of our players. This is what you have to do if you want to be good and we never lost a game again after Kobe came with us and kind of set the standard for what it takes.”
Willingness to berate the officials is another criteria for admittance to this group. When forward Quincy Guerrier is called for a block, Moore becomes livid. “How is that not a charge? He was there with his feet set for a week! Oh, my God. You suck!” Later in the game, when Boeheim yells at Guerrier, Davis jokes: “Does he think Quincy’s Paul Harris?”
Syracuse men’s lacrosse fifth in preseason poll (Inside Lacrosse)