On Wednesday, two members of the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team were named to the 2021 All-ACC team. Sixth-year redshirt senior attackman Stephen Rehfuss and redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brett Kennedy were the two SU players included on the team, which was voted on by the league’s five head coaches.
Kennedy was one of three players who were repeat selections from last year’s All-ACC team; the other two being Virginia’s Matt Moore and Duke’s JT Giles-Harris. This is the third straight season that Kennedy has received All-ACC honors.
Rehfuss had the best season of his already impressive career, putting up a career-best 53 points, a career-best 25 goals, and a career-best-tying 28 assists. He led the team in assists for the fourth consecutive season and points for the second time in his career, and his 53 points are the most for a Syracuse player since Dylan Donahue put up 61 in 2016. He’s also tied for ninth on Syracuse’s all-time assists list with 108 for his career.
Unsurprisingly, Syracuse finished with the fewest members selected to the team. ACC co-champions North Carolina and Duke led all teams with five honorees each. Virginia followed with four selections, Notre Dame had three, and the Orange closed things out with two.
Syracuse’s vaunted first-line midfield did not garner a single selection to the team, a huge disappointment given the superlatives that were being used to describe that unit in the preseason.
North Carolina’s Chris Gray was named the conference’s Offensive POTY, Notre Dame’s Jack Kielty was the Defensive POTY, Brennan O’Neill was the Freshman of the Year, and North Carolina’s Joe Breschi was the Coach of the Year.
Freshman Owen Hiltz was probably the only Syracuse player who was a candidate for one of the above awards, but he got beaten out by O’Neill. I imagine the vote was very close, as the two had very similar statistical freshman seasons.
- Brennan O’Neill: 38 G, 8 A, 46 P, 36.5 SH%, 15 GB, 16 TO, 1 CT
- Owen Hiltz: 28 G, 19 A, 47 P, 34.6 SH%, 17 GB, 12 TO, 6 CT
It’s basically splitting hairs between the two, who are very different types of players and both excel at the way the play the game. I personally believe that Hiltz is the more well-rounded player, but O’Neill is a physical force to be reckoned with. There’s a reason they were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in their class.
As usual, selecting the All-ACC team is somewhat of an exercise in futility. This year’s team included six attackman, only one SSDM, three LSMs, and two goalies. How seriously am I supposed to take the “All-ACC team” when you select enough players for two or even three teams at certain positions and not enough players at others? Ah well, I digress.
More importantly, the Orange are in the midst of their week of preparation for the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where they were selected to play the No. 5 seed Georgetown Hoyas at a pre-determined neutral site in College Park, MD.
The game will be Saturday primetime, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Let’s Go Orange!!!