Labor Day weekend has long been considered the harbinger of the fall. The unofficial end of summer signals that temperatures will soon cool, leaves will change colors, and football will begin.
And while the Syracuse Orange football team kicked off their season the right way with a solid, 29-9 victory over the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday, the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team brought a little spring flavor to this particular Labor Day weekend.
On Sunday, Gary Gait and Syracuse picked up their first commitment for the Class of 2023 from Jake Spallina. Yes, that Spallina.
Jake, a face-off guy and midfielder out of Mt. Sinai High School on Long Island, is the younger brother of Syracuse commit and No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022 Joey Spallina.
The entire Spallina family was up in the 315 on Saturday for a recruiting visit, and Jake officially committed to play for the Orange on Sunday.
Jake Spallina '23, M/FO, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) / @team91lacrosse has committed to @CuseMLAX. One of the most versatile threats in the class, Spallina had a huge last few months, providing a boost off the face-off, on offense and defense.— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) September 5, 2021
According to Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse, who reported the news on Sunday evening, Spallina is “one of the most versatile threats in the class” as he can take face-offs, stay on for offense, and go back and help on defense. In other words, he has a hand in every phase of the game.
The game of lacrosse has become increasingly specialized over the years as two-way midfielders have largely dwindled and FOGOs have proliferated. A player who can flash versatility can be especially valuable for any team, and that appears to be the big selling point on Spallina.
Brent Axe of Syracuse.com spoke with members of the Spallina family about Jake’s commitment, including his father and Stony Brook women’s lacrosse head coach Joe Spallina. Here’s what Joe had to say in regards to Jake’s game:
I think that’s a major weapon when you have a face-off guy that can make other team’s face-off guys stay on and not just run off the field...I think that was the biggest thing with Jake. He wanted to go somewhere where he could face off and be able to use his skill set, which is being a Swiss army knife”.
Sure, the quote is coming from his dad, but Joe is a respected Division I head coach and knows his stuff. And every good team needs that do-everything type of player who can impact the game at multiple levels.
As for Jake, he emphasized the importance of continuing to play with older brother Joey in regards to his commitment:
I just knew it was the place for me the second I walked into the Dome. Winning a Long Island title with Joey just made me want to do that at Syracuse, as well. We’ve been playing together since the first grade and want to keep building on that”.
That now makes two members of the Spallina family joining the Syracuse lacrosse family in the next two years. Do I hear three?
Jake’s twin brother, Brett, is a defensemen who is considering Syracuse among his list of schools.
Time for the Spallina’s to become the next “first family” of Syracuse lacrosse.