Less than two weeks before lacrosse season is always a time of giddy anticipation for Syracuse Orange fans.
This year’s excitement took a major hit on Sunday when Inside Lacrosse reported that sophomore stud attackman Owen Hiltz is expected to miss significant time as the result of an upper body injury that he sustained during this weekend’s scrimmage vs. Michigan.
Sources: @CuseMLAX's Hiltz Suffers Upper Body Injury in Scrimmage, Expected to Miss Extended Time— Inside Lacrosse (@Inside_Lacrosse) January 30, 2022
(via @tyxanders & @TerenceFoy): https://t.co/94BVnbwO2H
Inside Lacrosse’s report said that multiple sources told them the news, but they had not yet heard official confirmation from a Syracuse athletics spokesman.
According to the sources, Hiltz’ injury resulted from a hit in the scrimmage and that he did not return after it.
Hiltz’ loss, for however long it ends up being, is of course a devastating blow to a team that already had a lot of question marks about how they would operate in their first season under head coach Gary Gait.
After a fantastic freshman season in which he scored 48 points (29 goals, 19 assists), Hiltz has already established himself as one of the most creative, skilled and exciting players on the team and in the country. Just over a week ago, he was named a preseason honorable mention All-American by IL. He’s just flat-out fun to watch play lacrosse, and at the moment we don’t know when we’ll see him play next.
The question now becomes who will fill the gaping vacancy at attack in Hiltz’ absence. It’ll be a total-offensive effort to replace his 3.7 points per game from last year, as the pressure gets dialed up on Owen Seebold, Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry as the offensive leaders.
But there’s also now tremendous pressure on certain “supporting” players to step-up into larger point-producing roles for the Orange. One player who springs to mind to Griffin Cook, who came to SU as a two-time All-American at Jamesville-Dewitt, but has only recorded 20 points in 32 career games. There’s nobody playing in front of Cook now, and it needs to be his time, among others.
However it shakes out, Gary Gait has some expert-level finagling to do with his lineup.
Best of luck to Owen for a healthy and speedy recovery, and hopefully we get the chance to see him at some point this season.