We’re well into the new school year, and that means that fall ball is in full swing for the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team.
This year’s Orange will feature 20 players who are new to the program for the first time. Yesterday, we took a look at the nine transfers and their potential impact for this year’s team.
Today, we’re turning our focus to the 11 freshman beginning their college journeys this fall.
- Trey Deere — Attack, No. 91, 5 stars, 18th overall in FR class
- Wyatt Hottle — Midfield, No. 19, 4 stars
- Jake Spallina — Midfield/FO, No. 1, 4 stars
- Tyler McCarthy — Midfield, No. 13, 4 stars
- Tucker Kellogg — Midfield, No. 40, 4 stars
- Chrishawn Hunter — Midfield, No. 0
- Charlie Kraftson — Attack/Midfield, No. 43
The far-and-away headliner of this group is Trey Deere, the No. 18 ranked player in the incoming freshman class and the only five-star in the Orange bunch.
A lefty attackman from Canada and the Salisbury School (CT), Trey’s a prolific goal scorer who plays off-ball a lot and can finish from anywhere. That style fits in nicely for a ‘Cuse offense filled with ball-carriers and distributors. Something else that fits in nicely with a Gary Gait coached team? Playing with flair, an attribute of Trey’s that Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy reported on when he visited SU’s practice just yesterday:
Kid’s gonna fit right in.
I definitely anticipate that Trey’s going to play some kind of role for the Orange offense this season, but exactly where on the field remains to be seen. He’s an attackman by trade, but there’s a lot of competition for those spots with Joey Spallina, Owen Hiltz, Christian Mulé, and possibly even Finn Thomson. Whether it’s at attack or midfield, the bottom line on Trey is he’s just too talented to not see the field even as a freshman in a loaded offense.
Beyond Trey, it’s a little tough to see anybody playing too big a role for the offense this season. And that’s primarily because of the overall talent and depth that Pat March has at his disposal. The competition for playing time is going to be fierce to put it mildly, and that’s even amongst the veterans.
Of the other names on the list, the one I’d pick to watch out for is Wyatt Hottle, the diminutive speedster from Calvert Hall in Maryland. I saw Wyatt play a few times in high school, and I came away consistently impressed by how much his explosiveness stood out on the field. He’s got a quick first step and change-of-direction, and incredible straight-line speed. He’s pretty easy to spot at just 5’7”, 150 pounds, but he’s got defense-altering speed and a good shot to match. I’m not sure how much he’ll be able to see the field, but at the very least he’s someone to watch down the road.
The other name worth mentioning is Jake Spallina, who might be able to see some time this season due to his abilities as an all-around midfielder. Jake’s an experienced face-off taker from his Mount Sinai days, and he can play the role of a two-way midfielder if needed. It seems most likely that we’d see him as part of the SSDM rotation where the team depth needs more help.
- John Mullen — FO, No. 36, 4 stars
- Jake Spallina — Midfield/FO, No. 1, 4 stars
So, we know that last year’s FO situation was a disaster as SU finished 64th in the country at 41.6% success. Personnel adjustments were made in the offseason as the staff brought in graduate transfer Mason Kohn from Tufts (71.6%, 184 GB as a SR).
Mason figures to be the No. 1 guy at the dot in 2024, but freshman John Mullen will be an interesting guy to keep an eye out for. I’ve never seen him play, but what I’ve heard has been positive about the 4-star prospect from Norwell, MA. He’s already got great physical size even as a freshman, listed at 5’10”, 203 pounds.
I don't think we’ll see a ton of Jake Spallina at the dot, but they do list him as ‘M/FO’ on the roster and he has the experience of doing it from his high school days.
- Donny Scott — Close Defense, No. 31, 4 stars, 23rd overall in FR class
- Brett Spallina — Close Defense, No. 44
- Michael Ippoliti — Goalie, No. 92, 4 stars
Unfortunately, this section starts with the fact that Donny Scott will be sitting out the season (just like Riley Figueiras last year) due to an ACL injury that he suffered during the summer.
It’s certainly a shame for the Orange defense, because Donny, who went to high school at the fabled Hill Academy in Ontario, is one of the highest-ranked defenders in the incoming class (No. 23 overall). He’s known for his aggressive, physical 1-v-1 cover abilities, so I’m sure he would have factored into the competition for spots on the close defense. The good news is that Riley Figueiras will be back in the mix this season, which should be a huge boost for the defense given his pedigree.
Brett Spallina is going to have to fight for playing time given how many close defenders are back from last year’s team (Nick Caccamo, Landon Clary, Caden Kol, Billy Dwan, Riley Figueiras, etc.), including all three starters.
Overall, I think the on-field impact of the freshman this season is going to be relatively minimal in terms of the number of players to see extended meaningful playing time. The rookie impact really all revolves around Trey Deere, especially with the injury to Donny Scott. Jake Spallina, Wyatt Hottle, and John Mullen are the other main candidates, in my estimation, and beyond that it’s tough to see for anybody else at the moment.
Of course, that’s really good news because it means the roster is loaded with veteran talent to lead the way.