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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange add UNC’s Matt Wright from transfer portal

‘Cuse strikes again in the portal. This time, on defense.

Ireland v Canada - 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 World Championship - Quarter Final Photo By Tom Beary/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Apparently, Gary Gait and his staff are familiar with the concept of striking while the iron is hot.

Strike they did once again last Friday, the second consecutive day they landed a player from the transfer portal. This time, it was their first defensive addition of the offseason as they secured a commitment from former North Carolina LSM Matt Wright as a graduate transfer for the 2024 season, according to Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse.

Wright becomes the fourth player to commit to the Syracuse Orange for next season, all of whom have been announced within the last two weeks. The first three are all offensive players. It started with the formal announcementment that former Princeton midfielders Jake Stevens and Sam English will be changing shades of Orange for next season. This past Thursday, former Lehigh attacker Christian Mulé joined the party, followed just a day later by Wright. All four players are transferring in as graduate students.

Wright, a 6’1”, 190 pound Canadian native of Oakville, Ontario, is an alum of the Hill Academy (Ont.).

This past season, he played in all 14 games for the Tar Heels, finishing with 27 ground balls and nine caused turnovers. He also scored a goal (against SU, of course) and dished three assists on the offensive end. In 2022, he only played in 10 games, but finished with 27 GBs and 12 CTs.

His strongest statistical season was back in 2021, when he played in all 16 games and scooped 47 GBs and caused 13 turnovers. That season, he earned All-ACC and All-American honors. Last summer, he also competed for Team Canada at the 2022 World Lacrosse U21 World Championships.

It’s going to be very interesting to see exactly how Wright fits into the defensive plans for Dave Pietramala next season. He plays the same position, LSM, as the Orange’s most impactful defensive presence in Saam Olexo. So, does he become a depth piece to help complement Olexo, or will they move him down to close defense where the team needs more help? Or could he perhaps pick up a short-stick and utilize his athleticism to help the defensive midfield in that way?

Whatever the strategical decision, Wright’s addition means there’s going to be plenty of competition for playing time next season. Most of the defense from this year is set to return (as of now) with the addition of three new potentially impactful poles in Wright, injured freshman Riley Figueiras, and highly-ranked incoming freshman (also from the Hill Academy) Donny Scott.

Reinforcements are coming for the defense. Now, about that FOGO.

Welcome to Syracuse, Matt!