2014 was an up and down year for the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse lost its first three ACC games, compiling an overall record of 4-3. A 4-3 record with wins over #10 Albany and #2 Johns Hopkins is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but the overall picture looked a little different when factoring in the actual scores of the three losses: 8-16 loss to #7 Maryland, 12-17 loss at #4 Virginia, and 4-21 loss at #3 Duke.
As we now know, the Duke game was the tipping point. Following one of the most humiliating defeats in this storied program's history, a game in which the only thing more depressing than the weather was the on-field play of SU, the Orange ripped off six straight wins finishing 11-4 in the regular season. I genuinely thought Coach Desko deserved some recognition for bringing this team from the mental despondency of that 14 goal loss, and trust me it shouldn't have even been that close, to a win over Notre Dame the very next week and a 7-2 second half to the season.
Although that recognition never came last season, it now has arrived.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its Conference award winners this week, and the ACC has chosen to award Coach John Desko of Syracuse as the ACC Coach of the Year.
That's not all, however. The ACC presented senior attackman Kevin Rice with the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
Rice became the 16th member of the Syracuse 200 point club this past weekend, a club featuring names like: Powell, Gait, Marechek, and Leveille. What's really crazy about his point total is he had just three points his freshman year, playing in only six games. While Tim Nelson (271 career points) only played three years at Syracuse, no other players in the 200 point club played fewer than 10 games in a season and only one other player had a season in which he scored fewer than 23 points. Rice is also eighth in career assists at Syracuse with 114, and has scored seven points four times this season.
This is a huge honor considering all the firepower in this league.
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year went to Matt Landis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, not a huge surprise, while the ACC Freshman of the Year was taken home by Justin Guterding of the Duke Blue Devils.
The Orange will visit Colgate on Saturday at 3:30. The game can be seen on the CBS Sports Network and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.