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Syracuse Lacrosse: No. 11 finds a new home for 2018 with Austin Fusco

For the Syracuse defense, No. 11 is as big of an honor as the No. 22 is for the offense. Thursday, it was awarded a new home.

2013 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Syracuse v Duke Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Over the last few years there has been a lot of talk about the legendary No. 22 for the Syracuse Orange lacrosse team and to whom it should go to next, or whether it should go to anyone. Over that same time period, the No. 11 has developed into a prized number of its own for the defense. Last season Scott Firman wore the double one and this year it has been awarded to junior Austin Fusco.

Fusco played in all 16 games as a sophomore this past season with 32 groundballs and 8 caused turnovers. In his freshman year he played in 17 games with 28 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers.

Fusco is by far the best defensive player returning who played last season. However, Nick Mellen, who did not play in 2017 due to an injury, will also return with three years of eligibility remaining. Head-to-head, I think Mellen is the best player, assuming he comes back healthy. Fusco has already taken a redshirt year, and assuming he plays in 2018 and 2019, Mellen will still have one year of eligibility remaining when Fusco graduates. At that point the number will most likely be given to Mellen for the 2020 season.

Fusco played on a squad that gave up just 10 goals per game in 2017 and was a huge part of the success that Syracuse had defensively last season. I think he really deserves this honor but I have to think that the fact that Mellen will still have the opportunity to wear the number in 2020 came into play on this.