ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra will be providing commentary on Saturday when UMASS meets Hofstra at 3:00 p.m. and Syracuse faces Rutgers at 5:30 p.m. in the ESPNU Warrior Classic. Carcaterra played as a Syracuse midfielder from 1994-1997, serving as the team’s captain and earning a spot on the all-American team. He was also a member of Syracuse’s 1995 NCAA championship team. We recently spoke to Carcaterra and got his take on the 2011 lacrosse season.
The Juice: What are the major trends you see in this lacrosse season so far?
Paul Carcaterra: I don’t recall a season where seven to eight teams legitimately have a shot at winning the title this late in the season. There’s years in the past where there are four or five teams have a stranglehold on college lacrosse. I feel like that’s not the case this year. There are a lot of quality teams. Parity is at an all-time high. Heading into the postseason, it’s going to be a very difficult path.
TJ: Do you see any dark horses in this field?
PC: In the preseason, I thought Stony Brook and Hofstra had the potential and capability to contend with the powers in college lacrosse. I still feel like those are two teams that could potentially make a run. But I don’t feel completely confident in that they’re not battle tested and their strength of schedule certainly doesn’t match up with some of the other teams in the top seven or eight.
TJ: What do you think about Syracuse?
PC: They’ve got great senior leadership. When you look at teams that make runs in any sport, it’s one of the factors if not the factor that puts you over the top. Seven All-Americans that are seniors that are returning from a year ago, and players on this team that have won two national titles, and their goalie is John Galloway, I feel that when push comes to shove in those tight games, Syracuse would certainly be favored in a contest that goes down to the wire. I just love John Galloway. I love the goalie position in college lacrosse. It’s like the quarterback in college football. When you have a goalie that’s battle tested the way Galloway is, and has a command of the game and focus and leadership to the game, it doesn’t get better than that. I still feel like they’re going to be in every game.
TJ: How can SU improve?
PC: I think their offense needs to develop. They’ve had some difficulty with teams that have thrown zone defenses. It’s kind of stymied any kind of flow they’ve had offensively. With that said, I think the last couple of weeks, they’ve started to turn that corner. They have the defense to win a championship and now the question is can they have consistent offensive production.
TJ: Who do you have going all the way?
PC: I still like Syracuse. That has nothing to do with me being a Syracuse alum. I do just because of all of those factors. With that said, I’m anticipating that their offense will come around. If their offense has played like it has in the last month, they will not win a national title. If they play like they’re capable of, there are some top level offensive players on that team, in that lineup, they can. It’s critical they find play-makers to get those guys the ball. They have goal scorers, they just need creators to get those guys the ball.