When Syracuse begins preparing for the 2012 season with spring practice in January, it can finally start rebuilding. The Orange will have a little more than a month to fill seven large holes before opening the season at home against Albany on Feb. 19.
The Orange lost seven talented seniors in May—none more important than goalie John Galloway. For the first time in four years, he won’t be the backbone of the Orange defense.
Galloway finished his career as the NCAA record-holder for wins (59) and minutes played (3,776). He helped the Orange to a 60-8 record during his four seasons. In 2011, Galloway recorded 147 saves, a .572 save percentage and broke his own school record with a 6.70 season goals-against average. He was named the nation’s best goalie for the second consecutive season by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
The Orange also graduated close defender John Lade, long-stick midfielder Joel White, midfielders Jeremy Thompson, Jovan Miller and Josh Amidon and attack Steven Keogh.
Syracuse will be young, but it’s still expected to be a force. The team was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in the 2012 Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook preseason coaches’ poll, is ranked No. 7 in the country and had three players selected as preseason All-Americans.
Junior defenseman Brian Megill earned second-team honors, redshirt attackman Tim Desko was named to the third team and junior attackman/midfielder JoJo Marasco received honorable mention.
The Orange opener against Albany is part of a tripleheader that also will feature Air Force versus Rutgers and Hobart versus Siena. Syracuse also hosts Army at home on Feb. 26.
March features the first of two three-game road trips. Syracuse visits defending champion Virginia on March 3, begins BIG EAST play at St. John’s on March 10 and takes on John Hopkins on March 17. The Orange finally return home to host Providence on March 21 and Villanova March 25.
The Orange start April with the Big City Classic in MetLife Stadium on April 1 against Duke. It then hosts Princeton on April 7 before visiting Cornell on April 10. Then, in a span of four days, it travels to Rutgers (April 14) and Hobart (April 17). Syracuse rounds out the regular season by hosting Georgetown on April 21 and travelling to Notre Dame on April 28.
Then, the top four teams in conference play advance to the inaugural BIG EAST championship, held May 3-5 at Villanova. The winner receives the conference’s automatic bid in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Syracuse hosts a pair of preseason scrimmages. Le Moyne and Hofstra visit on Feb. 5 for a three-way exhibition and the Orange welcome Maryland on Feb. 12 for a final tune-up.
The Orange finished the 2011 campaign 15-2 after a 6-5 overtime loss to the Terps in the NCAA quarterfinals. It marked the second straight year the team failed to reach the Final Four. In 2010, Syracuse was knocked out with a 9-8 double overtime loss to Army in the first round.