Thanks for the hard truth, Coach Boeheim. The Syracuse men’s lacrosse watch now begins in earnest, and there may be reason for hope.
The Orange were picked second in the ACC coaches preseason poll released earlier this week. The team earned two first-place votes and 22 points. Notre Dame was crowned as the favorite, garnering three first-place votes and 23 points. North Carolina, two-time defending champion Duke and Virginia rounded out the list.
Meanwhile, Inside Lacrosse recently tabbed the Orange as No. 4 in its Face-Off Yearbook preseason poll. All five ACC squads are ranked in the top 10.
Denver, a national semifinalist in 2014, is No. 1. Notre Dame, Duke, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins follow. North Carolina, Loyola, Cornell, Maryland and Virginia round out the top 10.
These preseason rankings, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt. The Orange are just as likely to finish at the top of the ACC as the bottom. In fact, the ACC coaches in particular might as well have thrown a dart to pick a league champion. It would’ve been just as likely to work as carefully evaluating each of the five teams.
An ACC team—as the conference is constructed currently—has won seven of the past 10 championships.
Yet there’s also good reason for the Orange’s high ranking. Inside Lacrosse named five Syracuse players to its preseason All-America team. Senior attack Kevin Rice and junior defender Brandon Mullins earned first-team honors. Senior attack Randy Staats was named to the second team. Senior defenseman Sean Young garnered third-team status, and senior midfielder Henry Schoonmaker got an honorable mention nod.
Syracuse’s five All-America selections tied Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame for the third-most of any team. Denver led the way with seven, while North Carolina had six.
The Orange also landed two preseason All-ACC team picks: Rice and Mullins.
Syracuse is returning one of the country’s best attack units, a deep midfield and a fairly experienced back line. If Desko can fill holes at faceoff and goalie, the Orange might just live up to the preseason rankings.
The lacrosse team hits the field in January for the start of spring practice. After the football season ended woefully before December, and Boeheim seems to have written off the 6-3 basketball team, I can’t wait.