Orange Watch: Change a theme for 2020 Syracuse lacrosse

Syracuse Duke Lacrosse
Syracuse lacrosse defends against Duke. Mandatory Photo Credit: The Juice Online, Initra Marilyn.

Item: the Syracuse lacrosse team faces fellow national power Denver in a Fall Ball scrimmage Saturday night at SUNY Cortland (7:30 p.m. ET), an early look at the returning five All American players, all-conference goalkeeper, and new faces on the field and coaching staff.

“May is earned in September.”  It’s one of the mottos the Syracuse lacrosse team follows as the players work out during the first month of fall, scrimmage against each other, bond and plan ahead to the regular season and the quest to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2013.

As the Orange gets ready to face the Pioneers, then host the annual alumni weekend on Oct. 19 at which time the 1989 National Championship squad will be celebrated, we take a look at many changes that will be on tap in 2020.

*New assistant coach:  After over 30 years of service to the program Kevin Donahue is stepping back to a volunteer consulting role, replaced by former Princeton offensive coordinator Pat March.  March will bring a breath of fresh air into the program with his reputation as an offensive mind.  March had Princeton’s offenses among the top 11 nationally the last three seasons.

*New players: John Desko, about to embark on his 22nd season, welcomes 17 newcomers, which include high school All Americans at every position on the field, in addition to a key transfer.  Sophomore attack Chase Scanlan (43 goals last year as a freshman at Loyola) was a second team All American for the Greyhounds, and personally helped end SU’s season a year ago with a couple of goals in the opening round NCAA Tournament game in Baltimore.  Scanlan will wear the famous No. 22 jersey, last worn by Jordan Evans in 2017.  He’s not a new player, but the return of midfielder Tucker Dordevic from a foot injury which cost him all of last season, is also a major offensive boost.

» Related: Syracuse lacrosse season ends with NCAA Tournament loss at Loyola

*Different schedule makeup: The schedule will be released in December, but with the Dome unavailable after March 1, the ‘Cuse will play four home games in February (think Army, Binghamton, Hobart and perhaps Colgate for a second straight year at home), then ACC games against North Carolina and Notre Dame at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in late March or early April.  Syracuse will make a first-ever visit to fellow upstate school Albany in April.  Replacements also have to be inserted for series against Rutgers and Navy which ended last spring.

*ACC Tournament; The format has been altered again this year.  Only the top four teams will play in the tournament (last year all five teams competed) and the semifinals and final will be held at the site of the No. 1 seeded team.

*New helmets:  As part of its renewal with apparel maker Nike this past summer, SU has switched from Liverpool-based Cascade/Maverick to STX helmets this season, both a blue and white model.  STX makes Nike-branded gear and has been a partner of SU lax supplying other equipment during most of Desko’s tenure.  The new helmets will be debuted versus Denver.

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 614 Articles
Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.