Thursday night, Syracuse redshirt junior Tucker Dordevic and new head coach Gary Gait spoke to the media before beginning the first practice of the 2022 lacrosse season.
Here are three takeaways from the first look at the 2022 squad.
#1: Unity is key with new leadership
There is no question about the experience and veteran presence throughout the Orange lacrosse roster this season. It seems that one positive attribute with this year’s team is their ability to take on a team role. As past history indicates, a talented roster on paper is not all it takes to succeed.
Compared to previous years it is obvious this year’s team has bonded incredibly well even before the preseason kicks off. Before practice on Thursday, Dordevic attested to the closeness of the Orange this season.
“We spoke earlier today as a team and something that stuck out to us is how close this team is,” he said. “This is the closest team I have been on here(at Syracuse) and maybe in my life. That is also very exciting for the freshman coming in to learn from.”
In his first year switching over from the women’s to men’s lacrosse side at Syracuse, Gait seems to have already contributed to bringing this team together.
#2: Gary Gait’s seamless transition to men’s lacrosse head coach
Gait is in his first season as the men’s head coach after 15 years with the women’s team and has already made an impact following the transition.
Dordevic was quick to address how this year felt like a fresh start, especially considering the new face at head coach. Gait has all the experience necessary, having led the women’s team to eight Final Four. The change has been “seamless,” Gait said.
“I am still at Syracuse. I moved my office down the floor, so it’s a better exercise.”
Jokes aside, Gait’s comfort at Syracuse greatly benefits the program and their confidence going into the season. Gait has brought leadership and accountability for years, and it is not going anywhere with his new role.
#3: Syracuse defines themselves with tough schedule
As if the ACC was not talented enough, Syracuse added tough non conference games to create an intense regular season schedule. That includes a newly added matchup with Maryland on Feb. 20.
“I have always been one for in order to be the best you have to play the best,” Gait said. “If you are not in it to win it, then you should not be in it. That is every year. Championship teams come from how they come together.”
It is clear the confidence coaches and players within the program have in Syracuse’s ability to play for the ultimate goal this season. Adding a tough schedule only makes an already veteran poised team more dangerous.