Item: It’s a rare rebuilding season for Syracuse lacrosse. Rebuilding in the sense that a new coaching staff is teaching and developing its talent day-by-day, finding the right mix of veterans and emerging underclassmen, while adjusting to some key players missing due to injuries. It’s also about preparing weekly for a tough schedule chock full of Top 11 ranked opponents.
Multi-hour bus rides home to central New York for the Syracuse lacrosse team certainly go by a lot faster after a road victory.
Following a week off from classes for spring break, last Saturday’s trip home from Long Island after vanquishing Stony Brook 14-9 had to fly by as Gary Gait and his staff mull the progress being made in year one of their tenure.
“We’re still working to get to that next level (playing consistently) to win some games,” Gait proclaimed after the Orange record went to 3-4 by playing a strong second half in the win over the unranked Seawolves. “We made a good step today, and it puts us in a good situation to get ready for next week.”
That’s when the ‘Cuse returns home Saturday for the first time in three weeks facing 11th ranked Duke (12:00 p.m. ET / ESPNU) in its second ACC game, the first of six games against ranked opponents among the seven contests left on the regular season schedule.
One noticeable aspect of the team’s third win was the defensive effort both in goal with Bobby Gavin recording 13 saves, and the unit in front of him limiting scoring opportunities.
“As the season’s progressed, we’ve really made it work with each other,” redshirt freshman Nick Caccamo said of his fellow defensive mates after he caused four turnovers for the second time in three games, and scooped up four ground balls against Stony Brook.
Caccamo is one of the developing standouts on a group that is improving game-by-game under the tutelage of coordinator Dave Pietramala.
“We’re getting used to playing (together),” Caccamo added. “A lot of that is coming from trusting each other. We’re really doing a better job working collectively, as opposed to individually.”
On the offensive end, snipers Tucker Dordevic on attack, and midfielder Brendon Curry combined for 14 points last weekend, and as captains and team leaders both have been just as prominent behind the scenes in keeping their teammates focused on bonding and improving.
“To be honest, we’re not really thinking about what anyone else thinks,” Dordevic said after a career-high nine points against Stony Brook, including a career-best six goals. “We have a really, really tight knit team. We kind of keep everything in house about how we feel and just focus on (what we do).”
With the regular season now halfway complete, catching fire over the second half of the campaign and finishing with a minimum 7-7 record to qualify for consideration to receive an at-large NCAA Tournament berth, are the goals still on the table for the improving Orange.