Number four Syracuse opened its season Saturday with a convincing 21-7 home victory over Siena. Every game won’t be this easy, (SU plays eight top 20 teams this season) but with the Orange’s loaded roster it’s national title or bust for John Desko’s team.
It starts with faceoff man Ben Williams. The Holy Cross transfer won 17 of 20 faceoffs against Siena and looks to be a major improvement over Chris Daddio. In the opening fixture against Siena last year Daddio won just nine of 17 faceoffs and ended up being inconsistent all year. There’s a very small sample size, but it looks like the Orange have a legitimate FOGO this season in Williams.
The Orange added a faceoff man in the offseason, but did not need to make any additions to its attack. Kevin Rice, Randy Staats, and Dylan Donahue combined to score over 100 goals for Syracuse last year and they are all back. The trio combined for seven goals against Siena playing limited second half minutes.
Rice, Donahue and Staats will make the headlines, but Hakeem Lecky, Henry Schoonmaker and Nicky Galasso are also important weapons offensively. SU was fourth in the nation in total scoring offense last year and should improve on that ranking this season. Putting the ball in the net will never be an issue for the ‘Cuse; the team’s attack is loaded with talent.
Defensively Syracuse is solid as well with Brandon Mullins and Bobby Wardwell leading the way. Mullins was one of just six players to start all 16 games for Syracuse in 2014. Wardwell appeared in every game as well last year, but split time with now graduate assistant Dominic Lamolinara. He is the fulltime starter this season.
Syracuse has a complete team, something that could not be said last season. There are no excuses for not bringing home a 12th national championship.
Posted: Connor Morrissette