Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse is back in action tomorrow afternoon! The Orange begin 2023 with a home battle against Vermont. Gary Gait and company aim to right the ship after a 4-10 season one year ago, one of the worst in program history.
The Catamounts are a team that’s trending up and doing so at a rapid pace. Vermont has won the America East Conference in back-to-back years and won an NCAA Tournament game before falling to eventual national champion Maryland.
If Syracuse wants to top the Cats and every other opponent on its schedule, here are three players that will fuel this team’s success this season.
We have to start with #22. Spallina has all the accolades possible coming out of high school. The attacker was an All-American everywhere you look, the #1 recruit, one of the most prolific goal scorers ever…you get the point. Spallina needs to be dominant from game one. The Long Islander is the quarterback of this offense at the “x” position behind the cage.
The right-hander is a born goal scorer and can set others up to finish as well. Syracuse’s top recruit must be a difference-maker starting against Vermont for this team to compete this year. Syracuse did not have a true “x” player last season. The ‘Cuse has that this season with Spallina and that should completely revamp the offense.
Sticking in the offensive third, Hiltz needs to make his return trip a memorable one. The Canadian had a breakout season as a freshman before being sidelined all of last year. The third-year attacker has insane vision that has been raved out in preseason scrimmages and practices. In conjunction with Spallina, Hiltz has to be another guy that sparks offense for this team.
The lefty has a wicked fast shot, quick-twitch wrists, and a very high lacrosse IQ. The Orange need another big season out of the offensive weapon. Hiltz is especially important because he can stretch out a defense with his powerful shot from the wing and ability to make any pass on the field. The best players in any sport make those around them better and Hiltz has the potential to do that this season.
Syracuse’s goaltending play was not good last season, at all. The Orange were still trying to figure out who their starter was in late April when the 2022 campaign was basically over. Perhaps the ‘Cuse was deploying a two-goalie system but that clearly didn’t work because week after week opponents were just pouring in goals.
This year it is all about Will Mark. The Long Island University transfer was a hot commodity in the transfer portal. The net minder was voted Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year twice. The tendy is a big presence in goal and should immediately boost Syracuse’s defensive unit.
The Orange figure to need that boost to because they only return one defenseman with much experience in Nick Caccamo. The defense is apparently being “simplified” this year by Coach Pietramala but it’s probably going to take some time to really settle in. Mark needs to be a brick wall in the first couple transitional games early in the season.
Syracuse begins its 2023 season against Vermont in the JMA Dome at 1 p.m. on February 4th.