Syracuse Lacrosse is five games into its 2023 season and the results have been mixed so far. The good is that the Orange (3-2, 0-1 ACC) are already one win away from matching their win total from 2022 (4-10, 1-5 ACC). On top of that, the ‘Cuse took down the back-to-back reigning America East champion in Vermont and earned some revenge in a blowout win over UAlbany.
The bad has been the last two games. Syracuse dropped a 15-12 decision to a ranked Maryland team on the road. The Terps won 23/30 face-offs in the win and rained in goals from the outside all day long. The Orange followed that up with a 19-13 loss to another ranked team in North Carolina. The Tar Heels won at the “x” and scored on countless exterior shots.
Beyond the two-game losing streak, to some excellent opponents no less, let’s dive into a more micro-perspective of this team with Joey Spallina. The #1 incoming recruit had expectations loftier than perhaps the clouds. There was a lot of talk on social media after his collegiate opener against the Catamounts. In that game, the Long Islander struggled with just one score on 15 shots.
Spallina has since followed that Saturday struggle with three excellent games and another solid one. The freshman poured in five goals in back-to-back games against Holy Cross and UAlbany. Okay, perhaps you would expect that from a guy of his caliber. How about the big boys? Well in SU’s last two outings, the attacker flashed perhaps one of the nastiest goals ever seen in lacrosse and then tallied 5 points against an ACC foe in UNC.
Through five games, Spallina leads the team in goals and points. Perhaps you’d hope that were the case for the quarterback of the Syracuse offense but still the production has to come and it definitely has. The Orange didn’t have a #22 last season and it was previously tainted as we all know. So it’s encouraging if nothing else to see a Syracuse player in the vaunted uniform experiencing success and early.
How does Spallina’s start stack up with others?
Joey Spallina (2023) – 20 points (15 goals / 5 assists) [thru 5 games as a frosh]
Chase Scanlan (2021) – 33 assists (24 goals / 9 assists) [9 games as a transfer]
Jordan Evans (2016) – 35 points (27 goals / 8 assists) [17 games in junior season]
JoJo Marasco (2010) – 17 points (9 goals / 8 assists) [10 games in frosh season]
Dan Hardy (2006) – 21 points (11 goals / 10 assists) [`15 games in frosh season]
We don’t need to make comparisons to the Powell’s brothers, Charlie Lockwood, or Gary Gait because they all stand alone from the rest of the #22’s above. Over the past two decades the number has kind of worn off with its meaning and prestige as you can see. Perhaps Spallina is the person who can restore its power.