Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse men’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about Siena

Daily Orange File Photo

Matt Lane works on a Siena Saints defender in SU's blowout win last year. All seven of Siena’s top players in goals-scored return.

No. 6 Syracuse hosts Siena in the season-opener for the fourth consecutive year Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The last time SU took the field, it fell to Maryland in the NCAA tournament. Saturday, SU will be without two of its top four goal scorers from last season in Dylan Donahue and Derek DeJoe. This season, Syracuse boasts a brand new defensive trio, as two graduated and sophomore Nick Mellen was ruled out due to injury.

Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.

All-time series: Syracuse leads, 5-0

Last time they played: Syracuse jumped out to an early 10-0 start before Siena scored its first goal with under a minute remaining in the second quarter. The game remained out of hand, as SU took home an opening win 18-5. Then-goalie Warren Hill excelled in his first career start for Syracuse, allowing only two goals in three quarters. Donahue dominated, scoring four goals and adding five assists. Ten SU players scored at least one goal in the win.

The Siena report: The biggest threat the young Syracuse defensive line will face is junior Chris Robertson. He is the only player besides Jordan Barlow that played and started in all 13 games. Robertson led the team with 24 goals and 14 assists a year ago.

All seven of Siena’s top players in goals scored return to the team, including midfielder Brian Prunty. Despite starting only four games, the junior was second on the team with 18 goals. Prunty and Robertson will carry the offensive load.

At the X, two players took over 125 faceoffs each. Tyler Pantalone led the way, winning 48 percent while Hunter Sanna won 42.2 percent of faceoffs.

On the defensive end, senior Joe Arcarese, senior Ryan Ghaderi and junior Luke Van Schepen each returns and will likely start. The trio accounted for 46 percent of caused turnovers last season. Siena lost starting goalie Tommy Cordts to graduation and will presumably run with junior Aaron Lewis in net. Lewis appeared in five games, starting in one, giving up 21 goals in 107 minutes.

How Siena beats Syracuse: It’ll take a lot for the Saints to walk away victorious. The last three years, SU has won by 12 or more goals.

Robertson and Prunty will have to attack the young Syracuse defense. Nick Mellen, the only returning starter from the defensive line, is out and Brandon Mullins and Jay McDermott both graduated. Attacking an inexperienced line that includes Tyson Bomberry and Marcus Cunningham (14 appearances, three ground balls and two caused turnovers combined) is vital for the Saints.

Siena has a more experienced defensive line than SU, but the high-powered Orange offense will probably be too much for the Saints to handle.

Numbers to know:

12 — Over the past three years, Syracuse has beaten Siena by a margin of 12 goals or more

2 — Siena had only two road wins in 2016

5 — Syracuse lost five seniors to graduation, two of which anchored the team’s defense. The other three all finished inside the top six in goals.

Player to watch: Chris Robertson, No. 5

Robertson is the biggest threat to this young Syracuse defense. He led Siena in goals, assists and points last season. He went scoreless in the season-opener against Syracuse, getting only one shot off. For Siena to take home the win, Robertson needs to create a spark on offense like he did all last season.

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