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LACROSSE PREVIEW 2010

HIGHER GROUND

In 2010, Syracuse will play in pursuit of a dynasty


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SYRACUSELACROSSE2010

3 13

The right path

Cody Jamieson weathered a tough road to Syracuse, and now he’s making the most of his time.

New feeling

Without Katie Rowan, SU needs to find a new offensive sparkplug.

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The call-up

Joel White will be charged to lead an inexperienced SU midfield in 2010.

Terror of the East Scott Rodgers looks to lead Notre Dame in the hunt for a Big East title.

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Seal of approval

Tim Desko hopes to break away from his family name and build an on-field legacy.

Wild, wild west

Bill Tierney moved from a Princeton icon to Denver’s great hope.

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Believe the hype

Freshman JoJo Marasco looks to fulfill legacy he’s created for himself.

Diamond:

Jeremy Thompson preaches cultural values over lacrosse.

jamie de pould | staff photographer

10 19

Lockdown

A look at Syracuse’s revamped defense after the departure of Sid Smith.

Staff predictions The Daily Orange’s lacrosse beat writers break down the upcoming season.

Cover photo: Andrew Burton, special projects editor

Special thanks to Sue Edson, Mike Morrison and Susie Mehringer of Syracuse Athletic Communications

CONTACT US Editor@dailyorange.com

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andrew burton | special projects editor

The game C of his life

ody Jamieson was 3 years old, hampered by a broken fibula. Yet, with a cast on his leg and a wooden lacrosse stick in his hand, Jamieson limped up and down the field. He attempted to play alongside his older brother in a box lacrosse game.

For Cody Jamieson, lacrosse is everything, which makes his journey that much more fulfilling By Rachel Stern STAFF WRITER

He puts the meaning of that episode this way: “Since early on, as long as I can remember, I have always loved the game of lacrosse,” Jamieson said. “Even now when I watch people play lacrosse, it gives me the itch to get out there, so it was just the same back then. I just get this itch, and I need to play.” As Jamieson and others recall it, this instance symbolized his abiding passion for the game. When Jamieson sees someone he hasn’t talked to in a long time, that is the story they bring up. Meet Cody Jamieson: 5-foot-9, 213-pound attack. Last year’s overtime hero. This year’s high-hope. After battling NCAA regulations and lifting Syracuse to its 11th national title last season, he’s back for another try. But for Jamieson, it’s more than wins and losses. Playing a game ingrained in him and his culture nearly his entire life, the sport means everything. It’s the reason he decided on Syracuse at age 7, the reason he battled academic setbacks to do something almost no one from his reservation could do. And now, he’s the one the Orange will count on during its drive for a third consecutive national championship. “Lacrosse means everything to me, actually,” Jamieson said. “Without

SEE JAMIESON PAGE 18

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Change of habit Joel White has been asked to adapt before, so stepping up to lead Syracuse’s midfield should come easy

By Brett LoGiurato Asst. Copy Editor

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ll his life, Joel White has been a scorer. The purest scorer his high school coach, John Spallone, has ever seen. He finished his career at Cortland High School as the school’s all-time scorer, with 11 goals in front of the next most prolific scorer — his brother, Steven. “He was the kind of guy that when you found him for an assist, he would convert that,” Spallone said. “He just knew how to score. He was an amazing offensive player here.” How ironic, then, that going into his junior year as a midfielder on the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team, White just might be the most important defensive player on the Orange roster. Following the loss of Matt Abbott, Dan Hardy and Pat Perritt to graduation, White will be charged with captaining the defensive unit while nursing a young midfield crowd whose development is key to the success of the Orange in 2010. Call it a juggling act. Transitions for White are abound, whether it’s defending the other team’s best offensive midfielder or stepping up his responsibilities as a leader. But this juggling act is nothing new to White. He’s a master of these sorts of things. And the many transitions in his life led to where he sits today — at the top of the Syracuse midfield depth chart. “I’m good with it,” White said. “I’ve always had to transition out of one thing and into another pretty quickly, so I guess I’m just used to it by now.” His first transition, upon arriving at Syracuse, was a surprising one. White was recruited to SU because of his offense. A

three-sport star at Cortland, focusing on one sport was a shift in itself. And in all of those three sports, he couldn’t be kept out of the scoring column. He left Cortland High as the school’s all-time leading scorer in soccer as well as lacrosse. He averaged 19.1 points per game in his senior basketball season. After all, it would’ve been crazy to recruit the most prolific scorer in a nearby high school’s history for defense. But then there was a logjam on the offensive side of the midfield. Seasoned veterans like Hardy, Perritt and Steven Brooks filled those spots, leaving no place for White initially. There was room on the defensive midfield, though. The Orange needed a longstick midfielder. And Syracuse defensive coordinator Lelan Rogers noticed some traits in White that could make him a good one. Rogers lives in Cortland and was able to see White play before he ever came to SU. He picked up on a few things that he thought might lead to an easy transition to the defensive side of the ball. First, he was an athlete. His background at Cortland High confirmed that. And he could run. “He’s got the ability to run, he’s got good stick skills and good game sense,” Rogers said. “Because of those things, Joel’s a guy you could pretty much put anywhere on the field.” That’s something Spallone is fond of saying as well. Great players can play anywhere on the field. And Spallone practiced that mantra on White in high school. A few times here and there, Spallone asked White to pick up a longpole when they were decimated because of injuries. “I remember a situation where we had a longstick middie in the (penalty) box, and we would just say to him, ‘Joel,

you go play there,’” Spallone said. “It was about that much preparation for him. Heck, I would’ve asked him to play goalie, that’s how good of an athlete he is. “That’s the thing about players like Joel, though. You can play great players anywhere on the field, and if they’re great, they’ll excel anywhere.” All that athleticism and will to learn led to a seamless transition from offense to defense. Rogers and SU head coach John Desko told him the situation — he could fight for playing time as part of the second or third line on the offensive side, or he could give the longpole a try. White chose the latter, wanting to get on the field and help his team anyway he could. Within two weeks, Desko knew he had a longstick midfielder for the next four years. “He tried it, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody adjust so quickly,” Desko said. “Within two weeks, it was like he’d had the 6-foot stick in his hands his whole life. The transition was extremely smooth.” And the move has paid off, to say the least. SU now has arguably the best longstick midfielder in the nation on its squad. White was named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse magazine and was honored with an AllBig East preseason selection as well. In White, the Orange has one position at midfield it never has to worry about. Time after time, White will shut down the opposing team’s best offensive midfielder. “Game in and game out, that’s what you expect from him,” Spallone said. “Joel will be the one on the best guys from Virginia, the best guys from Cornell.” And if there were any doubts about his move to the longpole position, White erased them with what was probably the single most important play in the Orange’s 2009 see next page

joel white by the numbers 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, Junior Defensive Midfield Hometown: Cortland, N.Y.

Inside Lacrosse Preseason First Team All-American 2010, Syracuse co-captain Year

2009 2008

luke mccomb | staff photographer joel white (11) will be one of Syracuse’s most experienced midfielders in 2010. Last year, as a sophomore, he played in 17 of SU’s 18 games, tallying five goals, three assists and 63 ground balls.

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FROM PREVIOUS PAGE season. The situation: SU was trailing Cornell in the title game, 9-8, mounting a comeback but running out of time. With 12 seconds left, White made the play that made Syracuse’s season, stripping Cornell’s Matt Moyer and getting the ball to Abbott, who found attack Kenny Nims for the gametying goal with four seconds remaining in regulation. “That was certainly a play of opportunity and hustle,” Rogers said. “It was just determination and hard work and being in the right place at the right time.” That transition from offense to defense has prepared him for his most important adaptation for the 2010 season — transitioning from being one of the guys to a leader — as the captain of two units.

“That’s the thing about players like Joel, though. You can play great players anywhere on the field, and if they’re great, they’ll excel anywhere.” John Spallone, Cortland (N.Y.) High School head coach On one hand, he will be leading a defense with the departure of Sid Smith, the vocal leader of the group last season. And on the other hand, he will be juggling the captaining of a young and untested midfield group. And he’s already picking it up with ease, thanks in part to some lessons from Smith. “One of the funny things Sid did with me when I was a freshman was he would push me with his stick toward the side I was supposed to go,” White said. “He can yell at you all you want, but you really have to listen to him. And if you don’t, he’d do it himself and he’d take you and push you where you needed to go. So I’ve started doing that to the younger guys in practice.” After all, it’s just another transition in a long line of them for White. From three sports to one sport. From offense to defense. And now, from teammate to captain. “It’s just another role I’m going to have to play,” White said. “But it’s nothing I can’t handle.” bplogiur@syr.edu

andrew burton | special projects editor

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A name of his own

andrew burton | special projects editor


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At Syracuse, Tim Desko looks to earn time on the field, while stepping out of his father’s shadow By Meredith Galante EDITOR IN CHIEF

feeling in the pit of his stomach seeing Syracuse down on the scoreboard. He said he remembers how calm his dad acted, relieving the rest of the squad with him. Still not much talk about how Tim can play better, Tim said. “I’m pretty fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my son, with the team, to see him every day in practice and in game situations,” John said. “Had he gone somewhere else, I’d be missing all that.” But Tim gravitates toward Cindy. He confides in her about life, about lacrosse. Cindy said she knows he needs an outlet and someone to vent to. An outlet who doesn’t decide if he gets to start or not. Tim visits home sometimes without John to see Cindy and his two teenage sisters and 11-year-old brother. The quiet, reserved Tim Desko that walks the halls of the Carrier Dome goes away when he is in his comfort zone. “When Tim walks in the house, chaos erupts,” Cindy said. “I don’t want to say chaos in a bad way — he’s a lively person. “He gets everyone going. He tackles his brother to the floor. The kids love to have him here.” On Tim’s birthday, Feb. 2, Cindy sent John to work with a cake for her son. Later that evening, Cindy took Tim out to dinner to celebrate. A true family celebration will have to wait. Lacrosse season is starting; scrimmages take up the weekends now. Cindy will be at every game to support her husband, and her son, regardless if Tim starts this season or not. “He does feel a little bit of pressure, but he chose what he’s doing,” Cindy said. “He chooses to play lacrosse. And I think he’s doing really, really well.” mkgalant@syr.edu

Like father, like son PLAYING CAREER: 1976-1979

PLAYING CAREER: 2009-CURRENT

DEFENSEMAN

SOPHOMORE ATTACK

Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.

Hometown: Camillus, N.Y.

CAREER STATISTICS

CAREER STATISTICS

238 career goals

YEAR

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS • Named an All-American as a defenseman in 1979 • Led the Orange to its first ever playoff berth in 1979 with a 10-5 record • Captained the Orange during the 1978 and 1979 seasons • Held opponents to 104 goals as defenseman, the lowest in eight years

daily orange file photo

TIM DESK0

Cindy says she taught Tim to play lacrosse. Tim’s father, John, couldn’t coach his youth teams. Dad was busy. So Tim threw the ball back to his mother. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, until the day his father could coach him. For Tim Desko, it was Syracuse. It was always Syracuse. His SU obsession grew with age. He idolized players like SU goalie Matt Palumb, calling his lacrosse stick a “Matt Stick.” He slept in an orange and blue room. He traveled to every final four Syracuse played in during the ‘90s, cheering for the team while sitting next to Cindy. He yearned for the chance to wear Orange. He waited for his father to coach him. “I dreamed of it,” Tim said of playing at Syracuse. “I guess it luckily turned out to be true.” John Desko’s legacy reigns over Syracuse. He was busy coaching a lacrosse program to 11 national championships — six as an assistant coach, five as head coach. Finally, though, he and Tim won a championship title together last season. This year, Tim continues to play for the Orange and his dad, while making a name for himself: Tim Desko, Syracuse attack. Cindy Desko reminds her son he chose this whenever he is having a hard day, feeling the ramifications of having the name “Desko” on his lacrosse gear. As Tim tries to rise through the ranks on the roster, his name follows him. John Lade, SU defenseman and Tim’s roommate, recalls guys on the team heckling Tim, “We’re going to tell your daddy” when the players were fooling around. “I think he just has to work harder because of his name,” Lade said of his roommate. “He feels he has to work maybe a little harder to uphold his name. It’s a great honor and privilege to get to play here and for his dad. But he is handling it well.” Cindy said Tim has known his father’s legacy, his family’s lacrosse legacy, all of his young life. But now that Tim is at Syracuse, he has a chance to make a name for himself. “John Desko is a big name in Syracuse,” Cindy said. “Tim, he’s scrutinized more than other kids. Tim wanted to go to SU. It was his decision. … It’s hard to play for your dad. If someone makes a comment, you have to be tough. But he grew up with the Desko family name, so he is tough.” Last season, Tim, a redshirt sophomore, played in the shadow of Kenny Nims, the title game’s Most Outstanding Player. Nims graduated, but now junior college transfer and title game hero Cody Jamieson commands the spotlight. Chris Daniello and Stephen Keogh are returning to the starting lineup, giving Tim plenty of competition to fill Nims’ spot. Last year, Tim served as Nims’ five-minute break and scored 13 goals. But Tim wants more this year. More playing time and more results. Cindy watched her son work during the offseason. Longer runs. More trips to the weight room. John won’t let

their paternal relationship affect his coaching decisions. Tim tallied nine points in the fi rst scrimmage of the 2009 season, a double-header with Le Moyne and Hofstra. After his all-star debut performance, Dad didn’t approach his son. “He’ll probably just tell me to keep working harder,” Tim said Jan. 29, 2009 after the win. “He’ll never say anything positive.” John expects the same this season as last year from Tim. “I think he will play a similar role to last year as he did in man-up situations,” John said. “I think he does have the ability to feed and shoot, but no one does it as well right now as Kenny (Nims) did.” John doesn’t preach technical lacrosse tips at home, Tim said. Tim will improve on the field, during practice with John overseeing. “I’ll do whatever they want to do for the team,” Tim said. “Last year I went in there with a positive attitude to try to prove myself. I think I did well. I’m trying to do that this year, only a little better.” Lacrosse and the Desko family are synonymous. All four Desko children play lacrosse. The basement hosts a shrine to Orange lacrosse with posters of almost every team John has coached. Plaques commemorating John’s success at SU don the walls. Tim’s personal accolades hang in his campus apartment, separate from John’s awards. At home, John is the father, not the coach. “They do try to keep it separate,” Cindy said. “And that’s probably a good thing. They are father and son. And Tim needs that. He doesn’t need John to be his coach at home.” Over the summer, Tim and John reminisced about the 2009 season a bit. How crazy the last five minutes of the championship game were. Tim said he remembers the bad

JOHN DESKO

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indy threw the lacrosse ball with her young son in their front yard. Her son Tim — like all the other children growing up near West Genesee High School in Camillus, N.Y. — loved lacrosse. He loved it since he was 2.

2009

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CAREER HIGHLIGHTS • Played in all 18 games as a freshman • Made six starts • Scored 13 goals for the Orange • In high school helped West Genesee High School (Camillus, N.Y.) to a 41-6 record • Won two Section II titles and two state runner-up finishes as a high schooler

will halsey | staff photographer

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andrew burton | special projects editor

TRIPLE THREAT

In three of the last four years, Syracuse has secured one blue-chip recruit from the fi vemile radius separating the neighboring towns of Somers, Cross River and Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, N.Y. The players — senior attack Chris Daniello, sophomore midfielder Kevin Drew and freshman midfielder JoJo Marasco — will each play an important role for SU if they are to repeat as national champions. Daniello starts and is the second-leading returning scorer for Syracuse. Drew will see increased playing time following a solid freshman season where he played in all 18 games. The newcomer Marasco will undoubtedly see a huge portion of playing time, as he will immediately bring speed and an ability to change direction quickly to the SU offense. YEAR RECRUITED

2009 2008 2006

PLAYER

JoJo Marasco Kevin Drew Chris Daniello

POSITION

Midfield Midfield Attack

HOMETOWN

HIGH SCHOOL

Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Somers Katonah, N.Y. John Jay-Cross River Cross River, N.Y. John Jay-Cross River


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Catch-22 Denied SU lacrosse’s most historic number, JoJo Marasco looks to carve out his own legacy

By Conor Orr sports editor

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hey all came for JoJo Marasco that first week of practice. The cheap shots levied by his future teammates weren’t the kind normally rendered on hotshot freshmen. Then again, not all freshmen pushed the envelope like Marasco. Some of his teammates thought he was cocky. They thought that he had no respect for tradition. They all wanted a piece of him. “Guys really came after me,” Marasco said. “It was a big thing, but I was ready for it. I was prepared.” According to the book of Syracuse lacrosse, Marasco was a heretic. He had asked to don the sacred No. 22 without playing a single game. He wanted the grandeur over All-Americans, overtime heroes and two-time national champions. He thought he was ready. But understand this: Wearing No. 22 is the equivalent of asking opposing defenders for a kick in the teeth. Wearing No. 22 is like telling everyone in the stands you’re the best goddamn player on the field, and you know it. Wearing No. 22 means you’ve willingly agreed to carry on the legacy of the sport’s most prestigious fraternity. And asking for it, without playing in a single game? “Everyone out there knows it’s the biggest number out there, especially at Syracuse,” Marasco said. “And I thought I could have been able to hold it.” That’s Marasco. Coated in a quiet confidence, he arrived on campus and right into the mix as both an attack and a midfielder. At media day, his head coach labeled him the stud freshman, the guy who can come in right away and fill some much needed vacancies in the offense. For Marasco, he wouldn’t have it any other way. With his first official game Friday, he’s looking to

come out with a bang. Looking to begin fulfilling the legacy he willingly carved out for himself. “Some people consider him cocky, but he considers it confidence,” said Lew Janavey, Marasco’s high school coach. “You consider that cocky when great athletes act like that, but others consider it confidence when you have the ability to trust yourself, when you want to be the man in crunch time and not be afraid to fail. And those are the ingredients that make great athletes.” Is it blasphemous to think that Marasco should have worn No. 22 heading into this season? Would it stir up the legends of Syracuse lacrosse to suggest he might be the next chosen one? If you ask Janavey, he’ll say no. See, Marasco comes from a pedigree. The same kind Janavey has seen before, working and coaching in the talent-rich Westchester gold mine. Schools like John Jay, Lakeland/Panas and Yorktown — each of which neighbor Marasco’s hometown of Yorktown Heights — spit out prodigy after prodigy. And just like the Syracuse All-Americans Sean Lindsay and Paul Carcaterra before him, Marasco was created in that mold, thrown into the fury that is Lower Hudson Valley lacrosse and forced to perform at the highest level. Marasco was brought onto varsity at Somers High School in the eighth grade. At 5 feet 6 inches and 130 pounds, he was forced to perform above his size, to mark players getting looks from Division I schools and to beat his brother Matt — now a junior defenseman at Army. “Back in the day we used to battle in practice,” Marasco said. “It got so bad they ended up not letting us go against each other. Maybe one time he’d stop me, maybe one time I’d score on him and then a little trash talking. Then the coaches just kind of gave up on it and said they couldn’t let it happen anymore.” By the end of it all, he captained the upstart Tuskers to a sectional championship and the state quarterfinals his senior

year. In every game he was the target of another defense’s game plan, required to ride his way out of double and triple teams and elevate his teammates’ level of play. He became known for his breakneck speed, finishing ability and knack for distributing the ball. He was on the path, and Janavey knew it. “With all this Internet stuff and magazines, you can’t fool people anymore, and people knew coming out he was like the eighth-ranked player at his position in the country or something like that,” Janavey said. “You know, everyone in our area knew about him through the Empire State Games and all the summer leagues he played for. So it wasn’t a secret how good he was.”

world, asking to wear the same number as Casey and Ryan Powell. To put on the same jersey as Chris Baduini, Charlie Lockwood and Gary Gait. But to Syracuse head coach John Desko, it wasn’t an act of lacrosse impiety. It was exactly what he was looking for. The whole point of wearing the most storied number in school history is that you have to want it. You have to believe you’re the best. Otherwise, nobody else will. “At Syracuse you have to have someone that has confidence in their level of ability or else they wouldn’t be here,” Desko said. “And we like seeing that, it was the confidence we like to see in the players.” After that first week of practice, Marasco had his teammates’ respect. He was already finding his way to the cage against

“Everyone out there knows it’s the biggest number out there, especially at Syracuse. And I thought I could have been able to hold it.” JoJo Marasco, SU midfielder Next came college. At first, he had his mind set on Ohio State. What could be better than waltzing in at an emerging program and starting right away? Forget about No. 22, the tradition. People would be wearing his number when he was finished. With the decision to play in Columbus, though, Janavey could sense Marasco was selling himself short. Hell, if Lindsay, Carcaterra and those guys were able to do it, why not Marasco? The Syracuse lacrosse fraternity was reserved for guys that had his credentials. And after former Buckeyes head coach Joe Breschi skated the program in 2008 to coach at his alma mater North Carolina, the deal was sealed. Call it a leap of faith. Then, Marasco shook the lacrosse

one of the nation’s best close defenses. He admitted it was a lot like being in eighth grade at Somers again. Knowing how that turned out, he was right to have a good feeling heading into the regular season. “I believe in JoJo, and I think JoJo knows we believe in him,” junior midfielder Jovan Miller said. “He’s up to that challenge.” And if that day comes, when he’s asked to pilot the Orange, to wear the most storied number in program history, he’ll be ready. Though, by then, some around him think he won’t want to give up the jersey he has now. It’ll already be one to envy. “I think we both came to the conclusion that it wasn’t really a big deal,” Janavey said. “For him, he kind of wants to establish himself with his own number — No. 1.” ctorr@syr.edu


6-4, 225 pounds, senior As a junior in 2009, his first season as a starting close defender, Tierney was a key component in helping the Orange to its second consecutive national title. Tierney appeared to play his best when facing top-tier competition. The Montclair, N.J., native picked up a career-best three ground balls against both Virginia and Cornell and, in an NCAA quarterfinal matchup against Maryland, he helped hold the Terps’ starting attack to zero goals in an 11-6 win. Tierney was named to the Nike/ Inside Lacrosse Team of the Week on May 19 for his performance during that game. Now a senior, Tierney enters the season as an Inside Lacrosse preseason honorable mention All-American. After starting all 18 games as a junior, contributing to one of the top defensive units in the nation, Tierney is the most experienced of SU’s close defenders. He’ll be looked at to provide leadership and stability to a defensive unit that will likely miss Sid Smith, a USILA second team AllAmerican in 2009.

MATT TIERNEY

5-11, 190 pounds, junior In only his first year after transferring from Villanova, Lade teamed with Sid Smith and Matt Tierney to form one of best close defensive units in program history. The trio set a school postseason record in 2009, allowing just 6.5 points per contest on the way to winning a second consecutive national title. Lade was only a sophomore. Prior to his transfer to Syracuse, the Randolph, N.J., native won a gold medal as part of the U.S. Under-19 Team at the International Lacrosse Federation World Championship during the summer of 2008. The junior enters this season as one of Syracuse’s unquestioned leaders. An Inside Lacrosse preseason second team All-American, Lade started every game for the Orange last season, finishing third on the team and first among all close defenders with 53 ground balls. Aside from his experience, Lade brings speed, agility and athleticism to the field. Coach John Desko will look to the combination of Lade and Tierney to form the backbone of the SU defense this season.

JOHN LADE

6-4, 200 pounds, senior After seeing action in a reserve role in each of his first three years on campus, Conlin is arguably the front-runner to replace Sid Smith as the third close defenseman in the starting lineup. As a junior in 2009, Conlin saw action in 13 games, contributing to a defensive unit that ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense with a 7.38 goals-against average, the lowest mark for a Syracuse squad since 1970. But the native of Bloomfield, Mich., will have some big shoes to fill if he ends up replacing Smith as a starter. Conlin’s combination of experience, size and athleticism makes it diffi cult for opposing teams around the crease and would help give the Orange one of its most experienced units heading into the season.

BRANDON CONLIN

6-2, 196 pounds, senior Contributing in all 18 games in a reserve role at defensive midfield a year ago, Hlawati is expected play a major role on the Syracuse defense in 2010. His presence adds additional depth, experience and leadership to an SU defensive squad that will look to integrate several youngsters into the mix. Now a senior, the Dublin, Ohio native looks like a lock to start alongside All-American Joel White in the defensive midfield. Like Tierney, Lade and Conlin, Hlawati brings familiarity to a defensive unit that has relied heavily on chemistry and communication to achieve success in the past. In addition, Hlawati’s combination of size, skills and physicality should help the Orange to have continued success on the defensive end of the field once again this season.

TYLER HLAWATI

matt ziegler | staff photographer

aljohn@syr.edu

of the question initially, Syracuse should have more than enough young talent at its disposal. For Tierney, it’s a matter of when, not if, the group is able to form the same type of chemistry it had last season. “Replacing Sid will be tough,” Tierney said. “But we have a solid group returning with experience of playing all the way through May. We have a group of underclassmen that are strong and can fill the void, and everybody is fitting well together as a unit. “It’s just a matter of fitting those guys into new roles now that some of our other guys have graduated.”

andrew burton | special projects editor

one of the best defensive units in the nation in 2009. The unit allowed just 6.5 goals per contest during the postseason, while serving as the backbone of SU’s second consecutive national title. Smith was the glue that kept that unit together. But for the Orange defense to pick up where it left off last season, it will need to find an adequate replacement for Smith. Of the candidates, Brandon Conlin and Thomas Guadagnolo are the most likely to join the starting lineup. Both played in reserve roles last season yet are experienced enough with the system to step right in and make a difference. So while replacing Smith might be out

mackenzie reiss | staff photographer

during his two years on campus. Now, in the wake of Smith’s departure, Syracuse will rely heavily upon the experience of returning starters Matt Tierney and John Lade, who, like Smith, started every game at the close defensive positions a year ago. In addition, the Orange must find someone to replace Smith’s production and leadership on the field. “We can’t replace Sid, but we do return everyone else who played a key factor on the defense last year,” Lade said. “So all we’ve got to do is fill that third spot. We’ve got a lot of guys fighting for the spot, so overall I think the defense is in pretty good shape right now.” The trio of Smith, Lade and Tierney forged

luke mccomb | staff photographer

the ball away from the Big Red’s Ryan Hurley and rifled the ball upfield. Moments later, the Orange found the back of the net. Game over. For the 2009 national champions, defense was a staple of their success. During the regular season, the Orange ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 7.38 goals per contest. That was the lowest mark for an SU squad since 1970. Smith, named a USILA Second Team All-American honoree, departed following a career that culminated with two national championships in two years after transferring to SU from Onondaga Community College. He started every game for the Orange

matt ziegler | staff photographer

yracuse needed to make a play to finally put it away. After toughing it out in front of a nationally televised audience and the 41,935 fans in attendance, the Orange was just an overtime period away from winning its second consecutive national title against Cornell on May 25. And in sudden death with the score knotted at nine, Syracuse couldn’t afford to let the Big Red find the back of the net. That’s when the Syracuse defense pounced — showing the world exactly what it had been doing to its opponents all season long. On Cornell’s first and only possession of the overtime period, SU defender Sid Smith wrestled

S

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR

By Andrew L. John

Despite losing anchor Sid Smith, Syracuse’s defense looks to reload, continue success in 2010 campaign

SPORTS@ DA ILYOR A NGE.COM

THEHITSQUAD

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MEN’S LACROSSE SCHEDULE 2010 DENVER

ALBANY

ARMY

VS. PRINCETON

@VIRGINIA

@CORNELL

GEORGETOWN

@RUTGERS

@JOHNS HOPKINS

PROVIDENCE

@HOBART

@NOTRE DAME

VILLANOVA

@ST. JOHN’S

Feb. 19, 7 p.m. Carrier Dome

Feb. 28, 5 p.m. Carrier Dome

March 7, 1 p.m. Charlottesville, Va.

March 13, 2 p.m. Carrier Dome

March 20, 8 p.m. Baltimore, Md.

March 23, 7 p.m. Geneva, N.Y.

March 29, 3 p.m. Carrier Dome

April 3, 4 p.m. Carrier Dome

April 10, 6:30 p.m. East Rutherford, N.J.

April 13, 7 p.m. Ithaca, N.Y.

April 18, 6 p.m. Piscataway, N.J.

April 24, 2 p.m. Carrier Dome

May 1, 7 p.m. South Bend, Ind.

May 8, 1 p.m. Queens, N.Y.


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“We are looking to surprise people this year and really develop and utilize our young players, who I think are the future of this program.” Gary Gait, SU head coach

a.j. maclean | staff photographer

Without a face After losing the program’s all-time leading scorer, SU enters 2010 in search of new offensive weapon By Jen McCaffrey STAFF WRITER

L

ast August, a new-look offense for the women’s lacrosse team took the turf at the Carrier Dome during preseason practice. Gone was Katie Rowan, the All-American attack who ranks first in Orange history in points (284), goals (178) and assists (106). In her place were a host of freshmen with no Division I experience.

Yet six months later, the team has molded its offense and its team into a credible Big East preseason threat, enough to attain a No. 6 national ranking from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association preseason poll. “This year there were a lot of freshmen,” senior midfielder Halley Quillinan said. “Watching them come in from August until now and seeing how much they’ve grown, it’s really incredible.” With Rowan now on the sidelines as a volunteer coach, Quillinan and fellow senior midfielder Christina Dove will lead the young offensive charge this season. The pair combined for 104 of the team’s 279 goals last season, leading the Orange to its third consecutive trip to the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to Maryland in the second round. “They are going to provide the senior leadership and the experience on the offensive end of the field,” third-year head coach Gary Gait said. “We’ll look to them to take control and take charge and slow it down when it needs to be slowed down and execute plays when we need to execute a play.” Last season the team’s offense led the Big East with 7.6 assists per game and placed second in the conference with 14.7 goals per game on 32.2 shots per game. Among the freshmen Gait will look to start on offense is attack Michelle Tumolo from Mullica Hill, N.J. Tumolo was named to the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic Girls North team, which honors the nation’s top high school senior male and female lacrosse players. Tumolo notched 65 goals and 41 assists in her senior year at Clearview Regional High School. “She has really hit the ground running,” Quillinan

said. “She’s very impressive on the offensive end. She’s got a strong stick. She’s a great lefty and sees the field really well.” Tumolo will play low attack alongside junior Tee Ladouceur, who scored 19 goals and 15 assists in 18 games off the bench last season for the Orange. The Tumolo and Ladouceur combination will be particularly important, as Quillinan has changed positions on offense. She will be arguably the most vital part of the Orange midfield after switching from attack last season, where she scored 45 goals. Quillinan has switched between midfield and attack every year since she was a freshman but prefers her current position at midfield alongside Dove. “It’s a more natural position for me,” Quillinan said. “I like playing defense, I like causing turnovers, I like the transition game, so I’m really excited.” Gait also noted the potential of Dove’s future replacement, freshman midfielder Bridget Daley from Schenectady, N.Y. Daley was selected as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American from the Adirondack Region in her senior season last year. “She’s got great endurance and great speed,” he said “She’s fine-tuning her offensive skills a little bit, but she’ll certainly be in there and have an impact.” Jackie DePetris, Lindsay Connell, and freshmen Taylor Nims and Tegan Brown will round out the offense for Syracuse. Brown, from Perth, Australia, was a member of Australia’s 2009 Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup team, which lost to the United States in the finals last June. She scored six goals in seven games for the Aussies. “She will be huge on the midfield for us, and she’s got World Cup experience,” Gait said. “We will look to her to really transition the ball and be a threat from the outside.” Though Syracuse will not benefit from Rowan’s attack on the field this season, her experience from the sidelines as a volunteer coach will be valuable to Gait and his staff. Gait plans for Rowan to call offensive plays, hoping she can provide a different kind of insight to her former teammates while at the same time getting coaching experience.

Rowan will also work with the freshmen to provide quality depth from the bench, something the Orange has been lacking in previous seasons. “We’ll take advantage of that,” Gait said. “We’re trying to put some different people in for some different formations and different offenses and trying to keep everybody rested, healthy and fresh so that we can go full speed all the time.” Depth will be a key factor if the team is to make a run for the Big East title and the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The Orange has advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the tournament every year since 2007. If the No. 6 ranking in the preseason polls is any indication of how opposing coaches view Syracuse, the team may be in good shape, whether Rowan is on the field or on the sideline. But if Syracuse is to take the next step as a program, past the quarterfinal wall that it has yet to break through, someone will need to step up. It remains to be seen whether that player will be a veteran or a newcomer. One thing remains certain, though. Gait and Rowan will have a bevy of players at their disposal. Now the only question is who will it be? Who will make the most of the opportunity? Who will be the next Katie Rowan? Said Gait: “We are looking to surprise people this year and really develop and utilize our young players, who I think are the future of this program.” jcmccaff@syr.edu

THE NEXT ROWAN?

Despite the departure of four of six offensive starters — including leading scorer Katie Rowan — Syracuse returns two of its top three scorers from a year ago. Senior midfielder Christina Dove was second for the Orange in scoring (59 goals) and senior attack Halley Quillinan was third, with 45 goals. The pair will lead SU’s offensive attack in 2010.

2009 SEASON STATISTICS PLAYER

C. Dove H. Quillinan

G-S

19-19 19-19

G

59 45

A

21 7

PTS

80 52

SH

116 117

SHOT%

.509 .385

SOG

92 80

SOG%

.793 .684


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The beast WITHIN Scott Rodgers’ workhorse mentality leads Irish in race for Big East championship By Tony Olivero

Asst. Sports Editor

illustration by molly snee | art director

A

s Scott Rodgers’ best friend, Nick Tintle has experienced it all. He’s been there for everything. He was there that eighth-grade Halloween Rodgers spent sprinting around the MacArthur High School track. He was also always just a text message away last year throughout Rodger’s explosion onto the national lacrosse scene as the No.1 goalie in the nation. But still, as Tintle thinks back to that summer day during their high school years, he knows. Despite all of the outlandish things he had seen from his best friend, he wasn’t ready for this. Admittedly, Tintle was a little hungover. Just hours after he had spent the night out in his hometown of Levittown, N.Y., the future North Carolina lacrosse star was making his customary appearance at the Rodgers household. It was Tintle’s second home. Bridget Rodgers and Scott Sr. treated him like a son. That morning Tintle was merely hoping to go about the normal workout routine in the Rodgers’ basement –– Scott Sr.’s makeshift weight room. But he will never forget the sight that greeted him. Inside the basement on Twin Lane in Wantagh, N.Y., were Scott and Scott Sr. With his father on his back, Scott stood there. Scott Sr. was mounted on top of his son, like a jockey on a horse, holding plates in each of his hands. It was just another day in the Rodgers house. And today, Scott needed to do some calf raises. “One morning I come over there, and he is doing squats with his dad on his back,” Tintle said. “I come in and Mr. Rodgers is on Scotty’s back!” But in Rodgers’ mind, this was normal. It was simply a session in the weight room. “I didn’t have a calf raise machine, so my dad would jump on my back for sets of 20,” Rodgers said. “So Nick walked in and I’m doing calf raises with my dad on my back, and he was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And I was like, ‘Just doing work, man.’” To say Scott Rodgers is an animal in the weight room would be doing the Notre Dame goalkeeper a grave injustice. Over the course of his last five years, Rodgers has instilled into the Fighting Irish lacrosse program a blue-collar attitude. It’s a mentality the Fighting Irish are hoping will propel them to the first-ever Big East lacrosse championship. And it’s all because Rodgers is a caliber of athlete Notre Dame has rarely seen before. The 6-foot-4, 254-pound goalie is the clos-

est thing to the Hulk you will find in college lacrosse. He is a high-octane athlete in the weight room. On the field, he’s always riding his emotions. His size hasn’t held him back, as last year he sported the nation’s best save percentage (66.3 percent). The fifth-year senior led Notre Dame to an undefeated 15-0 regular-season record as a junior in 2009, while tallying 187 saves and a 6.14 goals against average. On the field, Rodgers’ strength in the weight room is coupled by a lightning-fast set of hands. He is a position goalie in the mold of former NCAA All-American Brian Dougherty. At the same time, however, he has fused his Brian Urlacher-esque frame with that natural hand speed to become an avant-garde goalie the likes of which collegiate lacrosse has never seen before. But if you really want to get to know Rodgers, you have to get past the skills and the stats. You have to seek out the people who shaped him. Perhaps Bill Farney, the high school teacher who failed to open the weight room door for Rodgers the morning after Rodgers was in a car accident. Or Joey Kemp, the All-American Fighting Irish goalkeeper who manned the Irish net before Rodgers. But there is no one better to ask than Scott Sr. “He’s obsessed with it,” Scott Sr. said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s funny. The weights have kept him through everything.” Heading into the 2010 season, Rodgers has grown to become the premier goalkeeper in the country thanks to the Tintles, Farneys and Kemps of the world. However it all starts with his father.

A ‘little field trip’ Scott Rodgers has been to Rikers Island twice. Rodgers’ father — a member of the prison’s riot squad — voluntarily brought his son with him to work. Thirty-one miles from their home in the middle-class town of Wantagh, N.Y., Scott Sr., a former Marine, wanted to show his son what it was like for the people he worked with every day. Rodgers saw the inmates. He saw what it was like on the inside for the prisoners. Despite the differences between his suburban Long Island home and the most notorious prison this side of Alcatraz, Scott identified with the inmates when it came to one thing. He saw in them something he saw in himself a passion for working out. They improvised as well. Whatever they

could grab ahold of they would use in their workouts. Even if it meant endless hours of pullups on nothing more than a straight bar. “I showed him the inmates working out,” Scott Sr. said. “It’s not about having a nice weight room. The inmates are so driven. They’ll work out all day and become huge. I took him on a little field trip.” Through the two “field trips,” Scott began to piece together what it would take to be the best. That’s where the work ethic found its roots. From there on out, Scott and Scott Sr. were a tandem. The father and son were always together. It’s a relationship that endures to this day, as Scott Sr. — who since has retired from Rikers and currently works as a heavy equipment operator — has never missed a Notre Dame game with his son on the depth chart. Not one. He’s been there for all 63, even though his son didn’t start in his first three years on campus. When Scott thinks back, the relationship was perhaps never displayed better than on that Halloween when he was in eighth grade. While his friends were gallivanting around town, going house to house trick-or-treating and spraying shaving cream in mailboxes, Scott was at MacArthur High School, running laps on the track. It may have been Oct. 31, but Pee Wee football weigh-ins were Nov. 1. Scott wasn’t having any candy this Halloween. “You had to be under a certain weight to play, so I guess I kind of crushed his holiday,” Scott Sr. said. “My friends were teasing me as I was running the track as an eighth-grader,” Rodgers said. “But I knew he was tough on me for a reason. We shoot the shit together now.”

‘Steak’ Bill Farney — the high school teacher who would open MacArthur High School’s weight room for Rodgers at 5:30 a.m. every day — assumed he had a morning off. The night before, Rodgers was a passenger in a car accident. Word had reached Farney quickly thereafter. With the news in mind, Farney didn’t bother opening the weight room that morning. There was no reason to. No one was going to be there. Several periods into his day as a summer school teacher, Farney met up with Rodgers. Rodgers had a question for him “Where were you this morning?” Rodgers

said. “Where was I?” Farney asked in shock. “You went to the weight room?” “Yeah,” Rodgers said. Despite the fact that he had gotten out of the hospital at 12:30 a.m. the night before, Rodgers couldn’t miss a day in the weight room. “I never expected him to be there,” Farney said. “So I had to go open it up for him after school was over.” One year after the car accident as a freshman in 2005, Rodgers was finally able to bring that “never miss a day” attitude to Notre Dame lacrosse. Joey Kemp vividly remembers that day. At first, Kemp, who is now a member of Major League Lacrosse’s Chicago Machine, thought Rodgers was a football player. How could he not be? “I actually thought he was a freshman football player, to tell you the truth,” Kemp said. “I kind of put two and two together with his haircut and everything, his thick accent. He is probably Scott Rodgers.” On that day Rodgers’ teammates named him ‘Steak,’ due to his imposing physique and work ethic in the weight room. Since then, Rodgers has engrained his drive and mentality into Notre Dame lacrosse. It has become Notre Dame lacrosse. Case in point: After his first year on campus, Rodgers stayed practically by himself with the football team to work out over the summer. This past year, 12 players joined him. But as much as Rodgers is teaching the younger players on his team, he does realize he would have never become the player he is without Kemp. “It kind of helped me out,” Rodgers said. “Mentally, I’m mentally stronger. I don’t get rattled as easily.” Rodgers sat behind Kemp for his first three years in South Bend, redshirting during the third. Coming out of high school, Rodgers chose the Fighting Irish over Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse because he thought he would start immediately. But a few months before Rodgers arrived on campus, the then-freshman Kemp blew up onto the national scene. Kemp’s play meant three years as a second-string player for Rodgers. Rodgers, though, used that time behind Kemp to round out himself as a goaltender. A half-decade ago, when Rodgers arrived in South see rodgers page 18


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1

SYRACUSE

National ranking: No. 1 Projected Big East finish: 1st Despite losing 11 seniors from last year’s team, the Orange still starts the season on top of the college lacrosse world. The twotime defending national champions return with its leading goal scorer in junior Stephen Keogh as well as championship game hero Cody Jamieson to lead the attack. Defensively, Syracuse will be anchored again by junior goaltender John Galloway, arguably the best clearing goalie in the country. If SU does turn in a disappointing season, the struggles are likely to start in the midfield. Freshman JoJo Marasco and junior college transfer Jeremy Thompson may need to adjust to the Division I game quickly, but Syracuse never seems to have a rebuilding period. Look for the Orange to make another deep run.

5

RUTGERS

National ranking: NR Projected Big East finish: 5th Rutgers enters 2010 looking to rebound from a brutal 2009 season that left the Scarlet Knights with a 4-11 record. Midfielder Justin Pennington is the team’s clear-cut star and was the only player in the conference to make the preseason All-Big East Team not wearing a Syracuse, Notre Dame or Georgetown uniform. He led Rutgers last year with 32 points but will need some more help from the rest of the offense if this team wants a shot. Senior goaltender Billy Olin will lead the defensive unit. In front of him stands junior Andrew D’Agostino, who played in every game last year and led the Scarlet Knights with 18 forced turnovers. RU is receiving votes in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll, but none of the veterans have tournament experience. And with what looks to be a tough schedule, don’t expect that to change this season.

Big East Breakdown 2

NOTRE DAME

6

ST. JOHN’S

National ranking: No. 9 Projected Big East finish: 2nd After streaking to an undefeated regular season, Notre Dame’s year came to a disappointing close with an ugly 7-3 loss to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This year, the Fighting Irish will look to avenge that frustration, and it all starts with preseason All-American goaltender Scott Rodgers. The fifth-year senior led the country in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663) last season and is back for one more year in Notre Dame’s net. Seniors Neal Hicks and Grant Krebs, who combined for 54 goals last year, also return to lead the Irish attack. Rodgers can carry this team, and if the attack can put up good numbers come tournament time, the Irish could make a solid run.

National ranking: NR Projected Big East finish: 6th St. John’s jumped out to a 5-1 start last season but ended the year on an eightgame losing streak after suffering some key injuries. The 2010 team has the potential to be a Big East dark horse with three starting defensemen, two defensive midfielders and senior captain goal tender Gavin Buckley returning. Sophomore Harry Kutner finished tied for second on the team last year with 24 points and looks to improve upon those numbers this season. Junior Terence Leach scored six goals in six games last year before suffering a season-ending injury. He will join Kutner and fifth-year senior midfielder Tom Manes to power the offense. St. John’s could sneak up on some teams this year with the veteran defensive unit and the return of Manes and Leach from injuries.

3

GEORGETOWN

7

PROVIDENCE

National ranking: No. 13 Projected Big East finish: 3rd Georgetown may have missed the NCAA tournament the past two years, but expectations are much higher coming into 2010. The Hoyas return their top four scorers, all seniors, as well as most of their core defensive unit from last year. The team did take a hit in the preseason, though, when freshman defenseman Tyler Knarr — the No. 12 player in his class according to Inside Lacrosse — suffered a knee injury that left his status for the season is still uncertain. Freshman attackman Travis Comeau impressed coaches with his play in fall ball and looks like he could crack the starting lineup. This team has plenty of experience, but that experience does not necessarily translate into success on the field. If it doesn’t, look for Georgetown to be home early again.

National ranking: NR Projected Big East finish: 7th Providence suffered through a 6-10 season last year, and things don’t appear to be looking up this season. The Friars lost their leading scorer in Bobby Labadini from a team that averaged just six goals per game. Senior Colin Tigh will lead the offense this year, along with midfielders Jackson Fallon and Mike Feldberg. On the defensive end, Providence will have to replace goaltender Robert Bryan, who was largely responsible for keeping games close for the Friars last year. Without him, the anemic offense that cracked double digits just twice in 16 games last year may have to step up. Providence has not had a winning record since 2006, and with the rough Big East schedule looming, a quick turnaround does not seem likely for 2010.

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15

VILLANOVA

National ranking: NR Projected Big East finish: 4th Last year, Villanova’s 11-6 season culminated with the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. This season might not have such a happy ending. The team lost 12 seniors to graduation, including its top two scorers and goaltender Andrew DiLoreto. But the defense will still be the team’s strength even without its three-year starter in goal. Junior longstick midfielder Brian Karalunas, last year’s Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the year, plays a dynamic defensive game. The Wildcats will need sophomores Kevin Cunningham and Matt Bell to pick up right where last year’s senior attack left off if Villanova hopes to return to the tournament for the second year in a row.

FINAL PREDICTION If Syracuse can find a way to beat Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers, arguably the best goalie in the country, the rest of the teams in the Big East conference won’t appear ready to stand up to the Orange. Of course, beating Rodgers is a very big ‘if,’ so don’t count out the Fighting Irish. Georgetown may be returning plenty of starters, but the Hoyas haven’t made the NCAA tournament in two years. St. John’s could easily be a dark horse considering their 5-1 start last year, prior to major injuries to key players. In the end, SU is too good for the rest of the conference and should take home the firstever Big East championship. — Compiled by Asst. Copy Editor Zach Brown


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Westward expansion

Bill Tierney was Princeton lacrosse, but now he looks to build dynasty in Denver Zach Brown

Asst. Copy Editor

I

t started as nothing more than some simple advising. Lacrosse coaching icon Bill Tierney had done it plenty of times before. Other schools trusted his expertise when their head coaching positions opened up. And deep down, most of them clung to the faint prospect of pulling Tierney away from Princeton. His council was always worth the shot. Year after year, programs would try to convince Tierney to take the reigns. And for 22 years, not one school had succeeded. Until now. This season, for the first time since 1987, Tierney will not be leading the Princeton men’s lacrosse team. Instead, he’ll be nearly 1,800 miles away, coaching a Denver team that has made the NCAA tournament just two times in the program’s history. The move also pulls the sport’s attention west, to an area somewhat foreign to the college lacrosse world. Tierney’s son Trevor, who will join him as an assistant coach on the Pioneers’ staff, said his dad really did not plan on leaving Princeton until he took a visit to Denver. “He was like, ‘I don’t think I can really do this. I don’t want to leave Princeton. I love it at Princeton,’” Trevor said. “So really, he was just coming to hear them out and check it out. After he got done he was just blown away by the school and the opportunity and potential the program has.” And that potential and atmosphere was enough for the coaching legend to walk away from the program he built into a national powerhouse. Before his arrival more than two decades ago, Princeton was a young, struggling program searching for its place in college lacrosse. Twenty-two years later, the Tigers now own six national championships, 10 final four appearances and a 238-86 record during that span. As a result, Tierney’s decision to leave that behind wasn’t easy. He sat down and talked with Princeton Director of Athletics Gary Walters about the opportunity. Once the decision was final, Tierney went about e-mailing alumni and

Countdown to Face-Off

individually calling each and every one of the players currently at Princeton. “It was very difficult, very difficult,” he said. “And what you learn when you do leave something is it’s not so difficult about the championships — although those are very important — but difficult in leaving the people and alumni and a lot of the guys who I had coached there, the people at Princeton. “And certainly (it was hard to leave) the team that was there because they were young men who came to Princeton for a lot of great reasons. It was very tough leaving those young men because they had given me their support and them being loyal to me. I felt like the toughest thing was to leave those young men.” Tigers attack Scott Mackenzie will now play his senior year at Princeton without the coach that brought him to the school. He admittedly was shocked when he first heard the news but did not feel any resentment toward Tierney, nor did any of his teammates. “I think talking to the guys, people were absolutely surprised that he left,” Mackenzie said. “But I think that they understood that he’s been here for 20-something years, won six championships … I think everybody understood.” But leaving Princeton was not the only aspect of the move that surprised the lacrosse world. Only two schools west of the Mississippi River (Denver and Air Force) have Division I lacrosse programs. The sport thrives on the East Coast. Its expansion west is progressing but has taken time. Recruiting hotbeds lie in New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. California and Colorado are starting to gain national attention, but lacrosse still runs through the east. And that challenge just made Denver even more of an attractive destination for Tierney. It is something more than an opportunity to build up a program. If he turns the Pioneers into a consistent title contender, it could help build up the entire sport throughout the country. “He loves lacrosse, and he’s a huge proponent of getting lacrosse out there in the public view and showing how great a game it is,” Mackenzie

tim head | mile-high photography bill tierney (right) shocked the lacrosse world by leaving Princeton for Denver’s lacrosse program in 2009. Tierney won six national titles in 22 years at Princeton. said. “It’s going to help spread the game. Instead of being an East Coast game, which it has been, him moving out there is going to help spread the game and possibly bring the level of lacrosse out there up a notch.” But the move has received mixed reviews. Lacrosse Magazine named Tierney its 2009 Person of the Year after taking the Denver job. On the other hand, doubters say he has no chance of tapping into the East Coast like he did at Princeton. Tierney, however, does not see it that way. He now has better access to kids in the west and still has his connections back east. “It’s like anything else in life, it depends on how you look at the cup,” Tierney said. “Is it half full or half empty? We’ve got advantages. We have California kids that think, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool. It’s only an hour and a half or two hours. I don’t have to go all the way to the East Coast.’” He also cited Canadian high schoolers who fit in well at Denver’s campus with a similar cli-

mate and a good hockey team. He included kids in the Midwest who might be that much closer to home with the Pioneers. And even though he’s in Colorado, the 58-year-old can still pull recruits in from the east. In fact, he said nine of his 12 recruits for next year are from the East Coast. But recruiting won’t be his only challenge at Denver. The last team to win a national championship other than Princeton, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins and Virginia was North Carolina — in 1991. Despite the increased parity in college lacrosse today, no one has been able to crack the elite. “I used to like that it was only those four,” Tierney said. “Now we’re trying to be one of those teams that can break into that grouping. It’s very difficult.” With the regular season only weeks away, Tierney is already working his Pioneers hard in practice. Trevor won a national championship at Princeton while playing for his dad. He knows first-hand what the Denver players are dealing with. The older Tierney has not changed his coaching techniques at all. He yells and screams and pushes his players to strive for perfection and perfection only. But this year is different for Bill Tierney. His players aren’t wearing Princeton orange and black. He walked away from everything he had there to build up the Denver lacrosse program and to further the growth of the sport in the west. But for now, he has his eyes set on one goal. “I think always whenever you take a job like this, you shoot for the moon,” Tierney said. “And I told our players our goal has to be the same as Princeton’s goal, has to be the same as Syracuse’s goal. … Our goal is to win a national championship.” zjbrown@syr.edu


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t he da ily or a nge l acrosse pr ev iew | 2 010

For Thompson, Syracuse lacrosse comes second to cultural roots

on’t call Jeremy Thompson a success story. Not yet, anyway. Save that designation for when he returns to the Onondaga Nation and reintegrates into his native heritage. Only then will he consider his journey complete. After months of speaking to reporters about his perseverance and dedication, Thompson now grows weary of hearing his own tale. As if simply earning admittance into Syracuse provided the sense of closure he continues to search for. As if playing Division I lacrosse signifies the finale of his saga, instead of a middle chapter. The past three years between high school and college taught Thompson that while the Creator blessed him with the gift of lacrosse, his path to true happiness leads back to the reservation. There he can inspire future generations with his newfound understanding of the culture clash that made reaching Syracuse more daunting than he ever anticipated. “If I could go back in time, I would have rather stayed with my people and learned more about myself and my culture,” Thompson said in the Manley Field House lobby last week. “Even if it meant not playing lacrosse at Syracuse.” He paused for a moment. A puzzled look crossed his face, as if he needed time to reflect upon a crucial revelation. “Then again,” he continued, “I’m here right now, so maybe this was supposed to be my path. I don’t know.” When Thompson suits up Friday for his first real game in an Orange uniform, he realizes the lacrosse world will hail him as an unbridled triumph. Yet Thompson remains conflicted, torn between two uncompromising worlds. Not long ago, he thought qualifying to play lacrosse at SU would spark an elusive moment of clarity. That accomplishing this goal would quell his unshakable feeling of insecurity. At the time, Thompson believed his life revolved around making it to Syracuse. Looking back now, he says he didn’t know himself or his history well enough to recognize what he wanted. For a decade, Thompson existed in a fog. Two forces tugged him in opposing directions. The allure of “the res” beckoned, offering safety and understanding. Teachers, first at Lafayette High School, then at Onondaga Community College, swore by the importance of an American education. In his mind, this internal struggle became a battle for his allegiance. Ultimately, nobody won. “I was dragging all over the place,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t in the right state of mind. Ever since I left the Nation, my culture, I didn’t know what I wanted. I was going through the motions. I would play lacrosse, do this, do that, but nothing ever felt right. I didn’t belong to anybody.” Thompson grew up on the Mohawk Nation, which stretches from upstate New York, through Quebec and into eastern Ontario. From kindergarten through fourth grade, he attended the Akwesasne Freedom School, speaking the traditional Mohawk language exclusively. Before fifth grade, his family decided to send

JARED DIAMOND

girls’ best friend Thompson to Grimshaw Elementary in the Lafayette public school system, where he and his brother Jerome received private tutoring in English. Lacrosse came easy. School did not. By high school, Thompson decided he wanted to play at Syracuse, driven by the success of his cousins, Marshall Abrams and Brett Bucktooth. Seeing them reach the sport’s highest level gave Thompson something to aspire toward. But Thompson still spoke almost no English. In 10th grade, school psychologists diagnosed him with a mild learning disorder, coupled with his severe language deficiency. “He had to deal with a double whammy,” said Tom Turner, Thompson’s special education teacher at Lafayette. Other Native American kids in his position would have dropped out. Turner said he works with students on an annual basis who cannot muster the motivation to overcome the inevitable transition period from the reservation to American culture. People in school dangled lacrosse in front of Thompson, trying to lead him to better grades. But Thompson never needed motivation. By now, word of his lacrosse prowess had colleges drooling for his services. He needed more time to adapt. At the Freedom School and at the Onondaga Nation School down the road from the SU campus, learning about native culture holds equal importance to learning math and social studies. Students take classes in native history, government and medicine. Thompson said learning English and conquering a learning disorder became secondary to adjusting to an entirely different philosophy on education. “The school is embedded in the culture,” Turner said. “That’s versus here, where cultures kind of find their way into the school. It represented a real culture shock for Jeremy that he struggled with for years.” When Thompson began high school, he believed he would gain acceptance to Syracuse based on his lacrosse talent alone. He did not realize he needed to maintain certain grades. He didn’t know about the SAT or statewide Regents exams. Brad Powless, a math and culture teacher at the Onondaga Nation School, said individual native families decide if they should teach their children about American culture. He added that rarely do people on the reservation outline the steps required to go to college. “It’s true that no one is telling kids like Jeremy, ‘You have to get your grades up,’” said Powless, who also serves as an assistant lacrosse SEE DIAMOND PAGE 18

CLOSE TO HOME

Jeremy Thompson is just the latest in a recent line of heralded Syracuse lacrosse players to come from Onondaga Community College. The OCC program has produced a pipeline of prospects that have signed with the Orange within the last four years. NAME

Jeremy Thompson Cody Jamieson Sid Smith Junior Bucktooth

POSITION

Midfield Attack Defense Defense

SU YEARS

2010-present 2009-present 2008-09 2007

OCC YEARS

2007, 2009 2006-07 2006 2006

HOMETOWN

Nedrow, N.Y. Six Nations, Ontario Ohsweken, Ontario Nedrow, N.Y.

Custom printed and embroidered clothing and novelties. Rush orders welcome! www.holyshirt.com info@holyshirt.com 315-445-8193 If you can think it, we probably do it ...

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18 t h e d a i l y o r a n g e l a c r o s s e p r e v i e w | 2 0 1 0

The junior sees his first game action against UMass playing four minutes, ultimately scoring a goal that was called back.

Jamieson is finally cleared to play in games by the NCAA after 13 games on the sideline.

May 25, 2009

Thorpe, Marshall Abrams and the Gait brothers. It was then he set his sights on playing at Syracuse University. At age 11, Jamieson led his team to a provincial championship. His father, who coached Cody until he was 15, said winning the provincials in Canada is like winning an NCAA national championship. “I knew he could be something great because the lacrosse stick never left his hand, even when he was a little guy,” Cole said. “We would play and he really got it quickly and he took off from there. I don’t like to brag, but even back then he was quite a player.” All this turned him into the player he is today. Around the cage, Jamieson is a menace for opposing defenders. The power packed in his stocky frame allows him to barrel his way to the goal and finish with a blistering shot.

Teams have schemed against him, bringing extra defenders, creating special defensive formations. But nothing seems to work. As last year’s hero for the Orange, he zipped in the game-winner in a national championship overtime thriller game against Cornell. After being cleared to play against Massachusetts on April 25, 2009, he went on a tear that lasted for the final two regular-season games and throughout the playoffs — six games, nine goals, 12 points and a .474 shooting percentage. “It was a bonus to have him at the end of the year,” SU head coach John Desko said. “His finishing ability, his game sense, I think he helped us and obviously had a huge goal in the championship game.” But this was a time Jamieson said he was not sure would ever come. In January 2009, he enrolled at Syracuse after

With 2:40 remaining in overtime, Jamieson scores a sudden death goal to give SU its second-straight national championship in a 10-9 overtime victory over Cornell.

In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, Jamieson records a hat trick in an 11-4 victory over Siena.

Dec. 28, 2009

After a process that took months, Jamieson takes his first classes at Syracuse as a part-time student for the fall 2008 semester. As a matriculated student, Jamieson was unable to practice with the team for the semester.

April 25, 2009

Jamieson is cleared to practice with the team after enrolling as a full-time student for the Spring 2009 semester.

May 9, 2009

The sophomore leads OCC to its second straight national title, finishing his career as a Lazer with 237 points and an unblemished 33-0 record.

Jamieson graduates from OCC.

Aug. 25, 2008

Mid-August 2008

Jamieson helps to lead Onondaga Community College to its first ever national championship in his freshman season.

May 2007

May 2006

lacrosse I don’t know where I would be today. I can’t imagine myself being at Syracuse University if it wasn’t for lacrosse … Everybody I have ever known and all the great people I’ve met … I have met through lacrosse.” From childhood, his life has been shaped around the game he loves. The sport is apart of his DNA: He was born into Six Nations of Ontario, one of North America’s original peoples and original lacrosse players. Growing up as a member of Six Nations, Jamieson looks at lacrosse as part of his culture and even his religion. When he speaks about the game, he believes it was a gift from the Creator, played to heal the sick.

April 23, 2009

from page 3

“It has a big significance in the Native American culture,” Jamieson said. “You play in a good mood because that is how the Creator wants you to play it, and I don’t think it can get any more important than that.” His collegiate career and education are an obligation to his Six Nations community. “Not a lot of people from my (reservation) have gone on and done this,” Jamieson said. “I am just trying to make everything better for our environment and community and trying to be a good role model for the kids at home to see that lacrosse is a way to get a college education.” Consider this snapshot of Jamieson’s lacrosse childhood: Cody and his father, Cole, spent countless nights playing catch in the backyard readying him for the paperweight division — a league on his reservation for 3-year-olds. At age 7, he would watch tapes of Regy

Jan. 16, 2009

jamieson

sports@ da ilyor a nge.com

SU athletics officially confirms that Jamieson will wear the storied No. 22 jersey for the 2010 season.

luke mccomb | staff photographer

two undefeated seasons at Onondaga Community College. But Jamieson had to wait months before he could compete in games. NCAA regulations still needed to review certain academic credits before he was officially eligible. Chuck Wilbur, head lacrosse coach at OCC, remembers the weekly phone calls. Jamieson was frustrated. His lifetime goal was put on hold for reasons out of his control. “It was tough for him,” Wilbur said. “It was his dream to play at this level and he finally achieved his goal, but then another roadblock comes up and he just didn’t know if he would ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was frustrated but didn’t want anyone to know.” When the opening faceoff would take place, Jamieson took his spot on the sideline, dressed in a sweatsuit. He compiled a mental scouting report of each team’s defensive strategies, hoping one day this would come in handy when he was out there.

After he was cleared in April, Jamieson played an integral role in the Orange’s championship run. He finished his roller-coaster season in emotional fashion with the game-winner. As the Syracuse players rushed the field, Jamieson darted in the other direction toward defender Sid Smith, also from Six Nations. While the rest of his team celebrated, Jamieson embraced the only other person that truly understood the significance of how much it meant to him. “It is hard to put into words how I felt at that moment,” said Cole, who was in the stands with Cody’s mother, Michelle. “It was a real tearjerker for all of us. Just to see him strive at what he has wanted his whole life, it was unbelievable.” Today, kids on the reservation run around in Syracuse lacrosse T-shirts. When Jamieson returns home, little kids ask him for his autograph. They tell him they want to play for Syracuse, too.

And for good reason. Regy Thorpe, one of Jamieson’s inspirations and former Syracuse star, is ready to place him in a category of elite players. “The Grants and the Gaits, I played with and against the best players in the world, and Cody is in that category of elite players,” said Thorpe, who currently plays for the Rochester Knighthawks in the NLL and coached Jamieson in 2007. “I am more than willing to make that bold statement.” This season, Jamieson has a full semester of fall ball under his belt. The comfort of knowing he will be able to compete every day has eased his coach’s worries. “Last year it was a week-to-week thing hearing different things. Now we got him every day, and I know he will be at our next game,” Desko said. “Having him back there with his finishing ability will really help us out.” On opening day, Feb. 19 against Denver,

Jamieson will be donning the historic No. 22. While he assured everyone at Syracuse’s media day that the number “cannot make him fly and does not give him any super powers as he had hoped” — Jamieson will be expected to lead the Orange back to the promised land. It is a fitting role for someone who has dedicated his life to the sport his ancestors grew up playing. After dominating at every level in Six Nations, playing on the International level, winning two JuCo championships at OCC and netting the game-winner in the national championship game for the Orange, Jamieson is more than prepared for the expectations. He is ready to become what he always dreamed he would be. “I knew it would be different because not a lot of people I knew went that path,” Jamieson said. “But I made it.”

rodgers

goals,’” Kemp said. “He would get so frustrated. But now he has a six and a half goals against average, which is incredible.”

Bend, he had all of the physical tools. That much was evident to his teammates with just one glance at him. He lacked just one thing –– the ability to control his emotions. Kemp taught him how. “One of the things I first told Scotty when he first got there was, ‘You are going to let in

The other Kemp John Kemp, Joey’s younger brother, will be a freshman at Notre Dame this spring. He will also be a goalie on the lacrosse team. Go figure. Throughout Notre Dame’s inaugural season in the Big East, John Kemp will shadow Rodgers, just like Rodgers shadowed Kemp’s older brother.

“Scotty reached out to me saying, ‘I’m going to help him out just like you helped me out,” the elder Kemp said. “So my little brother John is lucky enough to have Scotty there kind of playing the same role I did to him.” But with John Kemp’s arrival at Notre Dame, a different vibe surrounds the program. It actually has engulfed it. Long gone are the days of Notre Dame as any other team. Notre Dame lacrosse is now ready to contend for a Big East championship with a blue-collar approach.

And truth be told, it’s an approach passed down from lessons learned at Rikers Island, lessons learned from the neighborhoods on Long Island’s South Shore. It is an approach learned from Scott Rodgers. Notre Dame athletics will never be the same, all thanks to that working-class house on Twin Lane in Wantagh, N.Y. Said Rodgers: “I think the focus has changed. I hope so. I hope I influenced in a way.”

box lacrosse team in Canada. He returned to OCC in 2009 to complete his junior college eligibility and improve his grades enough to qualify for SU. For the past three years, reports of Thompson’s ability became legendary. National lacrosse recruiting services called Jeremy and Jerome two of the best players in the country. Jeremy tallied 62 goals and 54 assists in two years at OCC. Jerome, who also hopes to play at SU someday, has yet to obtain the necessary grades. But Jeremy made it and will take his place in the SU midfield this season. “People off the Nation look at them and say

he failed,” Powless said. “People say that Jeremy should have played four years of lacrosse at Syracuse. But this is his path; this is his journey. Even if a kid never played at a certain level, you’re still playing the Creator’s game. That’s what’s important.” Nevertheless, the conflict remains. The haze that clouded Thompson’s perspective for years in high school and junior college has dissipated, but he’s still unsure if lacrosse provided the answer. He plans to return to the Onondaga Nation after college to share his experiences with children who hope to leave the reservation.

Looking back now, he knows exactly what he’ll stress: “Dream big, but wait until you’re sure you’re ready.” “I feel like it’s almost dangerous out there. You have to know who you are when you go out there, or you can really get lost,” Thompson said. “I’m thinking now college can come later in life. It’s always going to be there. “Once you know who you are, once you have the basis of that, you’ll know what you really want to be in life, and then you go on.”

f rom page 14

diamond f r o m pa g e 17

coach at Lafayette. “Sometimes we say, ‘That’s over there, that’s on the other side.’ It’s hard to say, ‘How come you didn’t look at it and prepare for it?’ Maybe we need more counseling for these boys.” Even after graduating from Lafayette, it took Thompson three years to reach Syracuse. He spent a year at Onondaga Community College, before spending a season with the Akwesasne Indians — a

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aolivero@syr.edu

Jared Diamond is the sports columnist for The Daily Orange, where his column appears weekly. He can be reached at jediamon@syr.edu.


SPORTS@ DA ILYOR A NGE.COM

t he da ily or a nge l acrosse pr ev iew | 2 010

Beat writer predictions Zach Brown Wins-losses: 11-3 Big East finish: 1st place NCAA finish: final four

Brett LoGiurato Wins-losses: 12-2 Big East finish: 1st place NCAA finish: NCAA champions

Rachel Stern Wins-losses: 11-3 Big East finish: 1st place NCAA finish: final four

Syracuse lost a lot from the team that won the national title last year. The three-peat might be a little much to ask of such a young team. In terms of the Big East, there isn’t much competition for the Orange outside of Notre Dame. If SU can pull out a win in South Bend, Ind., it should have no problem securing first place in the conference’s inaugural season. The program never really has a rebuilding period, and this team has the talent to reload for another deep tournament run. The final four is a definite possibility, but a championship might be a year or two away.

Why not? Syracuse will have to reload in 2010. But SU had to reload last season, too. Head coach John Desko is the best at reloading and retooling his teams. Desko’s squad returns a solid nucleus led by a two-time national championship-winning goaltender and arguably the best defensive group in the NCAA. Aside from a few road hiccups, SU should continue its recent success. And when it gets to the NCAA tournament, the Orange will be battle-tested from its tough schedule and should walk away from Baltimore as the threetime defending national champions.

Yes, they lost 11 seniors. Yes, offensive weapons Kenny Nims, Dan Hardy and Pat Perritt are gone. But Syracuse is a lacrosse program. They have players who are ready to step up and take on bigger roles this season. Junior Stephen Keogh and senior Cody Jamieson are more than capable of handling the scoring load. With his first full season ahead, Jamieson will be the true leader this team needs. Having so many tough road games will only better the Orange and prepare them for tournament time. Just remember, Syracuse is a lacrosse program.

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