2020 Starting Lineup Predictions

Powellfan

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With Fall Ball a few weeks away I thought it would be a good time to try and put together a starting lineup prediction. Apologies if this runs a little long, I will break it up in two parts, Offense first, then Defense. Ohiomilax wrote a good prediction post on Fanlax (pre-Scanlan transfer, but still good), I really recommend reading it. It's an exciting year for the Orange, they have a lot of returning players, but also have some big shoes to fill. An added wrinkle is having a big roster with lots of exciting young talent, but only so much playing time to go around. It will be up to Desko to make some tough choices.

Attack: Cook, Rhefuss, Scanlan
This position has been discussed a ton already so I'll try and keep this short. Scanlan is obviously the most exciting addition to Syracuse this year, and he will bring a lot of attention. He is a very good shooter but can also dodge. Scanlan did not have high assist totals, but that could change this season as SU doesn't have a dominate ball handler on the team. I think his goal totals from last might come down, but his assist totals might rise. He will match up well with Rhefuss who, despite staring the year off slowly with injuries and illness still had a productive year. My hope for Rhefuss is he can get a little stronger and fend off the physical defenders a bit better than he did last year. When he is "on" he is really good.

The question mark of course is the third spot. Personally I think they will start games off with Cook as the starter, but give shifts to Dordevic as the game goes along. This will allow the team to develop a younger player in Cook and also get the best six players on the field as well (more on that below). Cook is quick and I think he'll make a better attackman than midfielder. He still has things to work on obviously (he wont grow five inches but needs to leverage his size better, shooting could improve) but I think he's the leader in the clubhouse among the other attackmen. I'd think Berkman, Donnelly and Seebold might next in the pecking order. If Desko decides not to bump a midfielder down to attack, he might still platoon Cook with another attackman. We might see a lot of mixing and matching with this spot to start the year.

1st Line Midfield: Curry, Dordevic, Trimboli - The second most exciting addition to the team would of course be the return of Dordevic who had a very solid freshmen season for the Orange, but was out last year with injury. He's a good strong player who can do a lot of different things. I hope he works on the diversity of his shot placement (always seems to go low), but he can swing the outcome of games with his skill set. If he ends up playing some attack, I think Buttermore gets bumped to the first unit. That would really cause headaches for defenses as I'm really not sure who you end up putting short sticks on. Curry, I think, is the most talented offensive player on the team. He has tremendous speed and very hard shot. His problem at the end of last year was he lost his accuracy. If he gains that back, he could very well be a first teamer. He also helps balance the playmaking/distributor role between midfield and attack. Trimboli has started for four years now and has been super consistent. I think he might be more effective this year with less attention. He made big strides last year changing up his shooting motion. Either way he'll be a good veteran presence.

2nd Line Midfield: Buttermore, Lipka, Quinn - The unit with the most intrigue might just be the second midfield. Lipka is a former first liner who has been productive for two seasons. He is a good glue guy who can do a little bit of everything. Like a lot of different players, he needs to work on his accuracy. I think he had a lot of open looks last year that he should have cashed in on. Hope he doesn't let the demotion to the second line hurt his production. Buttermore is a player who could very well be a starter and I wouldn't be surprised if he's on the field for crunch time. A fearless shooter, Buttermore can also dodge. He would easily draw the long stick on the second line but has shown no trepidation when drawing that matchup in the past. I think Quinn gets first crack at the last spot, but competition should be fierce, with a number of young players chomping at the bit - Kim twins, Magnan, Lewandowski, Peter Fiorini, Owen Hill, etc.. Quinn has shown flashes during his two years, but he also has injury history and can be very inconsistent. Much like the third attack spot, Dekso might choose to rotate a few player in with Buttermore and Lipka. The team has enough talent to probably run a third midfield line, but this is rarely done and it would mean less time of the field for perhaps the best first line in the country.

Next I'll do my best to predict the starters on defense. Please feel free to disagree and share why, I myself have gone back and forth on a number of predictions!
 
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DoctahLexus

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Always enjoy these discussions! Obviously any full lineup prediction has a couple big ifs as caveats. The main one is of course if they plan on moving Dordevic/Curry down to make room for excess talented middies. I think if they do NOT go into the season with that as the plan then this is a spot on prediction. Cook has the vision and ability to gain separation that is necessary to be a solid dodging attack/QB. Scanlan meanwhile takes care of the gap in our off ball finishers left by Solomon and Voigt and he should be an excellent collaborator with Rehfuss on the two man game stuff he did with Voigt and Bomberry in previous years. The one gap in a starting lineup of those three is a pure off ball finisher. I highly doubt we will relegate Scanlan to a strictly Voigt type of role, since it would waste his abilities as a dodger. The main reason I think we are just going to deal with that gap is because nobody on the current lineup really stacks up to Voigt or Bomberry as an offball guy (as we have discussed).

One issue with that however is that we do a ton of initiating with our impressive middie dodgers already and we may want a strictly off ball guy at attack to take care of business after the middies get the defense all confused. Voigt finished off a lot of passes from Rehfuss but also got quite a few from Curry Trimboli and co. as well. If we decide the gap in offball guys is to severe we may see a guy like Donnelly take up some minutes in an off ball role in place of cook, whose finishing seemed like a definite weakness last year. Lots to think about!
 

ThunderRoad

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I didn't see flashes from Quinn last season (yes he had an injury or injuries and appeared in 8 games total) and have a hard time thinking he'll land on that second line w/ the depth we have. I just don't think he's dynamic enough. Buttermore gives you a good shooter on that line; I'd bump up one of the Kims personally.
 

illestcuse

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I didn't see flashes from Quinn last season (yes he had an injury or injuries and appeared in 8 games total) and have a hard time thinking he'll land on that second line w/ the depth we have. I just don't think he's dynamic enough. Buttermore gives you a good shooter on that line; I'd bump up one of the Kims personally.
168759
 

CuseNHouse

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Agree with much of the prediction except Quinn - I think he would have to come back a totally different player - perhaps the injuries have gotten in the way, but I’ve seen very little that impressed me - he is a down the alley, rollback pass guy who often looks afraid to go ..or out of place on the field - I think Magnan, Fiorini. levandowski .a Kim ..or incoming gets that spot
 

CuSeLaX

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Here’s what I think they will do:

Attack: Scanlan, Rehfuss, Cook

Midfield 1’s: Curry, Trimboli, Dordevic
2’s: Buttermore, Lipka, Magnan

Defense: Mellen, Murphy, Staats

D middies: Kennedy, Dearth, Oladunmoye

Goalie: Porter

Two spots I’m not sure about are 6th mid and 3rd close D. I’m beginning to believe that Cook will be the third attack regardless if that puts the best 6 offensive players on the field or not. He would in theory be the best fit. Production is my only worry.
 

DoctahLexus

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Here’s what I think they will do:

Attack: Scanlan, Rehfuss, Cook

Midfield 1’s: Curry, Trimboli, Dordevic
2’s: Buttermore, Lipka, Magnan

Defense: Mellen, Murphy, Staats

D middies: Kennedy, Dearth, Oladunmoye

Goalie: Porter

Two spots I’m not sure about are 6th mid and 3rd close D. I’m beginning to believe that Cook will be the third attack regardless if that puts the best 6 offensive players on the field or not. He would in theory be the best fit. Production is my only worry.
Helmer will almost definitely get the starting D middie job over Oladunmoye. He has a ton of experience there and had a good year. Not sure whether Staats prefers LSM or Close D but either way he is in contention. Other most likely option is DePietro who is also coming off from injury. Kind of a difficult spot to be in as the options with experience are pretty limited after those two and the health of both of them is a serious concern. That's the main reason Kennedy moving down has some appeal, but I still like him at LSM unless both of those guys are truly not up to the task.
 

Powellfan

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I didn't see flashes from Quinn last season (yes he had an injury or injuries and appeared in 8 games total) and have a hard time thinking he'll land on that second line w/ the depth we have. I just don't think he's dynamic enough. Buttermore gives you a good shooter on that line; I'd bump up one of the Kims personally.
I totally understand the pessimisim surrounding Quinn, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt given that he has the most seniority of any of the guys in contention. In his defense, I think he's a little better than he's been given credit for right now. He apparently had a nice showing in the scrimmage against Yale, scoring two goals and getting a shout out from Desko afterwards. Now, he did not play well against Colgate and was injured shortly after that game (I think against Albany). But he does have talent - he has a strong bull dodge and a hard shot. I think sometimes he has too much faith in his ability and takes ill advised shots from distance. I think he needs to work out the mental aspect of the game and he could be dangerous. Maybe he won't but I don't think we should give up on him so quickly just because there is a back log at the midfield position.

Magnan looked up and down last year but I would give him the best odds to take the third spot if Quinn doesn't work out. He scored two nice goals against Hobart, but also had a number of poor turnovers and sloppy play over the course of the year as well. The Kim's obviously have a lot of upside as well and looked more polished than I expected.
 

ivorytower

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Very good core with two attackman, five mids, four dm's, 2 ism's, 1 cd , 2g.

Then plenty of solid candidates for remaining openings whether as starters , primary backups or specialists. Least of concerns is who is 6th and 7th mid, 3rd or 4th cd, 5th dm, 3rd lsm, 3rd goalie. Whoever it be will more than adequately filled because the talent of depth is good.

THE concern remains who replaces Voigt's 38 goals and Bomberry stick skills and presence in the starting lineup. Their replacements could actually offer enhancements in some aspects but doubt their overall impact of those two can be matched unless a prime timer is shifted to fill.

Re: 3rd attack (and fourth , explored various options given "now" potential of team and surplus of talent at mid. Not meant to diminish any candidacy but Curry at attack still holds appeal to me on several fronts. A attack candidate or two in the mix might be better served apprenticing to replace Refhuss next year rather than playing a marginal support role this year.

Dami return adds to a strength, he practiced all last year and will be ready from start . Dearth is a top dm while Barlow and Smart developed nicely. The depth at ssdm allows the additional option of dropping Helmer to cd if needed.
 

DoctahLexus

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Very good core with two attackman, five mids, four dm's, 2 ism's, 1 cd , 2g.

Then plenty of solid candidates for remaining openings whether as starters , primary backups or specialists. Least of concerns is who is 6th and 7th mid, 3rd or 4th cd, 5th dm, 3rd lsm, 3rd goalie. Whoever it be will more than adequately filled because the talent of depth is good.

THE concern remains who replaces Voigt's 38 goals and Bomberry stick skills and presence in the starting lineup. Their replacements could actually offer enhancements in some aspects but doubt their overall impact of those two can be matched unless a prime timer is shifted to fill.

Re: 3rd attack (and fourth , explored various options given "now" potential of team and surplus of talent at mid. Not meant to diminish any candidacy but Curry at attack still holds appeal to me on several fronts. A attack candidate or two in the mix might be better served apprenticing to replace Refhuss next year rather than playing a marginal support role this year.

Dami return adds to a strength, he practiced all last year and will be ready from start . Dearth is a top dm while Barlow and Smart developed nicely. The depth at ssdm allows the additional option of dropping Helmer to cd if needed.
Would be awesome if Dami, Barlow, or others could effectively replace Helmer so we could get a long pole in his hand again. I loved him as a freshman LSM. He stripped some of the best in the business and was great on the wing too. I liked him as an SSDM but at times he seemed a tad too slow with a short stick, especially compared to Dearth.

Dami clearly has at least the athleticism and speed required for the position, which is a major plus, but his actual knowledge of what to do when in certain situations seemed quite poor at times. Of course this is understandable since he was a freshman. Shocking that we had to play a frosh like him as much as we did in 2018. We were a bit of a mess that year. I remember one goal ND had against us on an invert where he stayed with his man stride for stride, which was impressive, but decided to not check or make contact with his man in any way at all when he came around GLE and he scored easily. That about sums up the Dami D Mid experience in 2018.
 

ivorytower

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Yep, Dami certainly had some growing pains at ssdm in 18 to be sure, part and parcel of learning a new position. The additional year of practice has hopefully helped his understanding. Be another bruising athletic mf defender and offer some additional speed and offensive potential to ssdm. Barlow has good size and speed and appeared ready by season end to take on bigger role..
 

W'boro'Cuse315

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Yep, Dami certainly had some growing pains at ssdm in 18 to be sure, part and parcel of learning a new position. The additional year of practice has hopefully helped his understanding. Be another bruising athletic mf defender and offer some additional speed and offensive potential to ssdm. Barlow has good size and speed and appeared ready by season end to take on bigger role..
Also important to remember that Dami came from a non Lax hotbed in Illinois & was also focused on football as a low D1 recruit in HS. The fact that he was a Game 1 starter as a true frosh with minimal understanding of concepts & relying almost entirely on pure athleticism is really encouraging & I think redshirting last year will end up being a blessing in disguise. I expect big things from him in his final 3 years.
 

ivorytower

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I totally understand the pessimisim surrounding Quinn, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt given that he has the most seniority of any of the guys in contention. In his defense, I think he's a little better than he's been given credit for right now. He apparently had a nice showing in the scrimmage against Yale, scoring two goals and getting a shout out from Desko afterwards. Now, he did not play well against Colgate and was injured shortly after that game (I think against Albany). But he does have talent - he has a strong bull dodge and a hard shot. I think sometimes he has too much faith in his ability and takes ill advised shots from distance. I think he needs to work out the mental aspect of the game and he could be dangerous. Maybe he won't but I don't think we should give up on him so quickly just because there is a back log at the midfield position.

Magnan looked up and down last year but I would give him the best odds to take the third spot if Quinn doesn't work out. He scored two nice goals against Hobart, but also had a number of poor turnovers and sloppy play over the course of the year as well. The Kim's obviously have a lot of upside as well and looked more polished than I expected.
Prefer and enjoy watching aggressive players with speed at any position because it pressures and wears . Do not necessarily have to be the largest though it helps. Would be good to have a physical force at attack, absent that one with true speed.

Moving upfield, Cuse has several o mids with size.

Kims have shown the willingness to use their considerable size to run through defenders . Not every big has that mindset, imo time to get one on the field hook or crook.
 

Powellfan

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Prefer and enjoy watching aggressive players with speed at any position because it pressures and wears . Do not necessarily have to be the largest though it helps. Would be good to have a physical force at attack, absent that one with true speed.

Moving upfield, Cuse has several o mids with size.

Kims have shown the willingness to use their considerable size to run through defenders . Not every big has that mindset, imo time to get one on the field hook or crook.
Do you consider Cook having "true speed"? Watching him last year I was expecting him to be a lot faster. He strikes me as being more "shifty" than having all out, end line to end line speed. Curry strikes me as having more outright speed as Cook, but I think he works better as a midfielder because of this. Do you think Curry makes for a better attackman than a midfielder straight up, or, if you want to move Curry, is it just to bolster attack unit? Does that make sense?
 

ivorytower

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Hey Powell,

Speeds not comparable. Cook is shifty rather than fast but that may be good enough for him to succeed. As another previously commented, he appeared to squander some space after initial moves. That hesitancy is not unusual for a frosh adjusting .Cook is not a middy. Ideally Cook or another attackman settle and shine from start but might as well explore viable options in fall when you have them.

True speed plays anywhere. Geometry not my strength but speed off first step creates separation even over the shortest of distances. Recall Curry work around cage vs UNC and Loyola. He intrigues because he previously played attack in HS and has demonstrated ability to pass inside after drawing slides. A side benefit with Curry or Dordevic if a move enhanced attack unit would be allowing more p/t for other talented mids .

Just pondering what may work best . Remain open to any
 

Powellfan

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As always, great discussion about what we can expect next year. I'll finish my predictions out with the face-off unit and defense.

FOGO - Phaup, Varello
Wings - Kennedy, Dearth, Fernandez

The Syracuse face-off unit was a lot better than I thought it would be last year, mostly due to the emergence of Phaup, who finished the season at 60%. That said, something seemed to have happened to the unit at the end of year, Phaup seemed to fade against UNC x2 and Loyola. Did he wear down? Was it bad match-ups? Hard to say but hopefully he gets back to the form he was in for 3/4s of the year. Varello was a solid backup, but struggled in his second match-up with UNC and didn't have answer for Loyola either. He finished about 50% for the year. Would be nice if a third player emerged to give the Orange another option, but all things considered I think Phaup and Varello are a solid duo.

The coaching staff played two long poles at the wings a lot last year and I imagine they will continue to do that. The one thing about Kennedy's game I wish he would improve on is his groundball play, many times he seems to overrun a ball or struggle to pick it up. He would really be a complete player if he could round that aspect of his game out. The unit lacks a Ryan Conrad or Matt Abbott player who picks up everything around them, but overall they are a physical bunch that cause havoc in the middle of the field. Not sure if this unit is considered a "strength", but they certainly aren't a weakness.

Long Stick Midfielders: Kennedy, Fernandez
Kennedy is the best LSM SU has had since Joel White. Some clamor for him to move down low, and while I wouldn't be upset if he did, he seems made for LSM with his speed and his skills in transition. For me, Fernandez took a step back from his freshmen year, I'm hoping that had to do with his knee injury and he comes back this year healthier. He was a take-away artist as a frosh and seemed to stick to offensive players like glue, last year he looked hesitant and shied away from contact. He was good enough to take away a lot of playing time from Fusco last year though, that says something. Some intriguing newby's coming in with Clary and Page, but not sure how ready they'll be.

Short-Stick Defenders - First Duo: Dearth, Helmer, Second Duo: Dami, Barlow, Third Duo: Small, Dieball
The deepest unit Syracuse has had in a long time, and an All-American in Dearth, this unit is something to be excited for this upcoming year. Helmer was also a very good player last year, but did get exposed in invert situations a few times last year. Hopefully he can improve there. Dami coming back is exciting and they have some good young options who showed promise last year in Barlow and Small. Also some incoming freshmen like Aviles and Rosa might get a look here. Murphy's name is missing here because I think he takes a spot down low. If not, he makes this unit that much stronger. Dieball is a guy who offers a lot of size.

Close Defense - Mellen, Murphy, Staats
Lots of options here for the coaches to choose between. Obviously you get a great talent like Mellen coming back which is huge. I'm sure he's anxious to erase the memories from the Loyola game. He's very good, but needs to work on communicating and playing better in a system. I really liked what I saw from Murphy last year at close, he's strong and physical. As a short stick I always thought he played best when being inverted (one reason why I like him down low over Helmer). I think its time to move him back to his natural position. The last spot for me is between Staats and DiPietro. I like DiPetro more than some, but I'm intrigued by Staats and he comes in with some big accolades. Physically they are similar, DiPietro being a little bigger at 6'1 234. As others have stated, I'd really like to see a groundball machine come out of this group, Bomberry's prowess will be really hard to replace.

Goalie: Porter, Strang
Porter is a very good goalie, really, last year there was one game when he really struggled (Notre Dame). I think he does most everything well and is a very solid shot stopper. He's not someone you worry about giving up cheap goals. Strang looked very good against Notre Dame when he came in at halftime so its good to know SU has a solid backup.
 

CuseNHouse

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Pretty spot on analysis. Love Helmer, but agree he got burned a few times on inverts and other times he just simply got caught not picking up when he should have.. so hopefully that gets cleaned up. Intrigued with the earlier post mention of him potentially going back to LSM as well.

That third D spot is tricky ...from what I heard from a reliable source, DiPietro intentionally redshirted last year (not an injury) as he was not going to get PT and that would have been the end of the road,,,so this is his chance at that third spot...but spot could be up for grabs for sure with Staats/other/incoming. Murphy gets the second spot for sure unless there is a major surprise.

The guy that I am most intrigued with is Aviles...On film, looks live a very versatile player and great athlete...could go anywhere from attack to mid to SSDM if he's ready out of the gate
 

DoctahLexus

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Pretty spot on analysis. Love Helmer, but agree he got burned a few times on inverts and other times he just simply got caught not picking up when he should have.. so hopefully that gets cleaned up. Intrigued with the earlier post mention of him potentially going back to LSM as well.

That third D spot is tricky ...from what I heard from a reliable source, DiPietro intentionally redshirted last year (not an injury) as he was not going to get PT and that would have been the end of the road,,,so this is his chance at that third spot...but spot could be up for grabs for sure with Staats/other/incoming. Murphy gets the second spot for sure unless there is a major surprise.

The guy that I am most intrigued with is Aviles...On film, looks live a very versatile player and great athlete...could go anywhere from attack to mid to SSDM if he's ready out of the gate
Interesting that DiPietro wasn't injured last year. If it was truly for PT reasons I am guessing they were prepared to break the redshirt if one of the top three got hurt significantly. That is good news since he won't be taking a step back physically from some sort of injury and most likely was able to practice in full with the team all of last season. Makes it seem more likely he will get the starting job at least for the beginning of the season.
 

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