2023 Starting Lineup Predictions | Syracusefan.com

2023 Starting Lineup Predictions

Powellfan

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Given that Syracuse will hold its first open to the public scrimmage this Sunday against Loyola, I thought now would be a good time to try and predict what the opening day lineup for the Orange will be in 2023. I try and do this once a year, and should say I am usually way off. There are always players that will be locks to start, like Owen Hiltz this year, but there will always be players that improved since last year, surprise freshmen, and injuries. I am also no insider so these really are just my best guesses (outside of the defense where I'm stealing from DMV). Hopefully others will chime in with their own predictions and disagreements. With the influx of highly rated freshmen and transfers, this team will look a lot different than last season, and that makes predictions especially difficult. I will start with the offense and do the defense in a separate post.

Attack: Owen Hiltz, Joey Spallina and Alex Simmons
I really am struggling with who to put in the third spot on this line. Some days I think it will be Simmons, others it's Cole Kirst, and recently it's been Finn Thomson. I am giving Simmons the edge here given his past experience with Hiltz in high school. I do like the idea of Thomson, Spallina and Hiltz potentially having three years of playing time together, so there is a chance that the staff goes young here. Having Hiltz back will be huge. He is a tremendous passer and shooter, and it looks like he has improved his dodging game. I don't think they would have been a playoff team with him in the lineup last year, but they certainly would have won more games with him. Obviously a lot has been written and said about Spallina, he will be coming in with a ton of hype. He will be unit's best dodger and he's a great passer as well as shooter. I think he and Hiltz will make beautiful music together. He is used to having the ball in his stick A LOT, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts. Simmons should compliment the other two well with his shooting. He's also an accomplished passer as he had 24 assists as a junior in 2021. Last years attack unit had a lot of issues as they struggled to move the ball effectively. This SHOULD NOT be the issue this year with Hiltz and Spallina directing things. I see lots of skip passes coming from Hiltz to Spallina and Simmons in the future. Dordevic, Seebold, Berkman and Birtwistle combined for just 30 assist last year. It's a not a stretch to say Hiltz or Spallina could have that many by themselves next year.

First Midfield: Cole Kirst, Finn Thomson, Michael Leo
This unit could easily be called the leftover attackmen, which is good and bad. Good because I think this group could cause a lot of headaches for defensive midfields. Bad because it's always risky when attackmen, or former attackmen get stuck playing defense. It is risky having an entire group of attackmen who might be liabilities on the other end of the field. SU was really bad last year in transition defense. That said, as an attacking group this trio could put up a lot of points. Kirst I have to imagine would invert a lot, which would work well with Simmons who has midfield experience. He will probably draw the pole. Thomson is a gifted passer and scorer who would have good chemistry with Hiltz and Simmons given their Canadian backgrounds. He could very easily be mixed and matched with Simmons as well. Leo brings a dodging ability and can move the ball as well. Plus he's a lefty which gives the offense some balance.

Second Midfield: Jackson Birtwistle, Tyler Cordes, Griffin Cook
This was a tough call. There are lots of potential midfielders who could see time here, and if any of the top six are struggling, there should be plenty of players waiting in the wings to take over. I feel most bad about placing Birtwistle here. I do think he could see time anywhere from starting attack to the second midfield. He's a talented player, but it says something about the depth of the team that he ended up here. Cordes saw a lot of time last season (eight starts), but was perhaps a bit underwhelming with 4 goals and eight assist on 20% shooting. As a lefty though I think he'll get playing time. He has a big shot, just needs to work on accuracy. Not much of a dodger though. Cook has received a lot of criticism on here but he was a starting first line midfielder last year, so I think he gets time, at least to start next season as long as he's healthy (he said he would be ready for the start of the season recently). I see Luke Rhoa, Carter Kempney, Peter Fiorini and Blake Borges as "next man up" who have a real shot at playing time if players like Cordes and Cook struggle.

Man Up: Owen Hiltz, Alex Simmons, Finn Thomson, Joey Spallina, Cole Kirst, Luke Rhoa
Basically get all the Canadians on the field with whoever fits what they want to do. I'm not sure if Spallina is a sure thing for this unit but his passing should help. Rhoa if he's not seeing regular midfield minutes should definitely be on man-up with his big shot. I could also see Cordes or Birtwistle on this unit as well. This unit was really bad last year at only 34%. A batch of new faces is probably a good thing.

Overall Assessment: The offense should be very good next year despite losing two very good players in Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry from last year. This grouping of players just seems to "fit" a lot better. There has been a lot of talk about this being a "position-less" offense this year, similar to what other top teams have done in recent years (UVA comes to mind). So who plays midfield and who plays attack doesn't matter that much, it comes down more to pairings. I think a big question for the coaches, is it better to mix and match classes so the freshmen have older players in their grouping, or could they build more chemistry by having them all together, say an all freshmen midfield line? This is a really exciting group of players, and not just because they are bringing in a top freshmen group. Question for me is will they have the ball enough to reach their full potential?
 

sholokov2

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Given that Syracuse will hold its first open to the public scrimmage this Sunday against Loyola, I thought now would be a good time to try and predict what the opening day lineup for the Orange will be in 2023. I try and do this once a year, and should say I am usually way off. There are always players that will be locks to start, like Owen Hiltz this year, but there will always be players that improved since last year, surprise freshmen, and injuries. I am also no insider so these really are just my best guesses (outside of the defense where I'm stealing from DMV). Hopefully others will chime in with their own predictions and disagreements. With the influx of highly rated freshmen and transfers, this team will look a lot different than last season, and that makes predictions especially difficult. I will start with the offense and do the defense in a separate post.

Attack: Owen Hiltz, Joey Spallina and Alex Simmons
I really am struggling with who to put in the third spot on this line. Some days I think it will be Simmons, others it's Cole Kirst, and recently it's been Finn Thomson. I am giving Simmons the edge here given his past experience with Hiltz in high school. I do like the idea of Thomson, Spallina and Hiltz potentially having three years of playing time together, so there is a chance that the staff goes young here. Having Hiltz back will be huge. He is a tremendous passer and shooter, and it looks like he has improved his dodging game. I don't think they would have been a playoff team with him in the lineup last year, but they certainly would have won more games with him. Obviously a lot has been written and said about Spallina, he will be coming in with a ton of hype. He will be unit's best dodger and he's a great passer as well as shooter. I think he and Hiltz will make beautiful music together. He is used to having the ball in his stick A LOT, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts. Simmons should compliment the other two well with his shooting. He's also an accomplished passer as he had 24 assists as a junior in 2021. Last years attack unit had a lot of issues as they struggled to move the ball effectively. This SHOULD NOT be the issue this year with Hiltz and Spallina directing things. I see lots of skip passes coming from Hiltz to Spallina and Simmons in the future. Dordevic, Seebold, Berkman and Birtwistle combined for just 30 assist last year. It's a not a stretch to say Hiltz or Spallina could have that many by themselves next year.

First Midfield: Cole Kirst, Finn Thomson, Michael Leo
This unit could easily be called the leftover attackmen, which is good and bad. Good because I think this group could cause a lot of headaches for defensive midfields. Bad because it's always risky when attackmen, or former attackmen get stuck playing defense. It is risky having an entire group of attackmen who might be liabilities on the other end of the field. SU was really bad last year in transition defense. That said, as an attacking group this trio could put up a lot of points. Kirst I have to imagine would invert a lot, which would work well with Simmons who has midfield experience. He will probably draw the pole. Thomson is a gifted passer and scorer who would have good chemistry with Hiltz and Simmons given their Canadian backgrounds. He could very easily be mixed and matched with Simmons as well. Leo brings a dodging ability and can move the ball as well. Plus he's a lefty which gives the offense some balance.

Second Midfield: Jackson Birtwistle, Tyler Cordes, Griffin Cook
This was a tough call. There are lots of potential midfielders who could see time here, and if any of the top six are struggling, there should be plenty of players waiting in the wings to take over. I feel most bad about placing Birtwistle here. I do think he could see time anywhere from starting attack to the second midfield. He's a talented player, but it says something about the depth of the team that he ended up here. Cordes saw a lot of time last season (eight starts), but was perhaps a bit underwhelming with 4 goals and eight assist on 20% shooting. As a lefty though I think he'll get playing time. He has a big shot, just needs to work on accuracy. Not much of a dodger though. Cook has received a lot of criticism on here but he was a starting first line midfielder last year, so I think he gets time, at least to start next season as long as he's healthy (he said he would be ready for the start of the season recently). I see Luke Rhoa, Carter Kempney, Peter Fiorini and Blake Borges as "next man up" who have a real shot at playing time if players like Cordes and Cook struggle.

Man Up: Owen Hiltz, Alex Simmons, Finn Thomson, Joey Spallina, Cole Kirst, Luke Rhoa
Basically get all the Canadians on the field with whoever fits what they want to do. I'm not sure if Spallina is a sure thing for this unit but his passing should help. Rhoa if he's not seeing regular midfield minutes should definitely be on man-up with his big shot. I could also see Cordes or Birtwistle on this unit as well. This unit was really bad last year at only 34%. A batch of new faces is probably a good thing.

Overall Assessment: The offense should be very good next year despite losing two very good players in Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry from last year. This grouping of players just seems to "fit" a lot better. There has been a lot of talk about this being a "position-less" offense this year, similar to what other top teams have done in recent years (UVA comes to mind). So who plays midfield and who plays attack doesn't matter that much, it comes down more to pairings. I think a big question for the coaches, is it better to mix and match classes so the freshmen have older players in their grouping, or could they build more chemistry by having them all together, say an all freshmen midfield line? This is a really exciting group of players, and not just because they are bringing in a top freshmen group. Question for me is will they have the ball enough to reach their full potential?
great job as always. Impressive is your ability to take a lot thoughts and organize them intelligibly. Defense may be more difficult to determine a starting lineup. Figueiras will be a serious loss if his injury keeps him from the rest of fall and spring practices.
 

AD31

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Given that Syracuse will hold its first open to the public scrimmage this Sunday against Loyola, I thought now would be a good time to try and predict what the opening day lineup for the Orange will be in 2023. I try and do this once a year, and should say I am usually way off. There are always players that will be locks to start, like Owen Hiltz this year, but there will always be players that improved since last year, surprise freshmen, and injuries. I am also no insider so these really are just my best guesses (outside of the defense where I'm stealing from DMV). Hopefully others will chime in with their own predictions and disagreements. With the influx of highly rated freshmen and transfers, this team will look a lot different than last season, and that makes predictions especially difficult. I will start with the offense and do the defense in a separate post.

Attack: Owen Hiltz, Joey Spallina and Alex Simmons
I really am struggling with who to put in the third spot on this line. Some days I think it will be Simmons, others it's Cole Kirst, and recently it's been Finn Thomson. I am giving Simmons the edge here given his past experience with Hiltz in high school. I do like the idea of Thomson, Spallina and Hiltz potentially having three years of playing time together, so there is a chance that the staff goes young here. Having Hiltz back will be huge. He is a tremendous passer and shooter, and it looks like he has improved his dodging game. I don't think they would have been a playoff team with him in the lineup last year, but they certainly would have won more games with him. Obviously a lot has been written and said about Spallina, he will be coming in with a ton of hype. He will be unit's best dodger and he's a great passer as well as shooter. I think he and Hiltz will make beautiful music together. He is used to having the ball in his stick A LOT, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts. Simmons should compliment the other two well with his shooting. He's also an accomplished passer as he had 24 assists as a junior in 2021. Last years attack unit had a lot of issues as they struggled to move the ball effectively. This SHOULD NOT be the issue this year with Hiltz and Spallina directing things. I see lots of skip passes coming from Hiltz to Spallina and Simmons in the future. Dordevic, Seebold, Berkman and Birtwistle combined for just 30 assist last year. It's a not a stretch to say Hiltz or Spallina could have that many by themselves next year.

First Midfield: Cole Kirst, Finn Thomson, Michael Leo
This unit could easily be called the leftover attackmen, which is good and bad. Good because I think this group could cause a lot of headaches for defensive midfields. Bad because it's always risky when attackmen, or former attackmen get stuck playing defense. It is risky having an entire group of attackmen who might be liabilities on the other end of the field. SU was really bad last year in transition defense. That said, as an attacking group this trio could put up a lot of points. Kirst I have to imagine would invert a lot, which would work well with Simmons who has midfield experience. He will probably draw the pole. Thomson is a gifted passer and scorer who would have good chemistry with Hiltz and Simmons given their Canadian backgrounds. He could very easily be mixed and matched with Simmons as well. Leo brings a dodging ability and can move the ball as well. Plus he's a lefty which gives the offense some balance.

Second Midfield: Jackson Birtwistle, Tyler Cordes, Griffin Cook
This was a tough call. There are lots of potential midfielders who could see time here, and if any of the top six are struggling, there should be plenty of players waiting in the wings to take over. I feel most bad about placing Birtwistle here. I do think he could see time anywhere from starting attack to the second midfield. He's a talented player, but it says something about the depth of the team that he ended up here. Cordes saw a lot of time last season (eight starts), but was perhaps a bit underwhelming with 4 goals and eight assist on 20% shooting. As a lefty though I think he'll get playing time. He has a big shot, just needs to work on accuracy. Not much of a dodger though. Cook has received a lot of criticism on here but he was a starting first line midfielder last year, so I think he gets time, at least to start next season as long as he's healthy (he said he would be ready for the start of the season recently). I see Luke Rhoa, Carter Kempney, Peter Fiorini and Blake Borges as "next man up" who have a real shot at playing time if players like Cordes and Cook struggle.

Man Up: Owen Hiltz, Alex Simmons, Finn Thomson, Joey Spallina, Cole Kirst, Luke Rhoa
Basically get all the Canadians on the field with whoever fits what they want to do. I'm not sure if Spallina is a sure thing for this unit but his passing should help. Rhoa if he's not seeing regular midfield minutes should definitely be on man-up with his big shot. I could also see Cordes or Birtwistle on this unit as well. This unit was really bad last year at only 34%. A batch of new faces is probably a good thing.

Overall Assessment: The offense should be very good next year despite losing two very good players in Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry from last year. This grouping of players just seems to "fit" a lot better. There has been a lot of talk about this being a "position-less" offense this year, similar to what other top teams have done in recent years (UVA comes to mind). So who plays midfield and who plays attack doesn't matter that much, it comes down more to pairings. I think a big question for the coaches, is it better to mix and match classes so the freshmen have older players in their grouping, or could they build more chemistry by having them all together, say an all freshmen midfield line? This is a really exciting group of players, and not just because they are bringing in a top freshmen group. Question for me is will they have the ball enough to reach their full potential?
That's a really solid offense. I would think they would wanna mix freshman with Vets. I wouldn't be suprised if a freshman ends up pushing for more mins on that 2nd line to. I like Jackson on the 2nd line they need a scorer like him. Next yr he can slide up to the 1st line when Kirst leaves.
 

Powellfan

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Face-Off: Johnny Richiusa
The biggest question marks about this years Syracuse lacrosse team are focused on the Face-off X. Jakob Phaup took every meaningful face-off for SU last year and his presumed backup, Jack Savage, left SU for non-DI lacrosse at Chapman. SU brings in Richiusa from Canisius. He had a decent freshman season for the Griffs, facing off at 50%. That would be a great percentage to get from him this year, but the talent he'll be going against goes up significantly. The ACC alone is full of elite FOGOs. The last time SU struggled at the dot, in 2021, they gave up huge goal totals. With a defense that seriously struggled last year, this could be a recipe for disaster. Hopefully Richiusa has improved this offseason. Also the unit loses it's Volunteer Assistant and FOGO-Whisperer in TD Ierelan. What sort of impact will that have?

SSDM 1: Brandon Aviles, Carter Rice
SSDM 2: Joe Bolea, Jake Murphy
SSDM 3: Max Rosa, Vinnie Trujlio
SU has struggled with SSDM play the last few seasons. This group on paper looks pretty deep with a mix of returning players, transfers and a Power 100 recruit. I thought Aviles looked very good as a freshman, took a step back in 2021 and looked back to his old self last year. Probably won't ever be an All American, but he's solid. Loves to try and cause turnovers but it seemed like he played a bit more conservative last year, which helped. Rice looked very promising last year but had his share of rookie mistakes. Bolea and Murphy from what I've seen and heard look like tough kids. Rosa plays his heart out and had a bunch of injuries last year. If he's healthy he might be a real producer for the team. This unit should have depth but they need to work on consistency.

LSM: Saam Olexo, Dylan Sageder
Olexo was a surprise starter for the Orange last year and acquainted himself well. He had an impact in the transition game with four goals and one assist last year. If there were issues it was perhaps he got a little too physical last year and led the team with 11 penalties (next closes only had six). Kind of like Aviles, probably won't ever be AA, but he's a good player. Was first among all non-fogos in groundballs last year with 46. From a recruiting perspective, Sageder is one of the most highly ranked LSM recruits that SU has ever gotten. Not much of a threat in transition but he loves harassing ball carriers. I have to imagine he gets a lot of playing time somewhere on defense.

Close Defense: Nick Caccamo, Landon Clary, Caden Kol
I am stealing this from DMV, since there doesn't seem to be a good case to disagree with him. Losing Figuerias would be a huge loss as I have to imagine he would start and play a pretty prominent role. Caccamo is a really good defensemen who I think could start for most other teams in the country. He led the team in Caused Turnovers with 24 (almost two per game) and had 39 groundballs, good for third on the team. I have to imagine he will guard the other teams top player, which I don't know is for the best. Most of his CT's came last year on picked off passes. He could still have the same impact but he might be better as a number two. Either way Syracuse has to be better against other team's "alpha". Players like Brendan Nichtern, Pat Kavanaugh, Chris Gray all put up huge points against the Orange last year. Brett Kennedy was a great player for SU the last few seasons, but being a number 1 close D man was not his best role. The question for Clary and Kol is, are they just keeping the seat warm for one of the younger players? Can they hold off a talented freshman group?

Goalie: Will Mark
After really struggling at the goalie position last year, Syracuse has really improved this spot with Mark, and a top goalie recruit in Jimmy McCool (the highest rated goalie recruit since John Galloway, I believe, for the Orange). Goaltending last year was dreadful for the Orange as Bobby Gavin and Harrison Thompson combined for a 41% save percentage. Anything has to be better than that. It wasn't all on the goalies of course last year, we've talked ad nauseum about how many missed slides, slides not taken and how often defenders were beaten last year. The whole unit has to be better, but have to imagine that goalies will be net positive after last year.

Overall Assessment: As positive as I am about the offense, I think the opposite could be said about the defense, especially with Figuerias potentially being out. He was the number 1 ranked defensive recruit after all. I do think SSDM and the goalie position has improved since last year, but has it been improved enough to offset what's going on with the face-off unit? I'm not sure it has. The SU defense was really bad last year and that was with a pretty good FOGO who was able to take pressure off them. I worry that we might return to 2021 when Phaup struggled and most ACC games ended in blowout losses. Could that change? Absolutely. I have to imagine that Mark or McCool will be an upgrade in goal. They almost certainly beat teams like Albany, Cornell, Hopkins and Army last year if they had a goalie who could stop 50%+. But a lot still depends on the faceoff dot.
 

Troughin'

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Great write up. Can absolutely not overstate the issue at X. Unless GG & Co know something that we don't, this could cost us dearly. The defense is questionable, but even if they're good, they won't be able to handle that much action. Goaltending situation looks promising, but we can't expect either guy to be making 40 saves a game.

The worst part though, is that we risk all of our offensive talent going completely to waste. If we can't get Spallina the ball to do his thing, you can bet his eye will begin to wander.

Hoping I'm wrong and the kid turns out to be a diamond (or at least nice piece of shiny sea glass) in the rough...
 

nyclax

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brown, rutgers, cornell, delaware, and notre dame were all below 50% on faceoffs last year and did ok. if the offense is efficient and the defense improved then they'll survive a subpar year at the dot. of note: UNC also lost its best faceoff guy. the orange will struggle against virginia but...we already knew that
 

315tillidie

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Great write up. Can absolutely not overstate the issue at X. Unless GG & Co know something that we don't, this could cost us dearly. The defense is questionable, but even if they're good, they won't be able to handle that much action. Goaltending situation looks promising, but we can't expect either guy to be making 40 saves a game.

The worst part though, is that we risk all of our offensive talent going completely to waste. If we can't get Spallina the ball to do his thing, you can bet his eye will begin to wander.

Hoping I'm wrong and the kid turns out to be a diamond (or at least nice piece of shiny sea glass) in the rough...
What’s the problem at X? Lol
 

NazLax30

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For those who saw the scrimmage, how far ahead would you say Fine is over the other faceoff options?
 

CuseAlum87

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For those who saw the scrimmage, how far ahead would you say Fine is over the other faceoff options?
I did not see the scrimmages, but from video clips of these and alumni scrimmage (clip of him beating
Varello clean) and some photos of practice I was wondering if he made a significant improvement since last year. He was a knee down moto grip guy when he was recruited maybe it took him a little longer to adjust. At the very least, he looks like he is pushing the others. The position is wide open maybe he takes advantage of the opportunity.
 

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