Tuesday’s news that North Carolina transfer and junior attackman Nicky Galasso will sit out the upcoming season because of a “lower-body injury” that requires surgery immediately makes 2013 a tough road for the Orange.
The team graduated three of its top five scorers from last year’s 9-8 squad, and two of them were starting attackmen in Tommy Palasek (24 goals and 30 assists) and Tim Desko (22, 11).
Despite the return of junior attackman Derek Maltz (28, 9) and senior midfielder JoJo Marasco (12, 19), the offense figured to be a work in progress until Galasso – the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2011 who played sparingly last season after breaking a bone in his foot the previous November – announced in the fall that he was transferring from the Tar Heels to Syracuse.
Galasso’s latest setback – Inside Lacrosse reported that he broke a bone in his other foot – puts the onus on juniors Pat Powderly (St. Paul’s) and Billy Ward, sophomore Kevin Rice, and redshirt freshman Eric DeJohn and Dylan Donahue. Those players combined to register 13 goals and nine assists in scrimmages against Hofstra and Holy Cross last Saturday, according to The Syracuse Post-Standard.
“I think we have guys who are more than capable of stepping up and filling roles,” Maltz told the newspaper. “All those guys are really stepping up and have done a great job so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do come regular season.”
Galasso was expected to fortify an Orange team that is in danger of a dubious mark. This year’s senior class is in danger of not winning a national championship since 1999 and not reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1979.
Syracuse has missed the NCAA tournament just twice since 1979, which is an enviable run for many programs. But for the program that is judged by national titles – not just tournament appearances – the odds appear to be stacking up against the Orange.