Syracuse's return to relevancy loses a little steam with season-ending injury to Brandon Mullins

No. 12 Orange have won last two games, but loss of Mullins (right knee) dents a defense that had surrendered just 10 goals in those wins

March 07, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

When Syracuse opened the season with a 16-15 double-overtime loss to Albany, the outlook looked bleak for the NCAA’s all-time leader in national championships. But the No. 12 Orange re-asserted themselves into the national conversation with back-to-back wins, including a 9-8 overtime decision against then-No. 11 Virginia last Friday night.

The joy from that victory may be evaporating in the wake of Thursday’s announcement by the school that sophomore defenseman Brandon Mullins will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a right knee injury in that win against the Cavaliers. The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y., was the first to report the news.

Some might wonder why the loss of a defenseman matters for a program that has long thrived on its run-and-gun style on offense. But with the absences of attackmen Nicky Galasso (broken foot) and Mike Daniello (skull fracture) already sitting out 2013, the defense had emerged as one of the team’s strengths.

After the 16-goal barrage by Albany, Syracuse surrendered just two goals in a four-goal victory over Army and then eight in the overtime decision against Virginia. In that contest, Mullins blanked junior attackman Nick O’Reilly, who had entered the game leading the Cavaliers in both assists (14) and points (21).

The Post-Standard reported that coach John Desko said that senior defenseman Kyle Carey and a trio of long-stick midfielders in senior Joe Fazio, junior Matt Harris and redshirt sophomore Peter Macartney would compete for the right to fill Mullins’ role as a starter.

The Orange’s re-tooled defense will get its first test this Saturday against St. John’s (3-1).

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