Syracuse looks to build on historic season when it opens 2013 against Colgate

first_imgSyracuse takes things one game at a time.That’s the way head coach Ian McIntyre, entering his fourth season as the head coach, likes to operate. No looking ahead. No worrying about a task unless it’s the next one the Orange will face.But when asked about his expectations heading into the 2013 season, he couldn’t help pondering the future.“As coaches we talk a lot about wins and losses,” McIntyre said. “But this year we are going to try and build a special program, not just a special team.”On the heels of the best season in program history, SU is in prime position to turn McIntyre’s blissful vision into a reality.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFriday, the No. 20 Orange will open its season against Colgate at Van Doren Field in Hamilton, N.Y. With its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead, McIntyre sees the early-season schedule as a chance to fine tune before the start of conference play.“We have a lot of talent on this roster right now,” McIntyre said, “and these games at the beginning of the season are a great opportunity to show what we can do and learn how to play with each other.”Last year’s results are staggering.After finishing 3-12-1 in 2011, the Orange bounced back with a 14-6-1 campaign. SU’s plus-8.5 win-loss improvement over the two seasons made it the most improved team in the nation in 2012.Then the Orange won its first two NCAA tournament games in program history, defeating Cornell in the first round and Virginia Commonwealth in the second. Syracuse fell to eventual national runner-up Georgetown in the Sweet 16.“To do what we did last year, that’s going to be a big ask,” McIntyre said. “We are going to be competing against the very best teams and players in the country.”For the Orange, avoiding the proverbial plateau is on the laundry list. Yet sustaining success while transitioning into the ACC isn’t a small order.Syracuse will face four teams with higher rankings in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. That list includes No. 2 Maryland, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 17 Wake Forest. The Orange will also play No. 25 Virginia.And if this wasn’t enough, SU will have to continue without its top five points leaders from a season ago. Ted Cribley, Louis Clark and Lars Muller graduated last spring. Jordan Vale transferred to UCLA. And junior Tony Asante will likely miss the entire season with a torn ACL.That leaves sophomore Stefanos Stamoulacatos, junior Nick Perea and a slew of underclassmen to shoulder the scoring load. But McIntyre said the team will address this issue by committee.“It’s going to be important to share that role,” he said. “We won’t have someone scoring 15-to-20 goals, and there are some young new guys that could step up.”For a program that has turned itself around in emphatic fashion, the odds are stacked against it in 2013. Yet McIntyre is confident that when things play out, the Orange will be left with satisfying results that should keep it moving in its current direction.When SU jogs out against Colgate, the next chapter will begin and while it may be more strenuous than the one before, it’s no less monumental.“This is a big year, no doubt about it,” McIntyre said. “But all those other things will take care of themselves. The results will be a product of how hard we train.” Comments Published on August 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *