Syracuse, N.Y. -- Chase Scanlan’s early impression of the Syracuse lacrosse team last spring was similar to that of many others who compete against the Orange.
Namely, SU has some guys who know how to play the game.
“They were tough kids, really athletic,” Scanlan said. “They could play lacrosse, that’s for sure. Don’t count Syracuse out. That’s what I was thinking.”
Of course, Scanlan’s view was tipped toward the magnanimous end of the spectrum. Scanlan was a freshman midfielder for Loyola at the time, and he scored two goals as that team bounced the Orange out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
A year later, Scanlan has a much different perspective on Syracuse. SU remains every bit as talented as he recalls. But even more important, Scanlan has confirmed his sense that the SU roster is loaded with pretty good guys, a reality that bodes well for his productivity in a weighty Orange jersey as well as the team’s hopes of playing on Memorial Day weekend.
Scanlan enters the 2020 season as one of the most watched players across the sport’s landscape. Not only is he potentially one of the most destructive scorers in Division I, he eagerly takes on the responsibility of wearing SU’s fabled No. 22.
Those are pressure points that require a sound support system for even the best players. Scanlan didn’t sense that family vibe at Loyola, which is the biggest reason he’s now playing for SU instead.
And although the start of the regular spring schedule is few weeks away, Scanlan has already seen enough to feel optimistic about making himself comfy in the Orange lineup for the next three seasons.
“The atmosphere here is unbelievable. All my teammates took me in and take care of me. I look after them, they look after me,” he said. “It’s kind of that team bond that we’ve got here and that’s why I love it here. I’ve never had a thought of leaving here. And that’s why I’m really thankful that I chose Syracuse.”
Scanlan originally planned to make his debut as a college player with SU. He committed to SU out of IMG Academy in Florida but then switched to Loyola when the Orange’s financial aid package didn’t meet his needs.
Scanlan was immediately dominant, leading all Division I freshmen midfielders with 43 goals and earning Inside Lacrosse second team All-American status. But he said he felt unwelcome at Loyola, excluded from team activities by some players in what described as a divided locker room.
So he decided to transfer to SU, where a much warmer atmosphere awaited.
“We have a pretty unreal team of guys, not just lacrosse players, so that obviously helped," said SU midfielder Brendan Curry. "We just want everyone to be friends with everyone, as much as you can. We just took that mentality with Chase coming into our program.”
Scanlan first got to know many of his new teammates playing for the Burning Orange entry in the Lake Placid tournament late last summer. They bonded over barbecues and the ties strengthened in fall ball.
“He’s a great kid and it took some time for the guys at Loyola to see that, but we saw that right away,” said SU midfielder Jamie Trimboli. “It’s just asking the right questions, finding out about him, where he’s from, what his family’s like. He really liked that stuff and we love finding out about him because he’s one of the nicest, coolest kids I’ve ever met.”
Syracuse coach John Desko ensured Scanlan had an impressive wardrobe when he offered him the No. 22 jersey. The number’s been worn by some of the program’s all-time greats but had sat idle since the departure of Jordan Evans three seasons ago.
“It’s good to have back. To get a 22 out there, a lot of people look forward to that,” Desko said. “I think it just brings a little bit more excitement to our game. We’ve talked to him about (expectations) a little bit. I think he’s used to pressure. But time will tell. I think he’s up for it.”
Trimboli said he doesn’t think wearing No. 22 will add any weight to his new teammate’s shoulders.
“He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s perfect for the number because he doesn’t let anything get to his head,” Trimboli said. “He takes everything on the chin and moves forward and that’s what it takes to wear No. 22.”
Scanlan, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians Cattaraugus Reservation, simplifies his approach to the challenge.
“I work my hardest for the number. I strive to be the best person I could be,” he said.
Scanlan has more overwhelming numbers in mind, like the ones he puts up on the scoreboard. Desko and his teammates praise his shot and creativity, attributes that Scanlan sharpened with his box lacrosse background. Scanlan will move his skills up to attack to help fill some holes in the SU lineup.
“He’s great at burying the ball and that’s exactly what we need. So we’re going to put him in spots to be successful, and no doubt he will be,” Trimboli said.
“He’s obviously going to be a game-changer. He’s such a good finisher. He’s so smart on the field,” Curry said.
Scanlan is also savvy enough to avoid the topic of last year’s tournament game. He was on the right end of the scoreboard that time, but now that he’s switched sides he’s part of the mission to return Syracuse to the final four for the first time since 2013.
The Orange’s frustration in the department is now his.
“I don’t like to think about it (last year’s result) that way because these are my teammates now. I’m just looking to get better as a team and just keep striving and hopefully we’re there at the end of the year, winning,” he said. “I know they lost last year, first round. We don’t really bring it up or anything because I lost the next round so I know how it feels to lose kind of early in the playoffs. I don’t like that feeling, so I want to go further this year and hopefully win it all.”
Tag(s): Lake Placid Summit