Gary Gait, Tucker Dordevic preview 2022 Syracuse lacrosse season

Gait, Dordevic preview 2022 SU lacrosse season

The Orange are scheduled to play eight top 15 teams in Gait's first season as coach.
Published: January 13, 2022 | Updated: January 16th, 2022 at 9:45 am
NCAA Lacrosse: North Carolina at Syracuse
Tucker Dordevic (23), pictured here against North Carolina in 2021, is one of four Orange captains in 2022.

When Gary Gait took over as head coach of the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team in June, he made one thing clear: The goal of the team would always be to win a championship.

Gait reiterated that ambition in his first official pre-season press conference.

“Championship teams come together when players accept their roles,” Gait said. “If you’re not in it to win it, you shouldn’t be in it.”

As a player, Gait led SU to three straight titles from 1988 to 1990. He later returned to SU as head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, and after 14 seasons at the helm, he’s called the transition back to the men’s side “seamless.”

“We want to have everyone be a part of the offense,” Gait said. “Make the other team play a lot of defense.”

As practice begins for the Orange, Gait is already getting to work on molding the latest in a long line of SU lacrosse champions. He inherits a team loaded with talent, including sophomore Owen Hiltz, whose 29-goal rookie season (the 8th most goals in a single season in program history) quickly established him as the premier scoring threat for SU.

The players have noticed a change in chemistry since Gait took over. Tucker Dordevic, a redshirt junior and one of the team captains, calls this the “closest team in his life.”

“It’s a much more laid-back environment under (Gait),” Dordevic said. “He’s giving us more of a chance to have fun with the ball.

“There’s a lot of leaders on the team, not just captains. Especially the fifth-year guys who came back.”

Syracuse hosts Holy Cross on Feb. 12 in the season opener. It’s one of eight home games for the Orange, who still boast perhaps the best home-field advantage in college lacrosse.

“I think the Dome is a huge advantage for us,” Dordevic said. “Whenever we play in other places, we never see the insane amount of fans we do at the Dome.”

Other home games will be against Maryland, Army, Hobart, Duke, Cornell, Virginia, and Notre Dame. Syracuse will also face Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Stony Brook, Notre Dame, Albany, and North Carolina on the road.