Returning underclassmen have Orange excited for future

first_imgFor four seasons running, this year’s senior class has lost its last game to Mercyhurst.And although seniors Jenesica Drinkwater, Margot Scharfe and Brittney Krebs won’t get another shot at redemption against the Lakers, the future looks extremely bright for Syracuse (20-14-3, 9-8-3 College Hockey America).Seven of the top nine point scorers for the Orange will be returning, including the top three — sophomores Melissa Piacentini and Nicole Renault and freshman Jessica Sibley. “We have a lot of young, talented players who have already developed so much in one year,” junior Allie LaCombe said in an email. “It’s always exciting to start a new year, but next year looks especially bright.”Sibley, Larissa Martyniuk and Heather Schwarz had the strongest seasons out of the rookies, which Martyniuk credited to the expertise and guidance of this year’s large senior class.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile Sibley registered 26 points on the front line, Martyniuk provided a versatile threat on defense and Schwarz came through with timely playoff scoring.“I feel like the freshmen adapted quite well as the year went on,” Martyniuk said in an email. “We now understand what it’s like to be a student-athlete here.”With the departure of seven seniors, this year’s juniors will be asked to fill a large void both on and off the ice.The Orange graduates the program’s all-time leading goal scorer in Scharfe, along with defender Caitlin Roach, who scored 22 points this year.The leadership responsibilities will now fall on the shoulders of not only LaCombe, but also classmates Akane Hosoyamada, Julie Knerr and Kallie Goodnough. All four will step into more significant roles than they occupied this year.“We have large shoes to fill, but I have faith that our incoming senior class will do an excellent job,” LaCombe said. “We’ll try to lead by example and continue to carry traditions left by the classes before us.”The most impressive wins for SU were a trio of victories against Top-10 opponents. Multi-goal triumphs against Northeastern, Boston College and Robert Morris showed that the Orange had what it took to compete with the likes of Mercyhurst.Syracuse managed a midseason tie against the Lakers and only lost its other four games against them by a combined five goals.Despite the nearness to that elusive first victory over Mercyhurst in program history, Syracuse still fell one round short of last year’s final destination. Its 2013 CHA championship game loss to Mercyhurst was followed up with a semifinal loss in 2014.This, unfortunately, wasn’t enough for SU head coach Paul Flanagan.“Having played in the CHA championship game a year ago, our goal was to get back to that game and win it,” Flanagan said in an email. “We failed to accomplish that, so I feel we underachieved with regard to our expectations.”The Orange fell short of being satisfied, but the returning players give the team reason to expect the same, if not more, of the 2014-15 campaign.Even though the sophomore and junior classes only have four players each, the promise Flanagan has seen in this year’s freshmen and the incoming recruits is cause for optimism.“The future looks bright as we will return a strong nucleus from this year’s team for next season,” Flanagan said. “Hopefully our recruiting efforts from this past year will pay dividends with next year’s freshman class.”As is the case with any team graduating a senior class that has left a significant legacy, the returners will be called on to raise their games.And from its performance this season, Syracuse looks to be in good hands moving forward.Martyniuk said: “Just like with anything, the more you do something the better you get at it. We can only get better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 20, 2014 at 12:28 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img

Leave a Reply

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