Syracuse turns to spot-starts after injuries hit

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on September 12, 2018 at 11:27 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcClearycenter_img A few days before Syracuse matched up with Hofstra on Sept. 2, SU coaches sat Michael Lantry down in an office. Kamal Miller sustained a grade one sprain in his right knee the game before against Portland and would sit out against the Pride.Prior to the meeting, Lantry hadn’t played a minute in college and he also didn’t have a No. 19 jersey — a misorder from SU left him with only a home jersey, which forced him to switch numbers. He had a sense of what was going to happen, but the news still “surprised” him: he was going to start.“They told me don’t be nervous,” Lantry said, “it’ll be alright.”Laura Angle | Digital Design EditorAdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) has experimented with spot starts early on in the season due to injuries. Though SU head coach Ian McIntyre raved about the Orange’s depth early on in the season, SU’s hand was forced to use its reserves early on as Miller and, more recently SU points leader Tajon Buchanan, went down with knee injuries in the early part of the schedule.Both missed just one game each — Buchanan missed SU’s matchup with Cornell — and it resulted in starts from Lantry and freshman Hilli Goldhar, respectively. John-Austin Ricks made his first start of the season against Hofstra and SU employed four players on defense when Jan Breitenmoser sustained a hyperextended knee. Lantry filled in Breitenmoser’s position and Sondre Norheim slid to center back in place of Miller, leaving Ricks to start at right back.“We’ve kind of had to chop and change a bit,” McIntyre said. “We have some different players, like my dad used to say, ‘Horses for courses.’ We can kind of shuffle the deck a little bit. Sometimes you’re forced to.”SU has received mixed performances in the trials. Against Hofstra, the duo of Ricks and Lantry had noticeable lapses. Ricks missed multiple headers and even whiffed on a clear attempt near midfield, all of which led to Pride possessions. Two of those mistakes resulted in goals, albeit on both multiple SU defenders had opportunities at the ball.Lantry held his own, yet the vocal differences were apparent, Miller said. Miller, who said that vocality is perhaps the most important part of the success of the defense, noted that Lantry is currently one of the quieter players on the field.Lantry said he was tired, too. By the end of the half, he noticed he was slowing down. It was a hot day, and Hofstra is a tough opponent for a debut, Miller said. Lantry didn’t anticipate the physicality the college game would bring. A center back in his high school and club playing years, the converted left back had to do one thing more than he ever has before: Run.“He played well. We won,” Breitenmoser said. “Everything’s fine.”Despite the learning curve for some, Goldhar found much more comfort in his debut. Already having recorded his first career goal — a go-ahead goal the same day Lantry and Ricks received their starts against the Pride — Goldhar assisted on a goal in the eighth minute against Cornell by fellow-freshman forward Ryan Raposo.Goldhar said he didn’t get a meeting with the coaches. He just saw his name in the starting lineup the day before. Goldhar and Breitenmoser both acknowledged SU strategizes on a game-to-game basis. Now, injuries have opened spots up. The mindset is no different.“Just get the job done,” Goldhar said.As SU lined up its starters for introductions against the Pride, Lantry stood alongside his teammates in relative anonymity. The freshman was making his first start, his first playing appearance and his No. 26 jersey was unverifiable on SU’s roster at the time of the game.At the time, he didn’t expect it to be a weekly thing — Lantry hasn’t played a minute in a game since playing over 60 minutes against the Pride — but even without the matching number on his backpack to prove it, one thing was for certain.“So … I’m 26,” Lantry said. “Not a big deal.”last_img

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