The Orange boasts a commendable depth of experience, with the median rotation player having participated in 48 career games. It’s a battle-tested core that understands the rigors of a demanding season. This experience is spread across the field, with 12 players having at least 30 career games to their name. The presence of 11 seniors and graduate students provides a mentoring backbone for the 9 newcomers who have yet to see game action. This blend of maturity and fresh faces brings a dynamic quality to the team, with the potential for stability along with the upside of young players who could contribute.
On the defensive end, Syracuse is set to continue its formidable presence. Returning 94% of their defensive experience is no small feat, and it speaks volumes about the continuity and understanding among the defensive unit. This is a group that ranked in the 96th percentile last season, and with the return of stalwarts like Delaney Sweitzer in goal, whose 51% save percentage was instrumental in the team’s 99th percentile ranking for save percentage, the Orange defense looks poised to remain a tough nut to crack.
Offensively, Syracuse faces the challenge of integrating new players to compensate for the significant loss of 44% of last year’s offensive production. The spotlight shines on transfers Mackenzie Rich (North Carolina) and Emma Muchnick (Maryland). They both finished 2023 in the 98th percentile for individual efficiency, albeit in smaller roles. However, questions linger around how these talents will adapt to a new system and whether they can maintain their high level of play. The offense will be anchored by returnees Emma Ward and Emma Tyrrell, who contributed 17% and 14% of last season’s offensive production, respectively. Their experience and skill will be crucial as the Orange offense, which ranked in the top percentile nationally, looks to fill the void left by key departures. The biggest loss is clearly Meaghan Tyrrell, who recorded 27% of the team’s assists while putting together a 91st percentile efficiency rating.
In the realm of draw control, the Orange are incorporating transfers to bolster a unit that already performed admirably last season, ranking in the 96th percentile for opponent-adjusted draw-control win rate. Claire Jeschke’s addition from Brown could prove invaluable as the team seeks to replace 29% of last year’s draw control production. Olivia Adamson’s return, with her elite 98th percentile ranking in draw control-related production, is a reassuring factor for the Orange’s ability to win possessions and control the pace of the game.
This season’s Syracuse roster, with its experienced core, defensive solidity, and infusion of high-caliber transfers, presents a compelling case for another championship-contending year. While the loss of offensive and draw control production is notable, the caliber of incoming talent suggests that the Orange have the pieces to not only replace but potentially enhance their output in these areas. Ultimately, this team’s ability to integrate new players into an already robust framework will be the determining factor in whether Syracuse can build upon last year’s success and vie for the ultimate prize.
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P.S. What did I miss? Data-centric analyses like this can miss things that don’t show up in the stats (i.e. injuries/coaching changes). If you can help explain any of the above, put it in the comments.