Syracuse freshman Tucker Dordevic thrown ‘to the wolves’ as first-line midfielder

first_img Published on February 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+ Before his first game in a Syracuse uniform, Tucker Dordevic sat down at his locker. In the scrimmages prior, he cemented himself as a starter on the first midfield line. Now, there he was, less than an hour before he made his first career start.Dordevic thought about everything he had done pre-lacrosse, he said. About himself as a kid back home in Portland, Oregon, nearly 2,800 miles away from the Carrier Dome. How that has impacted him on his journey to play for a No. 16 Syracuse (1-1) team he once considered a “dream.” And how that journey involved Syracuse lacrosse legend Ryan Powell. Then, he walked out of the locker room and onto the turf field.As the opening whistle blew, Dordevic instantly found himself in a position to contribute. He was the lone freshman starting in Syracuse’s season opener against Binghamton, on an Orange offense that lost over half its points production after the graduation of Nick Mariano, Sergio Salcido and Jordan Evans.“We’re throwing him into the wolves and seeing what he can do,” Desko said after one of Syracuse’s scrimmages on Jan. 28.Fewer than six minutes into the season opener and with the Orange up 2-0, Dordevic had his first shot at making an impact.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA wide shot landed out of bounds as Stephen Rehfuss quickly rushed toward the ball to restart possession. Once play restarted, Rehfuss ran along the five-yard line and flicked the ball to an open Brad Voigt.Dordevic noticed he lost his defender mid-play, and he curled around near the 25-yard line. Voigt turned and passed to Dordevic while a pick from Nate Solomon blocked Binghamton’s long-stick midfielder Timothy Mattiace from regaining his position.Dordevic found himself all alone. He slung a sidearm shot past the outstretched Mattiace and into the top left corner of the net.“He doesn’t need as much work as I did,” Jamie Trimboli, also a midfield starter, said. “… He’s got the fastest feet I’ve seen in a while. He’s definitely a big threat.”In his first college game, Dordevic contributed a goal and an assist for Syracuse in its 21-4 rout over Binghamton. And while a 15-3 beat down by Albany the following week resulted in a pointless performance, Dordevic has already made strides as a freshman. He’s drawn comparisons to the now-sophomore Trimboli, who broke onto the starting line as a freshman.“I compare him to Jamie Trimboli a year ago,” Desko said. “Very athletic, can dodge down either alley left handed or right handed … and is a physically stronger player coming in. (He’s) ahead of his time of most freshmen coming in physically.”Gillian Farrugia | Contributing PhotographerDordevic didn’t expect to be a first-line midfielder. Back home before the season started, he wrote down that his goal was to try and make the first or even second line as a freshman. But he didn’t expect either of those goals to happen.By the end of the fall, however, the coaches began asking the players which teammates they felt comfortable playing with. A lot of them, upperclassmen included, mentioned Dordevic often.“His name kept popping up,” Desko said. “… So he made his mark fairly early.”To ready himself for college, Dordevic came to Syracuse in the summer to take classes and get in extra reps. Every day, Desko said, he’d see him playing wall ball or practice shooting. There, he could practice using his off-hand and work on stick skills, dodging and other facets of his game that needed polishing to compete with lacrosse’s best.But that progression to being one of Syracuse’s most physically ready freshmen and a quick contributor started back in Oregon, playing on Rhinos Lacrosse, a club team coached by Powell.Dordevic joined the team around third or fourth grade, Powell estimated, and he knew Dordevic would be really good at such an early age. He was much smaller than most players, but Dordevic’s athleticism and “lax rat” attitude made him stick out.“I wasn’t there to be their friend,” Powell said. “I was there to be their coach and to get the most out of them that I potentially could.”As a coach, Powell likes to instill stick work in his players from an early age. Powell often used the lessons he learned at Carthage (New York) High School, the place he developed his skills before becoming a four-time All-American and the No. 2 points leader all-time at Syracuse. That helped players like Dordevic develop into top recruits — Dordevic ranked No. 27 in this year’s freshman class.By his sophomore year, Dordevic had already committed to Delaware. He continued to play club lacrosse, but in between his sophomore and junior year, Dordevic “sprouted.” Powell watched from the sidelines at a tournament in Palm Springs, California, as Dordevic dominated the competition. After talking to some coaches, Powell came to a conclusion.“I was like, ‘Dude, this guy can play at the best Division I schools,’” Powell said. “I gotta get on the phone with Desko and make this happen.”Powell told Dordevic that, with his progress, he could play at Syracuse. With Powell’s close connection, Dordevic’s hard-working mentality and Powell being Dordevic’s coach for years, Syracuse was an attractive option, so Dordevic decided to fly out and tour the college.Powell accompanied Dordevic on that tour, watching as a kid from Oregon’s eyes “lit up” as he walked into the Carrier Dome for the first time. Watching the look on his face when he met former SU head coach Roy Simmons Jr., a five-time NCAA champion. Watching as Dordevic was “fulfilling a dream” coming to a historic program like Syracuse.“(Powell) coached me throughout my whole life,” Dordevic said. “… But this was the best thing he’s ever done for me.” Commentslast_img

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