MLAX : Cometti becomes offensive threat for Orange in midfield
John Desko considered the question briefly, but then dismissed the possibility.
Despite Luke Cometti’s consistent production from the second midfield line, tied for fourth on the team with seven goals, the junior transfer from Albany won’t be transitioning to the first line.
Though his production would be an asset to the starting trio, Desko said he doesn’t want to mess with a good situation.
‘I think some of the strength has been them as a unit and them all knowing each other and where they’re going to be,’ said Desko, the Syracuse head coach, after SU’s 12-10 loss to Duke last weekend. ‘Which I think for Luke to be here one year, they’ve done a remarkable job with that. It’s not like they’ve played together for three or four years.’
Cometti’s been nearly unstoppable for No. 17 Syracuse (4-4, 2-1 Big East), aggressively attacking the cage with good shots while working to create scoring opportunities for his line mates. He started the year on the Orange’s third line, but a midseason change to all three combinations placed Cometti on the second line. Right now, that’s where he’ll stay, as Desko won’t be making further changes eight games into the season.
Cometti played alongside Matt Pratt and Ryan Barber on the third line at the start of the year. The second line consisted of Steve Ianzito, Scott Loy and Henry Schoonmaker, but four games into the year, the coaching staff moved Ianzito to defensive midfield and started rotating Schoonmaker with Hakeem Lecky on the first combination.
Loy said Cometti has a high lacrosse IQ and is particularly adept at finding the open man, which has only made his line even more productive.
‘I think he’s been playing great,’ Loy said. ‘He’s a big kid who goes hard to the cage. He’s fun to play with. He always seems to find the open guy, and he’s a very unselfish player, too.’
Cometti didn’t deny thinking about the possibility of playing up on the first line, but he said it’s not something he dwells on.
‘Being one or two, it doesn’t really matter,’ Cometti said. ‘I feel like we play well together and they play well together. I’m not saying I wouldn’t play well with them or they wouldn’t play well with us. It’s just right now I feel like it’s working.’
Especially for Cometti.
The midfielder scored about seven minutes into the game against the Blue Devils, when he took a pass from Barber and sent a hard shot from 10 yards out into the cage to give the Orange a 2-1 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Cometti scored again at a crucial time for the Orange. Attack Tim Desko sent him a pass, and Cometti took the feed and threw his stick high up in the air and took a hard shot low into the net as he cut across the front of the cage to tie the game at 9.
Those were Cometti’s sixth and seventh goals of the season, tying him with JoJo Marasco for fourth most on the team. In his first season playing with the Orange, Cometti has taken on his role with ease.
He sat out last year after transferring from Albany after two seasons, where he scored 11 goals in two years. During fall practice this year – his first chance to prove himself to the SU coaches – Cometti suffered an injury to his finger and missed nearly the entire fall season.
So at the start of the spring, Cometti went to work and earned himself a spot. After not playing any games last year and then missing all of the fall, Cometti never missed a beat.
‘The setback in the fall when I hurt my finger kind of put a damper on it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to return,’ Cometti said. ‘Luckily, I’ve gotten an opportunity and it hasn’t slowed me down too much, so I’m glad.’
Cometti transferred from Albany simply because he wasn’t happy with his role. With the Orange, there has been a complete turnaround for the midfielder. He’s seeing plenty of time on the field, and his numbers show it.
Regardless of when he goes into the game, Cometti said he’ll be satisfied as long as he’s taking advantage of his minutes.
‘As long as we’re getting good runs and if we’re producing,’ Cometti said, ‘it doesn’t really matter.’
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