Staats, Iacono Officialy Join Syracuse for Spring
|Two-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year Randy Staats and Nassau CC faceoff man Mike Iacono have officially joined Syracuse. (Lee Weissman)|
Syracuse announced Monday that two-time NJCAA offensive player of the year Randy Staats and another junior college All-American, faceoff specialist Mike Iacono, have officially joined the team as expected.
Staats comes to Syracuse after a standout career at nearby Onondaga Community College. Iacono played the last two seasons at Nassau Community College on Long Island. Both players are juniors and have two years of eligibility remaining.
Staats recorded 295 points (120 goals, 165 assists) in his two years at OCC, including a school-record 156 (73 goals, 83 assists) in 2013 to lead the NJCAA. The Lazers were a perfect 37-0 in Staats' two seasons and won two NJCAA national championships, beating Iacono's Nassau squad in the title game both years.
"Randy was a prolific player in junior college and we're hoping that his skills and abilities translate to the Division I level," Desko said in a press release Monday. "He's very talented. He can score. He can feed. He's got great stick skills and a great sense of the game. We scrimmaged against him in the fall and he put points up against our defense, so hopefully he'll be able to do it against other Division I defenses."
Desko will look to define a role for Staats, who joins a Syracuse team that returns its entire starting attack, a healthy Nicky Galasso and midfield pieces.
Iacono was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Nassau and was named the 2013 Region XV MVP. NJCAA faceoff statistics from last season are incomplete, but Iacono won 78 percent of his faceoffs (56-72) that were recorded. He picked up 113 ground balls for the Lions and contributed eight goals and two assists on offense.
"He's another one that great success in junior college," Desko said of Iacono. "He's pretty athletic. He has good physical size. If he can win faceoffs for us, I think he's a guy that can make good decisions with the ball in his stick and be an offensive threat."
Iacono's presence is a welcome one for Syracuse, which ranked 55th out of 63 Division I men's teams last season. The Orange reached the NCAA title game despite the deficiency, but it ultimately caught up with them in the loss to Duke and record-setting faceoff man Brendan Fowler.
Spring practice for the Orange, which is ranked second in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason poll, started last week. Syracuse opens the regular season on Feb. 10 against Siena. OCC and Nassau CC are ranked first and second, respectively, in LM's NJCAA preseason rankings.