Syracuse expects significant contributions from healthy Galasso and Mullins

first_img Published on January 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm Contact Phil: | @PhilDAbb Faceoffs may not have been the only reason Syracuse fell short of a national title last year.The argument could be made that two fallen Orange studs – Nicky Galasso and Brandon Mullins — played a role. Had they been healthy, it’s possible they could have pushed SU over the brink and into the winner’s circle instead of Duke.Galasso, an attack who transferred from North Carolina, was sidelined for the season with a stress fracture in his right foot. Mullins, a starting defender, went down with a right knee injury in the Orange’s third game of the season.“At that point, if someone said we were going to be in the championship game in 2013, I might’ve disagreed,” SU head coach John Desko said, “with players like that gone.”As Syracuse begins its first season without the graduated JoJo Marasco and Brian Megill, its highly rated freshman class won’t be the only newly infused talent. The statuses of Galasso and Mullins were topics of discussion at Syracuse’s media day at Manley Field House on Monday, and the Orange has no doubts the two will be healthy enough not only to contribute, but thrive in this upcoming season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“My feet are great and I’m good to go,” Galasso said.Galasso joins a deep Orange attack that, despite the loss of Marasco, still figures to carry plenty of explosive weapons. The No. 1 high school recruit in the Class of 2010 spent his first two seasons at UNC, where he garnered the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year award and All-ACC honors.However, a foot injury limited his sophomore campaign to 13 games, and the stress fracture to his right foot last year ended his first season at SU before it began. But senior attack Derek Maltz insists Galasso is still the same high-caliber player, despite the injuries he’s suffered to both feet.“He looks great,” Maltz said. “He’s got to be one of the best playmakers I’ve ever played with. Anytime he’s out there with the ball, he makes things happen. When you have a guy like that, he makes everyone else’s jobs pretty easy.”Galasso wasn’t completely up to speed in SU’s conditioning test, Desko said, but he added that Galasso became more and more comfortable as the fall progressed. The SU coaches will treat him no differently, the head coach added, and he expects Galasso to catch up in his fitness and be one of the Orange’s go-to players on an offense that has to move on without Marasco and midfielder Luke Cometti, who scored 34 goals as a senior last year.Just as the Syracuse attack has production to replace, the Orange defense has Megill to fill in for. And Mullins’ much-anticipated return helps fill that void.Mullins, who was still in his native Texas during SU’s Media Day, was cleared in early December, Desko said, and recovered earlier than he was supposed to. Mullins hasn’t suited up yet, defender Sean Young said, but he’ll be ready for SU’s opener on Feb. 10.“Brandon’s doing great,” Maltz said. “He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever – the kid’s a freak of nature. One of the strongest kids on our team, easily one of the most athletic. He’s a beast.”The timing of the defender’s injury was “almost sickening,” Desko said, because of how much Mullins had improved with the Orange’s defensive schemes. The then-sophomore had already proved his abilities as a solid one-on-one defender, the head coach said, but Mullins’ right knee gave out at the same time he was developing his understanding of SU’s zone packages.But now, Mullins’ knee is healed and he will have another shot to establish himself as a lockdown defender, while a healthy Galasso hopes to utilize his playmaking talents for Syracuse’s attack.“I can’t wait to get back out with them this spring,” Maltz said. “I’m really looking forward to it.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more