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When the ball cycled to Griffin Cook by the right post, David Lipka started his sprint toward the Binghamton cage. It was Feb. 15, and Syracuse was en route to a second-straight blowout win to start its 2020 season. Cook pulled his defender away from the post and hit a cutting Lipka, who deposited his shot past the Bearcat goalie — extending the Orange’s third-quarter lead.
Lipka, one of SU’s second-line midfielders, had taken 100 minutes to score his first goal of the season. On the first line in 2019, it took just 22. When Tucker Dordevic missed all of last season with a foot injury, Lipka rose up Syracuse’s depth chart and filled in with 14 goals and 24 points.
But Dordevic returned in 2020, and Lipka slid back to the second line. He joined Lucas Quinn and Jacob Buttermore to help create what Hobart head coach Greg Raymond called the country’s best midfield. The junior entered the transfer portal May 11, though, and will play at Notre Dame for the remainder of his eligibility, Inside Lacrosse’s Ty Xanders reported Monday.
Former @CuseMLAX middie David Lipka says that he’ll join @NDlacrosse for the next two years while pursuing his MBA at Mendoza. Lipka posted 14G/10A on the Orange’s top unit in 2019, adding six points in ‘20 while running on the second line. Story coming on @Inside_Lacrosse.
— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) July 13, 2020
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Lipka is the fifth Syracuse player to transfer this offseason, joining Jared Fernandez (Johns Hopkins), Andrew and Justin Kim (Rutgers) and Sean Donnelly (Drexel). But before Lipka arrived at SU, before he scored two goals in six individual games his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, he stood 40 yards apart from his passing partner during practice at Georgetown Preparatory School.
Under head coach Kevin Giblin, Lipka did hours of fundamentals workouts, hours of tossing the ball back and forth, hours of running because of bad passes. Throw the ball too low, and he’d run a lap. Throw it with too much arc — another lap.
“There was so much pressure just to throw perfect passes so you just wanted to master the fundamentals of passing: left-handed, right-handed, stationary, on-the-move, rolling away,” Lipka said Feb. 11.
The drills helped Lipka transition to midfield after arriving at Syracuse and add a facilitating role to his goal-scoring ability. Against Colgate this season, Lipka scooped up a ground ball in the first quarter, shoved off a Raider defender while scanning the field and connected with Quinn in the left alley for a Syracuse goal.
“(Giblin’s) belief was like, you may forget the entire offense, we may shoot poorly, but we’re gonna be roping passes around the outside,” Lipka said. “If everything fails, if you’re still moving the ball, you’re gonna be effective.”
Pat March, the Orange’s offensive coordinator, helped further Lipka’s facilitating role. He wanted to prepare Lipka and the rest of Syracuse’s offense for defenders that’d approach them overzealously, biting one side too hard. March wanted them prepared to make their next move before holding possession.
But by then, Lipka had gotten caught in Syracuse’s midfield logjam. Because the NCAA granted spring athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the shortened 2020 season, the Orange will return their entire midfield group and add Owen Hiltz, the country’s No. 3 recruit.
When Lipka corralled a pass from a falling Chase Scanlan against Johns Hopkins, finishing the sequence from the middle and giving the Orange a 7-1 lead, it turned out to be Lipka’s final goal with Syracuse before transferring to its Atlantic Coast Conference rival.
He shoved off a desperation JHU check, pumped his fist and turned toward Buttermore — embracing his linemate.
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