Its been an active first week of May for the Orange.
Tucker Dordevic’s got company in the transfer portal.
On Wednesday afternoon, Inside Lacrosse’s Ty Xanders and Syracuse.com’s Brent Axe, respectively, reported that two more members of the Syracuse Orange have entered the transfer portal: redshirt sophomore attackman Mikey Berkman and sophomore face-off specialist Jack Savage.
.@CuseMLAX attackman Mikey Berkman has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal as a grad transfer, per a source. A starter for all but two games at attack in 2022, Berkman put up 14G/9A and was the Orange’s fourth-leading scorer. Listed as a RS-soph, he had 2 & 2 vs. UVA, 2G vs. Duke.
— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) May 4, 2022
Faceoff specialist Jack Savage from Lake Oswego, Oregon, who played in just one game this season (Holy Cross) and 3 last year, is also in the portal from @CuseMLAX
— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) May 4, 2022
Berkman, who was a sophomore eligibility-wise this past year but has been on campus for four years and will enter the portal as a grad transfer, finished fourth on the Orange in points this season with 23 on 14 goals and nine assists. He started the first 12 games of the year before being replaced in the starting lineup by Jackson Birtwistle, who thrived towards the end of the season, for the last two games.
Jack Savage appeared in only one game all season due to Jakob Phaup taking almost every face-off for SU this year. He went 8-of-14 at the dot and scored the first goal of his career in the first game of the season against Holy Cross. Last season, he appeared in three games as a true freshman.
The news of Berkman’s and Savage’s decisions means that, in all likelihood, the top four scorers (Dordevic, Brendan Curry, Owen Seebold, Berkman) and the top two face-off specialists (Phaup, Savage) from this year’s team will not be returning next season.
Berkman likely was struggling to see a path to playing time for himself next season. Between the return of Owen Hiltz and the arrival of freshman attackman Joey Spallina (5-star), Finlay Thomson (5-star) and Michael Leo (4-star), it will get awfully crowded awfully fast next year. On top of that, Jackson Birtwistle emerged at the end of this season with 13 goals in the last four games to throw himself into the mix. Berkman was surely going to have trouble finding any meaningful playing time next spring.
Savage’s departure means the Orange are going to be in the market for a brand new face-off man, which they may have been anyway with Phaup’s graduation. There was no guarantee that Savage was simply going to step in as the starter next year.
Mostly, it just re-emphasizes the point that the coaching staff is going to need to hit the transfer portal hard this summer to make sure it works in both directions for the program, and we can add FOGO to the list of needs along with the obvious defensive ones. The offseason has only just begun.
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