first_img Published on May 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm When the lacrosse season began in February, Jovan Miller was full of uncertainty. Sure, he had confidence in his team, but to say he was completely comfortable would be a stretch.At that time, the junior midfielder didn’t know much about the rest of his midfield crew.‘Up until the first game I had never played with Jeremy (Thompson), so I had no idea what it was going to be like being out there with him,’ Miller said.  ‘Me and (Max) Bartig had been competing my first two years here, so that was a bit different.’  Miller was hardly the only one in the dark. Before the first contest, more than two months ago, the biggest question mark facing the Syracuse lacrosse team was its midfield. How was the team going to replace Pat Perritt, Matt Abbott and Dan Hardy? ‘Early on, there were questions,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘To graduate five of our top six offensive middies led to a major question mark about the group.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut 13 games later, that question mark held by outsiders and insiders alike has vanished. Syracuse has lost just one game. It is No. 2 in the national polls as the postseason nears. And five of its top eight point scorers come from the midfield group.  Thompson, Bartig, Miller and Josh Amidon headline the unit.  It is a list dominated by players who lacked experience coming into the season. But a group that has collectively worked to answer any questions that lingered.   ‘All of us have the same mentality,’ Thompson said. ‘We do the extra work and hopefully it will translate over into the games.’This is a long way from where they were just one year ago. Thompson transferred from Onondaga Community College. Bartig played limited minutes in 10 games last season. Amidon played second fiddle to an all-star cast of midfielders. And Miller was more of a defensive enforcer.Now, Amidon leads the group with 25 points on the season. Thompson has 23, Miller has 18 and Bartig has 15 points. ‘It has definitely been surprising for everybody,’ Miller said. Well, not everyone.Last season’s top-scoring midfielder, Dan Hardy, was one of the few people without any questions regarding his replacements. Hardy, who graduated last year, has attended most of the Syracuse games this season and is not surprised at all with how the group has performed.‘They are at Syracuse for a reason,’ said Hardy, who now plays for the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League.The opportunities have come. And the unit has responded.  First, it was the opening game against Denver when Miller, Thompson, Amidon and Bartig all registered a goal. Next, Amidon erupted for five points in a win against Georgetown. Then under the lights against longtime rival Johns Hopkins, Bartig had his day, scoring three goals in a 10-7 win.And on a rainy night when the Orange struggled to find the back of the net against Hobart, Miller put up two goals. Thompson followed that up with a five-point performance against Villanova.‘Someone always seems to step up game to game,’ Desko said.It’s an evolution that Hardy saw in the making last season. Case by case, it was evident.  Even though Bartig did not play much through his first three seasons, in practice Hardy saw he had potential.  ‘In practice last year, Max was always the guy who would score every time he had the ball,’ Hardy said. ‘We all looked at each other like, ‘When is this going to come out in games?”With Miller, it was all about his love for the game that made him such a dangerous player, Hardy said. For Hardy, he is just another version of Matt Abbott.‘He is the best of all the middies at playing both ways,’ Hardy said.  ‘He does it all and filled the shoes of Abbott perfectly.’And Amidon reminded Hardy of himself.Hardy did not have a chance to play at Syracuse with Thompson, but he faced him on the high school circuit.‘I would always wonder how he did some of the things he does,’ Hardy said. ‘… He does everything and makes life easier for the rest of the guys.’And though Miller was unsure how things would go before the season began, Hardy had no doubts.  Said Hardy: ‘They play the exact same way we did.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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