first_imgTo avoid an upset loss to Albany, to surmount an early 6-1 deficit and to finish a game before overtime, Syracuse needed a score. With under three seconds left, it was Nate Solomon, not senior Jordan Evans, who emerged from behind the cage and hit Nick Mariano with a 10-yard pass. Syracuse’s senior stroked the game-winner.“It was a terrific feed,” 19-year SU head coach John Desko said.Syracuse lost three of its top six threats in Dylan Donahue, Tim Barber and Derek DeJoe. Solomon has pounced on the opening at starting attack, as his up-tempo ways fit SU’s run-and-gun style. If the last two games are indication, the No. 6 Orange (2-0) will rely on its youngest threat to spark an offense that’s already put up 29 goals. The budding star has scored four and assisted on a game-winner in his first two career starts. Published on February 21, 2017 at 10:09 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Asked who will replace Donahue in the quarterback role, Desko didn’t waver. That’s Jordan Evans. But then he pointed to Solomon. And even though he didn’t get a shot off all game, bullied by Albany’s defense, Solomon has deepened SU’s offensive look.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s been running the offense better,” Desko said. “It’s nice that he just seems to keep improving. The longer we have him, the better he’s going to get.”Solomon comes from an unlikely place — he’s Syracuse’s first-ever player from Georgia — but was bound for SU since former All-Americans Casey Powell and Liam Banks nurtured him. Last summer, he stayed on campus to lift and and train. He has played with the starters since fall ball.Against Siena, Solomon scored twice in transition, then twice off dodging in six-on-six settings. He’s often drawn the third defender, which has given him some wiggle room with the ball. He’s still learning the offense, Desko said, but has spotted angles and diagonals in the flow of the scheme. Through two games, he’s shown the same fearlessness and willingness to dive, run through, turn the corner and absorb checks that made him one of the most prolific high school players in the country.At Syracuse, Mariano and Evans are the known commodities. When they have the ball in their sticks, defenses slide their way, as evidenced on Solomon’s game-winning assist. A pair of Albany defenders stayed near Evans off ball, even though SU’s senior attack set the screen. That may have given Solomon and Mariano the space they needed for the game-winning catch-and-shoot.“He’s a sneaky little player,” said junior midfielder Brendan Bomberry, who leads SU with five goals. “He’s catching the defense with their heads turned. He’s helped our other guys out, creating space for them.”In practice, Solomon goes up against sophomore defender Tyson Bomberry. Around the cage, Solomon senses where Tyson Bomberry’s body motion is headed. He knows when to turn back at certain times. Or when to fake a dart toward goal, shift direction or change pace.“He’s one of the toughest guys to cover,” said Tyson Bomberry. “He’s so shifty. He’s really smart, too. He really knows how to read his defense.”Two scores in last year’s ACC tournament against eventual national champion North Carolina. Two scores versus Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals. Four more in the season opener two weeks ago, followed by an assist that set up a game-winner last weekend. All of it suggests an ever-growing role for Syracuse’s sophomore attack. Commentslast_img