Syracuse All-American defenseman Nick Mellen will undergo season-ending surgery, head coach John Desko said Thursday. Mellen was the only returning defenseman from last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament-winning team due to the graduation of stalwarts Brandon Mullins and Jay McDermott. The West Genesee (New York) High School graduate was expected to cover the best team’s offensive player in most games, Desko said.
The No. 5 Orange (1-0) now need to find its way with patchwork defensive line with Marcus Cunningham, last year’s fourth defender; Tyson Bomberry, who appeared in four total games prior to this season; and Scott Firman, a converted longstick midfielder. Freshman Nick DiPietro and redshirt freshman Andrew Helmer also played a lot defensively against Siena.
Last season, the 5-foot-9, 178-pound Mellen finished third on the team in groundballs (38) and tied for second in caused turnovers (14).
“There’s definitely always struggles when Mellen is out of the lineup,” Bomberry said. “He’s such a great player with his feet, just an all-around player.”