Cometti emerges as elite off-ball weapon for Syracuse

first_img Published on March 28, 2013 at 2:02 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+ After watching his team get beaten and bullied by Luke Cometti’s devastating cuts, Dave Pietramala had high praise.“To be honest, I think Cometti is as good an off-ball player as there is in the country right now,” said Pietramala, Johns Hopkins head coach. “We talked all week long about how to find him. We got caught up with our own guys so much early.”Cometti, a Syracuse midfielder, has developed from a talented, if somewhat disappointing, prospect during the two years he spent at Albany before transferring to SU, where he’s become the ideal complement to dodging midfielder JoJo Marasco. He has surpassed attack Derek Maltz as the No. 9 Orange’s (5-2, 2-1 Big East) leading goal-scorer with 11. He has scored a pair of goals in each game since the Blue Jays successfully held the senior to just one.Watchful eyes will again have a chance to witness Cometti’s continued growth when SU hosts Canisius (1-6, 1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.Cometti began as a star at nearby West Genesee High School in Camillus, N.Y., where he became one of the most decorated players in Central New York. He was named The Post-Standard’s CNY co-Player of the Year in 2008, and guided the Wildcats to the Class A state championship. But instead of staying in Syracuse, Cometti headed East to play with his brother Mark at Albany.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Just being around here, it wasn’t where I wanted to be right away,” Cometti said. “I wanted to kind of get out of here.”Despite the lofty expectations that came with being a high school All-American, Cometti wasted no time developing for the Great Danes. He scored six goals as a freshman and was named to the America East All-Rookie Team.Then, his growth stagnated. His goal numbers dropped. He corralled fewer ground balls. He scored just one more point as a sophomore than he did as a freshman. Struggling to fit in with Albany’s system, Cometti took a year off.He played in summer leagues and tried to stay in shape, knowing he wanted to come back.Cometti reached out to SU head coach John Desko about transferring to play for the Orange. Desko welcomed Cometti, and the midfielder transferred to SU in the fall of 2011.In 2012, he became a contributor on the Orange’s second midfield line. In 2013, he has become a star, and earned the reputation Pietramala put upon him.“Make no mistake,” Pietramala said, “I’m watching him grow right in front of your eyes.”“He’s up there,” Desko, Cometti’s current head coach, said. “We see it every day at practice, so I’m certainly not surprised by that statement.”He’s already matched his career-high in goals this season, and his midfield line of Marasco and Scott Loy has become Syracuse’s most reliable scoring group this season. Cometti likes to cut to the net and finish around the crease. Loy prefers to cut away and shoot from outside.It often surprises Marasco how easily Cometti can get open. Seemingly every time Marasco dodges, he can look and find an open Cometti.“Some of the best off-ball guys, they kind of just sit on the crease and make their great plays when they have great hands, but he’s fast, he’s got big size, he’s really smart,” Marasco said. “That’s why he’s been such a big asset for us this year.”The difference has been Desko’s system. It’s a similar strategy to the one Cometti played at West Genesee, one built on movement — cutting and constantly looking for the open spot.In two years at Albany, Cometti scored just 11 goals. He matched that in 2012 alone and in the first seven games of the 2013 season. He doesn’t lament starting at Albany, but coming to SU let him get back on track. And keep growing.“No regrets,” Cometti said, “but I am definitely glad I came here. I’ve had a blast playing here.” Commentslast_img

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