Jakob Phaup’s ‘herculean’ durability leads him to SU head-to-head record


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No Syracuse player has ever taken more faceoffs in a single season than Jakob Phaup’s 419 this year. No Division I lacrosse player has taken more this year either.

And no SU player has taken on such a heavy load – back to back. As Orange’s go-to face-off specialist, Phaup has won 401 consecutive draws this season.

“That’s a crazy number,” said Jerry Ragonese, Phaup’s coach of The Faceoff Academy and a professional faceoff specialist. people don’t do that, it’s not done. When it’s done, it’s on SportsCenter and everyone loses their minds.

Phaup won’t come close to NCAA record holder Brendan Fowler, who had 526 ties for Duke in 2013. Fowler had 21 games to post the record number, averaging 25.04 per game. Phaup has played 14 games this season since the Orange missed the playoffs, where he averaged 29.93 per game.

But for Phaup, the fifth-year specialist who played the last game of his career on Sunday against Notre Dame, the workload this year has been a significant increase. In 2021, he won about two-thirds of Syracuse’s faceoffs, sharing the other third with Danny Varello. This year, he took more than 95%.

Danny Kahn | Design Editor

Phaup’s style of faceoff is one that relies heavily on the block, he says, meaning he doesn’t often win the first game and instead has to get rid of a ground ball loose or take it away from the opponent’s stick. It takes a lot more energy.

Still, Phaup made the increased workload transparent. He is tired after games but said he is always ready for every game day this season. And on top of that, Ragonese and Syracuse volunteer assistant TD Ierlan says Phaup has the toughest faceoff schedule this season in the country. He stayed solid through it all, head coach Gary Gait said.

“It’s a Herculean effort,” Ragonese said.

Before the season, Gait was adamant that Phaup would be Syracuse’s go-to player at X. In his previous seasons, the specialist split his time with Varello, who has since graduated.

But this year Phaup was ready. He trained with Mike Sisselberger (Lehigh), Nicholas Ramsey (Yale), Jamie Zusi (Penn), Luke Talago (Jacksonville), Tyler Sandoval (Princeton) and Zach Cole (Saint Joseph’s) during summer break and d ‘winter.

The group would take reps against each other for 10 minutes and then move on to a new opponent. Ragonese estimated that they would do between 200 and 500 reps during their two-hour sessions. That means Phaup had an entire rep season whenever he traveled to Philadelphia to train with them.


Danny Kahn | Design Editor

Ragonese said that doesn’t mean match days are now easy, but being in that “gravity chamber” means Phaup is certainly prepared. Ragonese recalled a session two days before Phaup’s return to SU where Ragonese, 35, said his hands hurt and he was tired. Ragonese wanted to take the day off, but Phaup was keen on training and convinced Ragonese to come anyway.

This willingness to “sit down and fight” is why Phaup has been so enduring this year, Ragonese explained. He’s basically sound but smart with his body to escape pressure, Ragonese said. This allowed him to stay healthy.

Phaup and Ragonese also analyze movies every week, and the coach said he sent Phaup particular video clips where he could save energy.

“I think his tires lost tread, but they’re not bald, that’s for sure,” Ragonese said ahead of Syracuse’s final game of the season.

Phaup won all but 19 of the faceoff reps, which came in Syracuse’s blowout 28-5 win over Holy Cross. It’s also a huge compliment for Phaup, Ragonese said, and shows how much Gait and the staff trust him. From now on, the future of the position will be in the hands of Jack Savage and Jack Fine. Phaup pointed out that both have fast hand speed and the future of the position is “bright”.

And when it comes to Phaup’s future beyond Syracuse, his stamina could translate directly to the Premier Lacrosse League, said Ragonese, a current PLL player. Phaup has not been among analyst Paul Carcaterra’s top 20 projections since early April, although that may change before the May 10 draft.

“The fact that he’s been so durable, I think, will prove huge at the next level,” Ragonese said.

Contact Roshan: [email protected] | @Roshan_f16

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