Syracuse vs. Virginia. #1 vs. #2. Tomorrow, 7pm EST. Seriously, if you ever cared about lacrosse at all...you will drop what you are doing and camp out outside the Dome NOW.
If you don't know, this is kinda a big deal. In one poll, Syracuse is #1 and Virginia is #2 and in the other poll, it's swapped. Even if neither team was ranked it would still be a huge game based on the rivalry. It's a rivalry so strong that there's even a top five games in history etched out for it.
How even is the series? Check this out:
It is a moment that is defined by more than parity, although there is plenty of that - the last 21 games between the two have produced a combined score of 292-292, an average score of roughly 14-all, with SU holding an 11-10 edge. It is two teams playing the game the way it was designed to be played - fast and furious.
And remember, most of those games occurred with both teams ranked in the top ten, or in the tournament. There's no such thing as an unimportant, unexciting SU-UVA lacrosse game.
This game is even more important given the last time the two teams met...last year's Final Four:
The ringing of Ben Ruebor’s missile off the pipe rippled through Gillette Stadium, pulling Stephen Keogh off the bench. Ruebor’s point-blank shot in double overtime of the NCAA semifinals was mere centimeters away from ending SU’s season.
The buzz of the ball clanking off steel remains fresh in Keogh’s head.
“My heart dropped when they hit the post,” Keogh said. “We got the ball back and Mike Leveille did it all for us. It was an unbelievable feeling seeing that ball go into the back of the net.”
SU won the game 12-11 after rallying from a five-point deficit in the 3rd quarter and went on to win the National Championship. I'm sure Virginia spent the rest of the off-season thinking about how close they came to being there instead.
The Cavs have feasted on cupcakes so far this season to get to 4-0 so they're in for their first big test. The Orange (2-0) are coming off a hard-fought win over Army that looked a lot better on paper than it did on the field.
John Desko sums it up rather nicely:
“You’d have to be dead not to be excited for this one.”
Check your pulse, peeps.