The men's lacrosse team is sitting at home and the men's softball team doesn't exist, so it was up to the ladies to keep the Syracuse championship aspirations alive this past weekend.
The Syracuse Orange women are off to the Final Four for the third time in five years thanks to a dramatic 17-16 victory over North Carolina on Saturday. Michelle Tumolo scored the game-winner with five seconds remaining to keep the Orange season alive in stunning fashion.
Many who watched the game or were there said it was one of the best lacrosse games, men's or women's, they'd ever seen. Judging by John's recap, I would imagine that's true. Gary Gait was fairly pleased as well...
"I’m proud of the team...They believed they could get it done. Every single player on the team stepped up at one point and made a huge play and that made the difference. They stuck together and gave themselves an opportunity to fight back and win that game. I give them all the credit, starting with Michelle Tumolo stepping up at the end."
Up next for the women? The No. 1 seed Florida Gators. The good news is, Syracuse already beat them once this season, a 12-11, double-overtime thriller. That was way back near the beginning of the season, however. A lot has changed since then.
The winner of that game will take on the winner of Northwestern (of course) and Maryland.
Syracuse is making a return to the Final Four after appearances in 2008 and 2010. They have never played for the National Title.
Meanwhile, the Syracuse softball team saw their season come to a heartbreaking end over the weekend. However, before it was over, they set a few records and made some impressive marks.
The Orange made their way into the Regional Finals with their second win over Long Beach State of the tournament. That set up a showdown with mighty Arizona State, who had beaten the Orange 2-1 earlier in the week. Syracuse defeated ASU 1-0, forcing a winner-take-all final game to be played later that day. The No. 2 Sun Devils were the highest nationally-ranked opponent Syracuse has ever defeated in program history.
Unfortunately, the rubber match was all Arizona State and the Sun Devils advanced to the Super Regionals with a 4-0 victory.
Even so, it was one of the most successful season in Syracuse softball history. 43 wins is the second-most ever for SU and, coupled with Jenna Caira's individual success and the win over the No. 2 team in the nation, it's a season that coach Leigh Ross can hang her cap on.
"I am proud of this team for going even deeper into the post-season this season," head coach Leigh Ross said. "We continue to reassure ourselves that Syracuse University can contend with anyone in the nation. We represented Syracuse well this weekend and throughout the season and I am grateful to have such an upstanding group of girls."