Syracuse Lacrosse Vs. Duke: Orange Aim For 12th National Championship

Drew Hallowell

Syracuse will be playing for its 12th National Championship on Monday afternoon (1 p.m. ET on ESPN). If the Orange are able to pull off the win, it will exorcise some past demons for a few current Orange players, especially senior midfielder JoJo Marasco.

Tradition is grand, isn't it? How nice is it for it to be Memorial Day and the Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse team is once again -- the 17th time to be exact -- playing for another National Championship at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN in Philadelphia.

Thanks to a thrilling comeback victory over Denver on Saturday, which was SU's 10th one-goal victory of the season, the top-seeded Orange (16-3) will play No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (15-5) for a chance to bring home the program's 12th title.

Along side being able to possibly raise another banner inside the Carrier Dome, senior midfielder JoJo Marasco finally gets his shot to put his National-Championship staple on wearing the No. 22 jersey -- and lets admit, that is the only one that matters.

Marasco, who broke the school record for assists by a midfielder (41), a mark that was once held by the legendary Paul Gait, had never made it to a Final Four nevertheless play for a National Championship since he arrived on campus.

For a SU player that was giving the honor of wearing No. 22, it is seemingly unheard of for that to happen. Heck, has it ever happened?

Now, Marasco, who was remarkable in SU's come-from-behind win, 9-8, over Denver, as one of his three fourth-quarter points was an assist that helped the Orange tie the game up at 8-8 with 59 seconds remaining, gets his chance to end his career on a high note.

Meanwhile, head coach John Desko can tie the Division I record for NCAA Championships (six) with a victory. Desko would move into a three-way tie with his former mentor Roy Simmons Jr. and Denver's Bill Tierney.

However, standing in Marasco's and Desko's way is Duke, which is playing in its seventh straight Final Four and looking for the program's second title.

The Blue Devils held off a hard-charging Cornell Big Red squad, which fell 16-14, to move onto its fourth National Championship appearance.

Just like the Orange, the Blue Devils use their outstanding depth to their advantage -- check out CollegeCrosse.com's full scouting reporter here -- and will be a tough out if SU wants to be the one celebrating on Lincoln Financial Field on this Memorial Day.

Overall, Syracuse is 6-3 against Duke, including a 3-1 record in NCAA Tournament play. However, last year in the NCAAs, the Blue Devils knocked out Syracuse in the first round with a 12-9 victory.

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