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The Excellence Of Execution

Starting today and culminating on Sunday, both sides of SU lacrosse should be able to complete what have been banner years for both programs.

The women get started today as they open the Big East Tournament in South Bend against Rutgers. It should be an easy one for the #1 seed, as Rutgers enters the game 7-9 and lost to the Orange 18-6 not long ago. The Orange also defeated the Scarlet Knights in the 1st round of the tourney last year en route to their first Big East title.

Should they win, the Orange will take on the winner of G'town/ND on Sunday. It may sound unfair for a #1 seed to possibly have to play a lower seed on their home field but hey, that's what we did last year. Fair's fair.

Before the games are played, some accolades were handed out last night. As you might imagine, SU walked away with some hardware. Record-breaking lacrosse player, athletic phenom and curer-of-all-diseases Katie Rowan was named the Big East Conference Attack Player of the Year and sophomore Lindsay Rogers received the Defensive Player of the Year award. The two were joined by quite a few other SU players on the all-conference teams:

All-BIG EAST First Team
Christina Dove, Syracuse, So., M
Liz Hogan, Syracuse, Fr., GK
Halley Quillinan, Syracuse, So., M
Lindsay Rogers, Syracuse, So., D
Katie Rowan, Syracuse, Jr., A

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Kristin Brady, Syracuse, Sr., A
Christina Gibson, Syracuse, Sr., D

Interestingly, Coach of the Year honors went to Notre Dame's Tracy Coyne and not SU's Gary Gait, who led the Orange to a perfect 5-0 conference record and a Top 3 national ranking. It's even more confusing when you realize that this season's record of 11-6 is identical to last season's record for the Irish as well. Who hates Gary Gait on that voting panel?

What about the men? They're playing for honor and redemption on Saturday, as well as a possible #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, when UMass comes to town. The Orange lost 9-7 last year to the Minutemen and as Vengeance Tour '08 continues, a win here would be the last piece of the puzzle (barring a second chance at Virginia in the Tournament).

It's also senior day and the Orange will be saying goodbye to some great players, including
• Steve Two-time caption Evan Brady, face-off specialist Danny Brennan, Tewaaraton Trophy nominee Steven Brooks, defender Kyle Guadagnolo, clutch scorer Brendan Loftus and superhero Mike Leveille.

Syracuse is 26-8 lifetime against UMass, including an 11-0 record in the Dome against them. The Orange will also be keeping a close eye on the ACC Tournament where #1 Duke, #3 Virginia, #5 Maryland and #10 North Carolina will be squaring off. If North Carolina, or possibly even Maryland could pull off the tourney win, SU could assure itself a #1 ranking in the NCAA Tournament (with the UMass win, of course).