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Virginia, Funny Seeing You Here

Syracuse certainly has no shortage of rivals in lacrosse. It has strong in-state rivals in Colgate, Hobart and Cornell. Johns Hopkins and Princeton are synonymous in rivalry with the Orange. What's sometimes lost in the shuffle is how much of a strong rival Virginia has been over the years for the Orange.

The two teams have met 23 times. When they met earlier this season, Virginia took the 12-11 series lead after a well-played, back-and-forth game that might as well have stood as a example of how these games usually play out. They've played not only in memorable regular season games but in many a tournament game, Final Fours and even for the National Title. As recently as 2006 they've played each other in the Final Four (Virginia won 17-10 en route to the title), which was payback for 2002 when the Orange beat the Cavaliers 12-11 en route to a title of their own.

The Washington Times' D1Course Blog runs down their list of the top five games in the history of the series. They lead with 1997's uber-classic #2 Syracuse 22, #1 Virginia 21, a game I attended and have talked about before. That these two teams have met so many times in the post-season and yet two games on the list are regular season match-ups (including this season's classic) is a testament to how great this rivalry really is. You can see footage from #4 1999 match-up here and the #2 1994 match-up here.

Since 1999, anytime these two have met in the tournament, the winner has gone on to win the national title. Let's hope that trend continues. Unless Virginia wins...