My disdain for the antiquated, old-fashioned, good ol'boy thinking that goes into NCAA lacrosse polls is well documented on the site. The polls always seem to find a way to defy logic and favor a handful of teams over all others just because they are traditional powers. Granted, even Syracuse benefits from this, notably the year they almost made the NCAA Tournament with a .500 record. For some reason, program history and strength of schedule are far more important to voters than whether or not you actually, you know...win.
So take this week's USILA and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Polls. Syracuse dropped from #2 in both to #6 and #5 respectively. That's a 3-4 spot drop for losing to the team that is now #2 in the nation, Princeton. In one poll, that puts them a mere three spots ahead of Johns Hopkins, who is 4-4 and in the top ten. Johns Hopkins is also ranked ahead of 8-4 North Carolina, who barely just lost to the #1 team in America and, oh by the way, beat Johns Hopkins.
If a loss to the #2 team in the nation costs you four spots in the polls, and Johns Hopkins has lost four times (including three in a row), shouldn't that make them no better than #16, if that, right now? (and don't give me the schedule argument...the toughest schedule in the country doesn't mean anything if you don't win the games).
But TNIAAM, Syracuse almost lost to Loyola last week...that factors in. BUT THEY WON THE GAME! Showing a ton of heart and character, I might add. End of story. Wins matter. Except in NCAA lacrosse, where finishing 4-8 against the toughest schedule in the nation is better than going 10-2 against the 15th toughest.
Sometimes I just wish they'd blow up the whole thing and start over. Get some unbiased people in there who can make intelligent voting decisions that don't take into account how many national titles each team has. If there's anything holding the sport back it's the BCS-like way it grants favor to the old guard and effectively holds the other teams back. I know I say this as a fan of one of the biggest programs in the old guard, but I'd gladly give up the favoritism so that it can all be based on what happens on the field and not in the memories of some biased voter. (Credit to Quint Kessinich for have a more reasonable and realistic ranking, imo).
"I let the guys down on a lot of shots at the beginning of the game, and I was hoping to make some big saves at the end, and I couldn't make one," [SU goalie John] Galloway said. "And it is something we're going to have to learn from and move on from."
Though Galloway struggled for Syracuse, Fiorito played brilliantly, and the discrepancy in goalie play made the difference as No. 2 Syracuse fell to No. 5 Princeton, 12-8, Saturday at the Big City Classic here at windy Giants Stadium, in front of 22,308 fans. Galloway made seven saves in the losing effort, yielding goals to shots from all angles. Fiorito made 15 saves in the upset. Galloway has allowed 25 goals in the past two games.
The Orange were right in it until the middle of the 3rd quarter when they began a scoring drought that lasted almost 15 minutes, thanks to Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito. Dave Rahme sums up the game in one wasted sequence:
The No. 2 Orange, playing catch-up the entire game against No. 5 Princeton, had pulled within 7-6 late in the third quarter on Pat Perritt's second goal of the game and had a one-minute man-up due to a Princeton slashing penalty. It was a golden opportunity for Syracuse, which entered the game with the most potent man-up unit in Division I (16-for-24). Princeton's man-down defense was not ranked in the top 30.
The chance was wasted when a Kenny Nims pass from behind the Orange net toward the top of the box sailed over everybody's head. SU had a chance to pick up the loose ball but failed, then committed a push, giving the Tigers the ball. A moment later Brendan Reilly was behind the SU defense and taking a pass all alone on the crease, dumping a man-down goal past John Galloway.
Fear not, Cuse fans. The sky is not falling, says Rahme. The Orange ran into a red-hot goalie and the final score was not indicative of how close the game was most of the way. The Orange drop to 7-2 and now prepare to host #3 Cornell (8-1) tomorrow. No rest for the weary...
It sounded like the Big City Classic worked pretty well. Attendance is 22,308, a record for a regular season "lacrosse-only" event (Ohio State drew 29K to a game last year that preceded the football spring game). The day ended with a 10-8 win for Hofstra over Delaware. Somewhat anti-climactic given the games beforehand but certainly something for everyone.