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Syracuse Lacrosse: Senior Accomplishments Raise Bar For Next Two Classes

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I know, you're still too bummed to talk about how Syracuse marched through the 2011 NCAA Lacrosse season with what seemed like a clear path to the National Title, only to see them get cut down before they could even return to the Final Four.

And I apologize for writing all that exposition just to make that point, as I've just made you think about all of it again.

But, we have to talk about it. If only to move forward. The simple truth is, as much as the Orange dominated this year, we've known for a long time they were flawed.

They would go massive stretches without scoring, sometimes due to team's playing like a bunch of wussies (See: Maryland) and sometimes of their own accord.

And then there were face-offs. It sounds like a simple, unimportant aspect of the game, but once you realize how crucial it is to control the tempo, especially when the other team is stalling all day, you see what it means.

Dave Rahme talks about the two issues that plagued SU all season and how they came back to bite the Orange in the rind.

"They" are the lack of a dynamic go-to offensive player in the clutch and an inability to even bat .500 at the faceoff X (special teams). They were on display as early as March 19 during a 5-4 victory over Johns Hopkins and resurfaced in varying degrees for most of the rest of the season.

Regardless of intent, the bottom line is Maryland employed a formula that had given SU fits all season and finally ended its season. Sophomore Curtis Holmes won 11 of 14 faceoffs, giving Maryland a decisive eight extra possessions in a one-goal game.

And so, this senior class leaves as one of the school's most-decorated and best-ever. Because they "only" won two titles, it's hard to say they were the best senior class to suit up. The Class of 1990 ended their careers with three-straight titles. The Class of 1995 went to the National Title game all four years, winning twice, including senior year.  Same thing for the Class of 2002. (Orange Fizz discusses in more detail).

Still, you're talking about a class that leaves with more wins than another in school history (and that's quite a history). A class with two Tewaaraton Trophy nominees, numerous All-Americans and arguably the best goalie in school history. Even if they're not the greatest of all-time, they leave behind a legacy for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen following them.

And that's where the big question comes in. At least the juniors can remember what a National Title felt like, but what about this sophomore class? Two years, two early exits in the NCAA Tournament, zero Finals Fours and zero National Titles.

The last time a Syracuse lacrosse class went to less than two Final Fours in their tenure? The 1980 Class, when they were only 8 teams in the entire tournament. The last class not to make any Final Fours? 1979.

Gauntlet, thrown down. Like it or not, the pressure is on the next couple classes of Syracuse lacrosse players to reverse this trend. Fall short of the Final Four again next year and they risk being branded as "that group" that couldn't do what SU Lax is expected to do.

For juniors like Tim Desko and Tommy Palasek, there is no time for rebuilding in 2012.

Jojo Marasco wanted to wear No. 22? The burden of wearing that number means you have ridiculous expectations and when you fall short of those expectations, everyone notices. The sophomore has two years as the face of his class to sort it out.

Everyone always expects Syracuse Lacrosse to compete for titles year in and year out. As of right now, the Classes of '12 and '13 have no choice.