Well folks, this is the big one. The ultimate rivalry game for Syracuse, and some might say in all of college lacrosse. The rivalry truly began in 1983 with the National Championship game between the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse won that game 17-16. In 1984 the two teams again met in the Championship game with the Blue Jays besting the Orange 13-10. The regular season series seriously began in 1985 with an 8-6 Syracuse win, but once again SU and JHU found themselves in the National Championship game which ended with an 11-4 Blue Jays win.
While there is some room for debate, with 20 National Championships and 35 Championship game appearances between the two, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins are the two best programs in college lacrosse history. It's almost laughable to note that just 13 of the 44 National Championship games have not featured at least one of these two schools. It's only fitting that the two best programs in the sport have combined to make one of the greatest rivalries in the sport.
So, in case you have a Johns Hopkins fan in your life, and if you do, I'm sorry, here are some statistics and notes regarding the rivalry that you can use to beef up your knowledge and throw their way this week, and every other week if you wish.
- This will be the 53rd game between these two teams, Hopkins holds the series record at 27-24-1
- The annual season series began in 1985, but the two have met at least once every year since 1983
- The first game between the two took place on April 30, 1921 in Syracuse, NY, ending in a 4-4 tie
- Between 1930 and 1980 Hopkins went 9-0 against the Orange
- Recently the tide has turned heavily in favor of the Orange with Syracuse going 7-1 versus Hopkins since 2008
- The last time Hopkins beat SU was back in 2012, taking down the #6 Orange 11-7
- Syracuse leads 9-8-1 at home against Hopkins
- There have been nine occasions in the rivalry's history where the two teams have met twice in a season and in six of those nine seasons the teams split the season series
- Syracuse received its first USILA #1 ranking on the week of April 9, 1983; on 18 occasions Johns Hopkins and Syracuse played against each other with at least one of them being ranked #1; twelve times Syracuse has had the #1 ranking, five times Hopkins has had it and once they held a tie for the top spot; as the number one team in the country the Orange are 7-6 against the Blue Jays.
- The Jays are currently ranked 17th in the USILA poll, the last time they had that low of a ranking the week they played Syracuse was back in 1992 when neither team was ranked
- Since 1995 these two teams have played to three overtime games and one double overtime game; in OT games between the two, the series is tied at 2-2
- Since 1983 there have been 17 one-goal games between Syracuse and Hopkins; two of those came in National Championship games and one in an NCAA Quarterfinals game; Nine times the two teams played to a one-goal game while one team was ranked #1
- In 1996 Jason Gebhardt made 28 saves against Hopkins, which is tied for the sixth most in a game by a Syracuse player
- In 2011 Brian McGill grabbed five groundballs against Hopkins, which is tied for third most in a game by a Syracuse player
- In 1988 and again in 1989 John Zulberti had seven assists against Hopkins, which are tied for the seventh most in a game by a Syracuse player
- The last time a team blanked Syracuse was way back in 1931 against Hopkins
- The record for the highest save percentage of any opponent in a game in the Carrier Dome is owned by Pierce Bassett who saved .762 percent of the Syracuse shots in 2011
- Bassett also holds the record for fewest goals allowed in a game at the Carrier Dome by an opponent by allowing just five back in 2011
- National Championships: Syracuse 11, Johns Hopkins 9 legitimate National Championships but claims to have won 44 in total
- The two schools have faced each other in the National Championship five times (1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2008) with Syracuse having a slight 3-2 edge taking the 1983, 1989, and 2008 Titles
- Out of 44 Championship games, 31 have featured at least one of these schools has made an appearance in the National Title game 13
- The schools have met five times in the semifinals with SU going 3-2
- Johns Hopkins is 0-2 against Syracuse in the quarterfinals
- Overall, Syracuse is 8-4 against Hopkins in the Tournament
- Since 1979 Syracuse has only missed the NCAA Tournament in two years: 1982 and 2007
- Hopkins made its first Tournament appearance in 1971 and since then has only missed the Tournament once (2013)
- The most goals allowed against an opponent and the largest margin of defeat in a tournament game for Syracuse came in 2003 when Hopkins blew out the Orange 19-8
- The fewest goals allowed in tournament history for Syracuse came against Hopkins in 1985 when the Orange beat the Blue Jays 11-4
- Coach Desko: 17th year, 203 wins, .763 winning percentage, 5 National Titles (8 appearances)
- Coach Pietramala: 15th year, 184 wins, .710 winning percentage, 2 National Titles (4 appearances)
- Tewaaraton Trophy Winners: Syracuse: Mike Powell (2002), Mike Powell (2004), Mike Leveille (2008); Hopkins: Kyle Harrison (2005)
The Orange will take on rival Johns Hopkins Blue Jays as they return to the Carrier Dome on Saturday at 2 pm. The game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.