If you are a Syracuse Orange lacrosse fan, Sunday was arguably the best day this season. Lacrosse runs in my blood; I love the game, and I couldn't miss this opportunity. On Sunday the Dome held a triple header; two women's lacrosse games and one men's. The women faced Wagner at 12pm and then Marist at 7:30pm, the men squared off against No. 12 UAlbany at 4pm.
Just looking at these matchups you could tell it was going to be exciting. Syracuse women's lacrosse all-time leading scorer Katie Rowan made her return to the Dome as the head coach on the Wagner side. The two best New York men's teams squared off in a huge local battle. And to finish it off, Marist has a lot of Syracuse natives on their side.
Everyone experiences these games differently, and up in the press box mine might be a little different than your average fan, but I'll share the events of my day.
Wagner (12:00 p.m.):
Honestly, I was most excited for this game out of all three. How could you not love the storyline of Katie Rowan coming back to face a team she not only played for, but coached for the last three seasons before accepting the head coaching job at Wagner? Furthermore, you have Kayla Treanor in the Dome as well, the person that is most likely going to break Rowan's record of most career points and goals. It was awesome to see two of the best players in SU women's history under one roof again.
That's not the only connection: Orange assistant coach Michelle Tumolo's sister Kimmy is a captain on the Wagner team. Even though this one wasn't close (Syracuse won 16-5), these programs have close ties and it was great to see the players and coaches embracing those connections. Wagner took a picture at midfield after the game to commemorate the special moment.
After the game I went down to the press room to speak with Rowan. Despite the loss she was all smiles; happy to be back in the Dome. She's excited about this year's Syracuse squad and believes they are a strong contender for the title. Don't worry Orange fans, she may be at a different school now, but you can bet she is still rooting hard for Syracuse.
Rowan is a friend of my father and after the press conference I spoke briefly to her about my family and how they were coming to today's games. She said maybe she would come see us in the stands (sadly she didn't, she was probably busy doing lacrosse stuff.)
UAlbany (4:00 p.m.):
This was the game the public was most excited for. This was the primetime matchup. No. 3 Syracuse versus No. 12 Albany. A ranked contest with huge local ties. Whenever you get two large programs together that are from the same state, you're bound to draw a large crowd, and that's what happened. Albany, my hometown, is two hours out of Syracuse and those dedicated fans will undoubtedly make the drive to watch their team play. They came in droves. Not to mention, UAlbany has garnered a lot of local support from the Onondaga Nation after the famous Thompson brothers passed through their program.
The Dome was packed. It was a pretty evenly split crowd between the two teams. Speaking of the Onondaga Nation, at one point I was walking down the Dome corridors and passed a casual-looking Randy Staats. The former Syracuse star was decked out in orange. Even he couldn't resist coming to this game. There are few regions that are a passionate for the game of lacrosse as Syracuse and Albany so it was an exciting game with the most diehard fans in the stands.
I couldn't stay in the press box for this one, I had to be down in the bleachers and join the spectators for this powerhouse matchup. As I mentioned my family came to the game so I sat with them. Of course, they were rooting for Albany (naturally I had to root for the Orange), but I couldn't blame them. The energy was electric after each goal. A few current Syracuse women's lacrosse players that my father coached in the past stopped by to say hello as we watched the game. Another game and another Syracuse win as the Orange took down the Great Danes 16-7. No matter what side you were rooting for you saw great lacrosse with some of the most passionate fans out there. You couldn't ask for much more... Maybe an overtime-thriller, but not much more.
Marist (7:30 p.m.):
After the electric men's game, the crowd died down for the final game of the day. The SU women's team returned to face Marist. This was another game I was extremely excited for. Maybe because of the connections to the program I have. My younger sister, Ellie, is a senior in high school and a commit to the Marist women's lacrosse team. The game was a chance for our family to see the Red Foxes in action and socialize with some of the player's parents. And of course my mom had to be rooting for Marist.. Regardless of my ties to Marist, I stayed strong and stuck with the Cuse. Sorry Ellie!
However unlike myself, Syracuse attackman Dylan Donahue was in the stands rooting for his sister's team. His younger sister Riley starts at attack for the Orange and had two hat-tricks today. Like the Wagner game, this one was over pretty quickly, but it was still enjoyable to watch.
At halftime I ran into Kayla Treanor's parents. The Treanor's are another family friend of ours, Kayla and I went to the same high school. Needless to say, they were on their way out after Syracuse's 13-1 lead at halftime and Treanor was unlikely to see any more time on the field. At the final whistle the Orange won by a score of 16-5. In all three games on the day, Syracuse put up 16 goals.
If you missed this day at the Dome, you missed some great lacrosse with some great people. My day at the Dome showed me how tight-knit the lacrosse community is. No matter what sideline you're rooting for, you can always find connections to the other team. Whether it's Katie Rowan rooting for the Orange to take it all the way this year, Randy Staats walking down the hall, stopping to talk to Kayla Treanor's parents at halftime, or rooting against your sister's future team. Lacrosse brings people together.
From the start at 12 p.m. to the finish at 9 p.m., it didn't matter what college team name you had plastered across your t-shirt, everyone was there to enjoy a great day of lacrosse. And that's exactly what they got.