Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Syracuse Orange- Virginia Cavaliers lacrosse game. In my years as a fan, this is still one of my most memorable sporting events I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live. I showed up at the Carrier Dome because it was a battle between the top two lacrosse teams in the country. It was the season-opener for the two schools and at the time I had no idea what I was about to witness. 43 goals later, it became a legendary Syracuse game and Powell Brothers folklore.
Inside Lacrosse had a recap of the game which included links to the videos below. I’m sure quite a few of you will recognize the SUperSports moniker used for the local broadcasts in that era, and yes that is in fact Dale Drypolcher on the call for this game with Dave Ryan.
What makes this game special to me is the performance that day of Casey Powell. Of all the Syracuse Orange athletic contests that I’ve witnessed since arriving in the 315 in 1990, this ranks among the best I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just that Casey scored 13 points in one game, it was the way he took over and dominated the game like the great players do when their team needs them.
In the second half, Virginia had the lead and the Dome crowd was quiet. The Cavaliers were dominating at the face-off X and extended their advantage to 7 goals. To try and keep the Orange in the game, Powell moved back to the midfield and was used on the wing on face-offs in an attempt to gain more possessions. Syracuse chipped away and entered the 4th quarter trailing 19-15 when Casey Powell went to work.
After a Jason Gebhardt save, Powell picked up a loose ball, avoided three defenders around midfield, raced into the offensive zone and fired a behind the back laser which brought the Dome to life and ignited the Syracuse team.
Virginia still had a three-goal lead, but as you can tell by the noise made by the 10,328 in attendance, all the momentum was in Syracuse’s favor. The Orange clawed back into a tie and you just knew who was going to get the ball with the game in the balance. Casey’s final goal broke a 21-21 tie and established a Syracuse record for points in a game. Syracuse closed the game on a 10-2 run and you can tell by the reaction at the final whistle just what it meant to the players to be able to grab the win.
I’ve been in the Dome for Dwight Freeney’s 4.5 sacks on Michael Vick, Walter Reyes’ 5-TD performance against Notre Dame, and some incredible basketball games, but Casey Powell’s performance stands right with all of them. If you haven’t seen this game before, grab some popcorn and enjoy.