As we continue to look at the best Syracuse Orange teams who didn’t win a National Title, today we turn our attention to men’s and women’s lacrosse.
We start with the women who have advanced to the NCAA Championship game twice in program history. Even though the 2012 Orange were the first to reach the title game, we’re going with the 2014 squad for this one. The reason was that in 2014 Syracuse recorded a record of 21-3 which is the best season in Orange history.
That year Syracuse was led by Kayla Treanor who established a new school record with 79 goals for the season. Treanor added 38 assists to giver her 117 points which is 2nd all-time at Syracuse (and a whopping 25 points off Katie Rowan’s record of 142). Alyssa Murray and Kasey Mock joined Treanor as All-Americans that season.
In their first season in the ACC, Syracuse started ranked No. 2 and won their first six games before falling to the Maryland Terrapins 12-10. The Orange then ran off eleven consecutive wins including a victory over the then #1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels to set up a rematch with Maryland in the ACC Championship. The Terps took that one 13-7 and Syracuse entered the NCAA Tournament as the 2-seed.
Syracuse posted its second-ever win over the top-ranked team in the nation when it upset No. 1 North Carolina in 2014. @unKayTrain_able scored a career-high 7⃣ goals in a 12-9 victory pic.twitter.com/e3AhVl2OeQ— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) April 13, 2020
After defeating Loyola, Stony Brook and the Boston College Eagles, Syracuse was back in the Final Four to face the Virginia Cavaliers. The Orange won that game 16-8 and advanced to play Maryland for the 3rd time that season. In the Championship game, Maryland scored the first five goals and after the Orange had scored the next four the Terps were able to head into the half with a 9-6 lead. Alyssa Murray opened the scoring in the second half but Maryland scored six of the next eight and were able to hold on for the 15-12 win. Treanor was held to just two goals on five shots and the Orange were unable to find an answer for Maryland that season.
The Syracuse men’s lacrosse team has won 11 (yes, 11) National Championships and has been runner-up six additional times. We’re taking the 1984 Orangemen as our pick for the best of the non-title teams. Syracuse was coming off the first NCAA title in school history the previous season and they ran through the regular season undefeated.
Syracuse was led by Tim Nelson that season as he established a school record with 67 assists and 103 points (the only 100+ point season in Orange history). It wasn’t just the offensive end where the Orange excelled as goalie Tom Nims had a save percentage of 70% for the year.
After winning by one goal in the opener against North Carolina the Orange won their next twelve games by at least three goals. Syracuse scored over 20 goals in six of those games as they closed the season as the top-ranked team.
The Orange faced Johns Hopkins in the title game but an injury to leading scorer Nelson put them at a disadvantage and Hopkins capitalized right away scoring the first six goals of the game. Syracuse was unable to overcome the early deficit and lost 13-10 ending a 22-game winning streak for the Orange. A final record of 15-1 for the 1984 team marks the most wins for a non-title Syracuse team which unfortunately also puts them here on this list.
I’m sure there are arguments for other teams so let’s hear your case in the comments.