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Who are Syracuse’s Olympic sports rivals?

Rivalries aren’t just for the major sports

NCAA Lacrosse: Women’s Semi Final-Maryland vs Syracuse Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As we dig into SB Nation’s rivalry week, we turn our attention to the Syracuse Orange Olympic/non-revenue sports. We’ll bring you individual posts on women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer, so let’s see which schools the other Syracuse teams should consider rivals.

Women’s Lacrosse

The Syracuse rivalry with the Maryland Terrapins added some extra juice this past spring when Maryland refused to travel north due to a winter storm forecast. So Syracuse just hopped on a bus and went down to College Park and came back with a big win. With Gary Gait having spent time on the Maryland staff before coming to Syracuse it makes sense that these two schools will maintain a healthy rivalry moving forward.

Field Hockey

A legendary athlete once claimed “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man” and for the Orange field hockey squad “the man” in their way is the North Carolina Tar Heels program. The UNC field hockey squad has won 46 games in a row and sit atop the field hockey world. Syracuse is five years removed from their National title and a big step towards getting back there is knocking off UNC.

2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Field Hockey Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Women’s Ice Hockey

In the early days of the Syracuse program, the CHA team to beat was Mercyhurst, but recently it’s the Robert Morris Colonials who’ve become the main rival on the ice. Syracuse earned their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019 when they beat the Colonials in the CHA title game.

Women’s Rowing

The Orange women compete against the Northeastern Huskies and Penn Quakers for the Orange Challenge Cup. These three schools have competed for the trophy since 1977 and is one of two trophy races that Syracuse competes in annually. The other race is the Kittell Cup which pits Syracuse against the Boston University Terriers.

Women’s Soccer

Syracuse’s searching for a rival that they can compete with on the pitch and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons seem like the right fit. The Orange got their first ACC win in two seasons when they defeated Wake in 2019. As the Syracuse team works to get closer to their ranked conference mates it would be a good start to find someone they can win against consistently.


The Orange tennis program has made strides forward in recent years and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are a team they have played some very close contests against. Syracuse was was swept by Tech just four years ago but have closed the gap since then to play much closer contests.

Women’s XC/Track

The Orange women haven’t established themselves in the ACC as well as the men but this off-season set them up with a main rival in the conference. The N.C. State Wolfpack are not only the defending ACC champions but this year they came into New York and pulled three of the top women distance runners in the state to Raleigh. Syracuse needs to stop that pipeline and pulling off an upset of the heavy favorite NC State squad this Fall would help turn some of these recruiting battles in favor of the Orange.

Cross Country: Nike Cross Nationals
National champion Katelyn Tuohy is part of NC State’s stellar xc recruiting class
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


While the Pittsburgh Panthers have been the class of the ACC recently, Syracuse has found themselves close behind the Florida State Seminoles in the last three seasons. For that reason, the Seminoles would be a good team for the Orange to take down in 2020.

Men’s Crew

The Orange crew have yearly trophy races with three schools: Navy Midshipmen (Goes Trophy), Boston University Terriers (Conlan Cup) and Dartmouth Big Green (Packard Cup). Whenever you’re racing for some hardware those have to be considered rivals.

Men’s XC/Track

Since Syracuse entered the ACC the Orange have had a target on their back. The only school to beat the Orange in an ACC cross-country championship is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and they’re the one we’d pick to be the rival. Whether it’s on the xc course or the track whenever the Orange and Irish are matched up, it means a little more.

Let us know which schools you think we missed. Are there other rivalries that need to be recognized?