The Syracuse Orange lacrosse teams are trending in different directions.
After picking up their fourth and fifth straight wins this past weekend against Louisville, the women’s lacrosse team retained their No. 3 ranking in both polls behind North Carolina and Northwestern.
Meanwhile, the men’s team lost their third game in their last four with an utterly embarrassing home blowout to North Carolina, 21-9. In the process, they became the first ACC men’s team to drop out of the top-10 all season, falling all the way to No. 11 in both polls.
Both teams now face top-5 tests this week as the men head down to Charlottesville for a Wahoo-rematch with the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers, and the women come back for the final two Dome games of the season against the No. 4 Boston College Eagles.
The games are crucial for both teams for very different reasons.
For the men, they are in a fight for the postseason. With only two game (currently) remaining on their schedule and a record of 5-4, the men need one win to ensure a .500 record and eligibility for the NCAA Tournament. Adding another game would afford them the leeway of not needing a win against a top-5 team to make that happen, but we still haven’t heard about any addition.
Unfortunately for the Orange, this is a completely different Virginia team from the one they beat 20-10 back in February. Despite a recent overtime loss to Duke, the Cavaliers have found their rhythm for a team that was still piecing themselves together two months ago. The most notable difference has been the contributions of perpetual All-American midfielder Dox Aitken, who barely even played in the first game as he was re-adjusting to lacrosse life after spending the fall playing (or rather practicing) football with Villanova. But Dox has found his groove and helped to re-energize this Virginia team.
They are different, they are dangerous, and they are out for revenge this Saturday, 12 PM on ESPN U.
The women, who face Boston College this Thursday and Saturday, are playing for much different stakes than the men. With an 11-1 overall record and the No. 3 ranking in the country, the women have second place in the ACC behind undefeated UNC on their mind, along with the prospect of a top-3 seed in the NCAA Tournament (top three seeds get byes in the weird, 29 team tournament format).
The only thing is, BC has the exact same goal in mind for themselves. The Eagles have identical 11-1 and 7-1 ACC records as the Orange, and have beaten all the same teams in conference with the lone loss to the same Tar Heels team. These two teams have mirrored each other all season, and now finally get a chance to go toe-to-toe on the field.
The ladies will be faced with a mighty task of trying to stop this BC offense, led by the amazingness of one Charlotte North. If you haven’t seen her this year, you’ve been missing out. In my opinion, Charlotte is the best player in the women’s game. She makes plays on the field that I don't see anybody else making, consistently. She’s a nightmare to guard individually and should be a fascinating task for the SU zone to take on. She’s not alone, either, as BC has a very talented and deep offense capable of putting up big numbers against good teams. They just scored 18 and 19 in their weekend series against a really good Notre Dame team.
This is a massive weekend for Syracuse lacrosse, and it all gets started Thursday at 6 PM on ESPN U with the first women’s game. You’ve got to love the Thursday Night Lacrosse treatment for the SU women — they deserve it.
Both teams will play dueling games at 12 PM on Saturday, so get your TV, laptop, tablet, and/or phone ready for all the action, and...
Let’s Go Orange!!!