I can’t predict what the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team will do when it plays in the Final Four this coming weekend in Philadelphia. But after four years, which is a century in Syracuse men’s lacrosse years, the Orange is back in the Final Four.
I’m not really a senior anymore, considering I graduated from SU a week and a half ago. But to have the men’s lacrosse team reach the Final Four in a season that was played throughout my senior year is fitting for the last four years of Syracuse sports. I’ll get to basketball and football (and the other sports) in a bit, but let me take you back to Memorial Day weekend 2009 for a minute.
The men’s lax team, of course, won the title that weekend, its second straight. I was going to be a freshman in the fall, and it was the first sport I rooted for at Syracuse (yes, even before basketball). But in my four years at Syracuse, the team either performed superbly in the regular season and flamed in the Tournament, or just didn’t live up to the Syracuse lacrosse name.
But now, four years later, the Orange has returned to the Final Four. I’m now looking back at Syracuse with fondness in 2013, and not forward like 2009. But we can hope to have the same result—a championship. It would make sense.
This year was perhaps the best year in perhaps one of the best four-year spans in Syracuse athletic history. What can I say, the Class of 2013 has some luck to it. Final Fours in men’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse and field hockey. A women’s basketball trip to the NCAA Tournament. A bowl win for football.
There has been constant success among all SU teams in the four years I spent in Syracuse. An amazing period for men’s basketball, a resurgence in football, and finally a run in men’s lacrosse this year, the three most popular sports at Syracuse.
This year was the year all three came together, especially men’s basketball and football. When the basketball team earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament my freshman year, the football team was 4-8. When the football team won the Pinstripe Bowl my sophomore year, the basketball team bowed out in the second round of the Tourney. And in my junior year, when the men’s basketball team went to the Elite 8 as a No. 1 seed, the football team free-fell and finished 5-7.
This year, I didn’t expect the football team to go 7-5, win the Pinstripe Bowl over West Virginia, and have Ryan Nassib set records. I didn’t expect the men’s basketball team, with the loss of four key players and a tailspin-end of a regular season, to make the Final Four. And I didn’t expect the men’s lacrosse team to make the Final Four. But I still never lost faith. When the football team got off to a slow start, I knew they could turn it around. When the men’s basketball team swept away a disappointing end to the regular season with a gutsy Big East tournament run, I knew they had an NCAA Tournament run in them.
So regardless of what happens in the men’s lacrosse Final Four (or the women’s), these past four years in Syracuse athletics have been pretty darn good (we’re talking on the field, not off the field, because that’s been quite a trip).
The men’s basketball Final Four trip was icing on the cake of my four years rooting for Syracuse. I hope the incoming freshman get to see a men’s lacrosse championship like I did those four years ago.
I hope they see a win that will propel the Orange to another successful four years (but this time, in the ACC), on the court and field. I’ll still be rooting for SU, just no longer from the student section.