Syracuse sports have never been better

Sykes

Syracuse women’s basketball enjoyed a banner year last season

There’s never been a better time to be a Syracuse sports fan.

As the fall sports schedule wraps up and the winter sports get going, if you haven’t been paying attention, it’s time. Look beyond the “big” sports of football, men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse too. The Orange field hockey team is ranked No. 3 in the country. The men’s soccer team and cross country are No. 6.

These programs are coming off unprecedented success in 2015 and are well positioned again this year. The men’s cross country and field hockey squads won national championships a year ago. It was the first title for the cross country squad since 1951 and the first time it finished on a podium since 1957. Cross country also scored the 2015 ACC Championship—its fourth consecutive conference title.

Field hockey won its first national championship in program history and the first national title by a women’s team in Syracuse history. The team had a perfect 16-0 record in the regular season and was the first ACC team to sweep the conference postseason awards since 1994.

Men’s soccer advanced to the College Cup, the sport’s Final Four, for the first time in program history in 2015. It fell in a penalty-kick shootout in the semifinals.

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The 2015-2016 academic year also included a runner-up finish in women’s basketball, and trips to the Final Four in men’s basketball and women’s lacrosse.

Meanwhile, despite football’s growing pains, it’s hard not to get excited about the program’s direction. The 31-17 victory over No. 17 Virginia Tech last weekend—and Coach Dino Babers’ post-game locker room video—fired up the faithful and fringe fans alike.

And while there are a lot of question mark’s surrounding the men’s basketball team this year, there aren’t too many more times we’ll see Jim Boeheim sneering, smiling and shaking his head up and down the sidelines. You can’t dismiss another NCAA tourney run with him at the helm.

So, pay attention and cheer on the Orange. ACC championships for cross country are Oct. 28, NCAA regionals are Nov. 11 and championships Nov. 19. The men’s soccer conference championship kicks off Nov. 2 and field hockey on Nov. 3.

And tune in as the men’s and women’s basketball seasons gets underway Friday for Orange Madness.

Enjoy. It’s a golden era of Syracuse athletics.

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Dan Brannigan

About Dan Brannigan

Dan is currently the editor of Common Ground magazine for Community Associations Institute (CAI) where he has won an Association Media & Publishing award for newswriting. Dan has also won a New England Press Association award while working for the The Inquirer and Mirror in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he grew up. Dan is a 2005 Syracuse University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @djbranni.

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