On Monday, we ranked the top 11 through 15 best seasons in Syracuse athletics history. Today, we continue our countdown with seasons 6 through 10.
Make sure to check back in next Monday as we finish out our rankings with spots 1 through 5!
10. 2008 women’s lacrosse
While the goal was no doubt to win a national championship, the 2008 women’s lacrosse team took home some silverware. ‘Cuse won the regular season Big East title and the Big East tournament that year before making a run to the final four in the NCAA tournament. They boasted a lethal scorer in Christina Dove who rewrote the record books that year with 75 goals. Katie Rowan shattered the single-season assists record as well. The season ended with an unfortunate dud against eventual national champion Northwestern, but it was a sign that Syracuse was on the verge of becoming a regular contender.
9. 2009 men’s lacrosse
In case you weren’t aware, Syracuse is actually a lacrosse school. The program’s most recent national title was not as clear cut in domination as many of the other seasons the school has put together, but it holds some special significance. ‘Cuse beat some of its biggest rivals in the NCAA tournament, topping Maryland, Duke and Cornell to seize the school’s 11th title. That championship game went into overtime as well, building up just a bit more drama before the Orange won back-to-back titles. In winning this second-straight championship, Syracuse joined Johns Hopkins as the only schools win consecutive titles on two separate occasions.
8. 2014 women’s lacrosse
There has never been a season where it was more clear that Syracuse was a top-two team in the country. The Orange went 21-3 picking up wins over both Florida and Northwestern. They reached the ACC tournament final and the NCAA tournament final. Kayla Traenor set a program record by scoring an eye-popping 79 goals that season. Unfortunately, the one team that was better than ‘Cuse that season was Maryland, who was responsible for all three of the Orange’s losses. The team held its own against the Terps in the final, but ultimately lost by three. Still, those 21 wins stand as a program record.
7. 1987 football
1987 didn’t end with a national championship for Syracuse football. It actually ended with a lot of controversy. In what should have been a glorious end to an undefeated season, Auburn decided to settle for a tie in the Peach Bowl rather than play an overtime period. I won’t get into how cowardly a move that was, but it marred what was a fantastic season for the Orange. ‘Cuse entered that game at 11-0 with wins over a number of rivals, including Penn State, Pittsburgh, Boston College and West Virginia. Quarterback Don McPherson finished as the runner up in the Heisman Trophy voting that year as well. Coach Dick MacPherson’s crew finished the season No. 4 in the AP Poll, the program’s best finish since the 1959 national championship season.
6. 1983 men’s lacrosse
This turned out to be the year that Syracuse men’s lacrosse announced itself to the rest of the country. Roy Simmons Jr.’s squad had made a Final Four run three years earlier, but seemed to head in the wrong direction after that. The Orange missed the NCAA tournament in 1982 after all. Simmons then kicked off a history run where ‘Cuse reached the Final Four in 22 straight seasons. There are much more notable teams on this list, but there is something special about the team that broke through first. Syracuse edged long-time rival Johns Hopkins to claim its first national title.
Check back in next week when we reveal our top 5 best Syracuse seasons of all time!