Since the early 80’s, an investment is a Final Four ticket was about as sure a thing as a Syracuse lacrosse fan could make. The Orange made the Final Four 22-straight years between 1983 and 2005 and had only missed the Final Four twice since ’83. Despite being the No. 2 seed this year, Syracuse will miss out on the Final Four for the third time in the last six years after losing 9-8 in double overtime to unseeded Army.
The Syracuse lacrosse team’s season ended abruptly Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when a couple of Central New York products teamed up for the winning goal with 5.7 seconds left in the second sudden-death overtime period. Army (11-5) won 9-8 before a crowd of 5,479 in the Carrier Dome and will face Cornell on Sunday at Stony Brook.
The Black Knights avenged a loss to the Orange in the regular season in what has to be one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Lacrosse Tournament history. The road just opened up great for the other favorites in the tournament, all of whom won on opening weekend.
No. 1 Virginia, in their first game since the Yeardley Love tragedy, got back to what they do best…dominating on the field. They beat over-matched Mount Saint Mary 18-4 and moved on the 2nd round. With the Orange out and proof that their heads are in the game, the Cavs are once again the clear favorite to win the tournament.
In other games:
No. 3 Maryland used a balanced attack to outlast Hofstra 11-8.
Johns Hopkins was a controversial selection based on their 7-7 record and they did nothing to prove they belonged in the tournament. No. 4 Duke blew Hopkins out 18-5 and got a modicum of revenge for all the times the Jays beat them in the tournaments’ past.
No. 5 North Carolina got a great game from Delaware. The two teams both scored six times in the first quarter, once in the second quarter and twice in the fourth quarter. It was the one extra goal the Tar Heels scored in the third that was the difference-maker as they held on for a 14-13 victory.
Notre Dame was also a controversial pick for the tournament. Unlike Hopkins, they proved their worth by upsetting No. 6 Princeton 8-5. The Irish allowed only one 2nd-half goal.
No. 7 Cornell is not only ecstatic after beating Loyola 11-10 in double overtime but also because they don’t have to see Syracuse in the 2nd round. Junior Max Feely’s first-career goal couldn’t have come at a better time.
Finally, No. 8 Stony Brook earned the right to take on mighty Virginia after topping Denver 9-7 and ending Bill Tierney’s storybook first season with the Pioneers.
Let’s take a look at the brackets for next week’s Quarterfinal round. The winners here will go on to the Final Four in Baltimore Memorial Day Weekend.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Stony Brook
No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Duke
No. 3 Maryland vs. Notre Dame
No. 7 Cornell vs. Army