The Syracuse Lacrosse program is right where it would expect to be heading into the second week of May, with both the men's and women's teams preparing to play in the NCAA Tournament. The women got there by winning 15 straight games before losing the Big East title game to Loyola of Maryland on Saturday, while the men pulled off two straight must wins by beating St. John's 12-4 in the Big East Tournament Title Game, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
"Guys really rose to the occasion," said SU Head Coach John Desko, "Our goal was to play 60 minutes of lacrosse again today and I thought we did that. It's great to win the BIG EAST Championship and it's great to be in the NCAA's again."
The men were led by senior attackman Tommy Palasek with 6 points in the championship game. The Orange knew they had to win the Big East Tournament outright after finishing the regular season with a 7-and-7 record, and earned the right to keep their season alive with two straight convincing victories.
The women, meanwhile, already knew they were in the NCAA Tournament after going undefeated in their conference schedule, but weren't able to pull off the Big East Tournament crown. A 12-4 title game loss was tough to swallow, but head coach Gary Gait says it could serve as a great lesson moving forward. He also acknowledged it was great for the Syracuse lacrosse program as a whole to have both the men and the women excited to hear their name called on "Selection Sunday".
"I congratulate John and the men's team. They showed up and they got the job done," said Gait, "That just comes from experience and knowing they're supposed to win and they went out there and did it. We don't quite have that tradition here on the women's side, I'd like to have that tradition, but we stepped on the field more expecting to win rather that going out there and knowing we're going to win and doing what it takes to get the job done. It's great for Syracuse lacrosse to have both the men and the women in, and hopefully we'll play to the end."