By Louis Milman
Last Sunday night after the NCAA Tournament bracket for Men’s Lacrosse was released, 16 teams got to work preparing for postseason play. The Syracuse Orange were not just one of those 16 teams, they were the top ranked team. Syracuse will face Siena, the MAAC conference champion in the first round in one of the only two games that feature little chance of an upset.
In the first round, Hartford will face 2nd seeded Cornell, Hofstra will travel to 3rd ranked Johns Hopkins, Penn will play at #4 Notre Dame, #5 Duke hosts Delaware, Villanova travels to #6 Denver, #7 Virginia will play Bucknell, and #8 North Carolina plays host to Maryland.
Hartford and Siena stand little chance of upsetting the top two teams, but each of the remaining games stands a reasonable chance to upset the top teams as May Madness gets underway. With a chance to face Siena, Maryland, Duke, and Cornell in succession the Orange could follow the same path to the Championship that they did in 2009.
Syracuse’s senior laden team will look to win their 3rd National Championship in 4 seasons. Goalie and Co-Captain John Galloway told the Post Standard “We had our aspirations, we didn’t tell a lot of people, but we said we’re going to go four-for-four. So to lose last year really burned inside. But you know what? Three out of four ain’t bad.” Galloway is already the only Goalie to win a National Championship in his freshman year and then ever win another one.
“I think we had a very tough schedule this year,” Syracuse coach John Desko told reporters. “I’m sure a lot of teams that made the playoffs were on our schedule. I hope that prepares us for a new season in the Tournament. I know the feeling our players had walking off the field last year. The seniors have a couple of national-championship rings on their fingers and would like another one.”
Johns Hopkins and Virginia have been said to be on highest upset alert, facing difficult outs in Hofstra and Bucknell. The NCAA Tournament is likely to be bedlam much like March Madness was this past season. Syracuse opens up the tournament Sunday at 7:30 pm in the Carrier Dome.