As College Lacrosse Levels the Field, Its Former Powers Aren’t Cheering

Whitey23

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As College Lacrosse Levels the Field, Its Former Powers Aren’t Cheering

SYRACUSE — Way up at the top of the Carrier Dome, a stream of national title banners serves as a reminder of the rich lacrosse tradition here. After long, cold winters in Central New York, the Syracuse Orange would win game after game, and a new banner would eventually rise.

But it’s been a while: A program with a record 22 straight Final Four appearances from 1983 to 2004 and 10 national titles hasn’t claimed the championship in a decade.

Syracuse is not alone. The last Orange championship in 2009 marked the end of an era for the Big Five powers of men’s college lacrosse: from 1978 until then, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, North Carolina and Virginia won every N.C.A.A. title; since then, they have won just two.
 

UnknownOrange

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Well this is obvious. With how much the game has grown, and how little scholarship help their is, why go to Syracuse and pay 65k-70k a year to ride the bench for a couple years, when you can go to a number of schools and pay far less or even grab part of a scholarship? What's lacrosse get right now... 12.6?
 

OrangeXtreme

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Well this is obvious. With how much the game has grown, and how little scholarship help their is, why go to Syracuse and pay 65k-70k a year to ride the bench for a couple years, when you can go to a number of schools and pay far less or even grab part of a scholarship? What's lacrosse get right now... 12.6?
12.6 scholarships divided between 40-50 players. Some players get more, some get less, some are pure walk-ons.

An in-state resident can attend UAlbany for $25k.
 

Hoo's That

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It will be interesting to see if there are any changes to the present "parity" situation once early recruiting is fully gone. Early recruiting is not "the reason" for parity, but it is "a reason" for it.
 

PhatOrange

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Well this is obvious. With how much the game has grown, and how little scholarship help their is, why go to Syracuse and pay 65k-70k a year to ride the bench for a couple years, when you can go to a number of schools and pay far less or even grab part of a scholarship? What's lacrosse get right now... 12.6?
That's all true
 

PhatOrange

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12.6 scholarships divided between 40-50 players. Some players get more, some get less, some are pure walk-ons.

An in-state resident can attend UAlbany for $25k.
and less than that if you qualify for the free tuition
 

sutomcat

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As College Lacrosse Levels the Field, Its Former Powers Aren’t Cheering

SYRACUSE — Way up at the top of the Carrier Dome, a stream of national title banners serves as a reminder of the rich lacrosse tradition here. After long, cold winters in Central New York, the Syracuse Orange would win game after game, and a new banner would eventually rise.

But it’s been a while: A program with a record 22 straight Final Four appearances from 1983 to 2004 and 10 national titles hasn’t claimed the championship in a decade.

Syracuse is not alone. The last Orange championship in 2009 marked the end of an era for the Big Five powers of men’s college lacrosse: from 1978 until then, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, North Carolina and Virginia won every N.C.A.A. title; since then, they have won just two.
Good article. The author, Matthew Gutierrez, has been writing for the Daily Orange. Looks like he is free lancing all over the place, from the Post-Standard to the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and yes, even the NY Times. Good for him.
 

SkyTopBus44

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“With this drought, little kids don’t look up to Syracuse like I looked up to Syracuse,” said Paul Carcaterra, an ESPN college lacrosse analyst who helped lead the Orange to the 1995 national title. “One Final Four in 10 years is probably a hard thing to swallow for fans in Central New York. It’s no longer Syracuse, Johns Hopkins or bust.”

This was the most upsetting part for me. I also grew up loving those dominant teams of the 80s and 90s! It seems unlikely that we will string out 2 straight final fours never mind coming close to 22 straight. Still it might be more sweet when we win this year and show the lacrosse world that we still have it!
 
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OrangeXtreme

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In the 40 year period from 1923-1962, the NY Yankees won 20 World Series titles. In the 50+ years after 1962, nobody has won 20, nobody has even won 10. The most anyone has won is 7 (it's still the Yankees), but there hasn't been one dominant team like the Bronx Bombers in over half a century.

Of course, it helped that there were only 8 teams in the AL back then, and there were no playoffs. If you won the regular season, you went directly to the World Series. Then baseball expanded and added divisional playoffs and wild card games. The road to the World Series is much harder now, and the team with the best W/L record doesn't always make it.

Syracuse has a remarkable record of 22 straight Final Fours, and 25 in 27 years. Nobody is touching that.

LAX had to go and ruin things by expanding from an East Coast game to a National one. Too many party crashers now. :(
 

Faegan

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Well this is obvious. With how much the game has grown, and how little scholarship help their is, why go to Syracuse and pay 65k-70k a year to ride the bench for a couple years, when you can go to a number of schools and pay far less or even grab part of a scholarship? What's lacrosse get right now... 12.6?
Yup.
 

SkyTopBus44

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In the 40 year period from 1923-1962, the NY Yankees won 20 World Series titles. In the 50+ years after 1962, nobody has won 20, nobody has even won 10. The most anyone has won is 7 (it's still the Yankees), but there hasn't been one dominant team like the Bronx Bombers in over half a century.

Of course, it helped that there were only 8 teams in the AL back then, and there were no playoffs. If you won the regular season, you went directly to the World Series. Then baseball expanded and added divisional playoffs and wild card games. The road to the World Series is much harder now, and the team with the best W/L record doesn't always make it.

Syracuse has a remarkable record of 22 straight Final Fours, and 25 in 27 years. Nobody is touching that.

Then LAX had to go and ruin things by expanding from an East Coast game to a National one. Too many party crashers now. :(
A first round bye certainly helped us in many years of that final four streak. The field has expanded also
 

Orangelax

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Yup.
Add to the fact that many of the SoCon schools are a little more creative with their Academic dollars. I have multiple friends whose kids chose a SoCon because the total package required them to pay less than $10k per year to send their kids to school.
 

ivorytower

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Other areas , LI, Conn. NJ, PA., Maryland to name a few are either equal or greater in talent to CNY pool whose top layer gets recruited by many top programs offering cost, academic and location advantages.

World is a smaller place with social connectivity and transportation removing past barriers amid generational norms that have changed.

Listening to recitals about past glory days without acknowledging the present environment is a bit nauseating. Syracuse lacrosse is doing just fine when viewed in proper context. The bigger challenges lie ahead , recall UCLA use to dominate basketball.

Certain improvements in certain areas will have have to be made to not only enhance but maintain what the Orange lacrosse program is which is a very competitive team in a increasingly competitive sport.
 

Whitey23

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“There’s been a drought here,” said John Desko, in his 21st season as head coach at Syracuse. “I’m a little disappointed with it. But the last couple of years, with our recruiting, playing some younger players last year, we’ve made some strides. Anybody can win. [Hats off to those guys]"
 

ForCuseSake

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I think a large contributing factor to parity is the change in stick technology (offset, pinched heads with dura-mesh and carbon fiber shafts).

It has helped the game grow like wildfire in part because the hand-eye skills required to protect the ball (and stick skills in general) are easier to develop with today's sticks.

It's no wonder CNY is producing comparatively fewer top flight Div I talents as in years past. Many larger population areas with bigger, stronger, faster kids have surpassed it because things elite players (e.g. Powells/Gaits/Grant Jrs) used to do in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s are now done in high school games simply because of the stick changes.

Now get off my lawn!!!!
 

wvlax

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Given this relatively "new" competitive environment Desko is not such a bad coach. His teams continue to make the NCAA tournament. Every year since 2007. Meanwhile, recent final four teams like North Carolina, Denver and Ohio State (2 straight years now) didn't even make the tournament this year.
 

Hoo's That

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In the 40 year period from 1923-1962, the NY Yankees won 20 World Series titles. In the 50+ years after 1962, nobody has won 20, nobody has even won 10. The most anyone has won is 7 (it's still the Yankees), but there hasn't been one dominant team like the Bronx Bombers in over half a century.

Of course, it helped that there were only 8 teams in the AL back then, and there were no playoffs. If you won the regular season, you went directly to the World Series. Then baseball expanded and added divisional playoffs and wild card games. The road to the World Series is much harder now, and the team with the best W/L record doesn't always make it.

Syracuse has a remarkable record of 22 straight Final Fours, and 25 in 27 years. Nobody is touching that.

LAX had to go and ruin things by expanding from an East Coast game to a National one. Too many party crashers now. :(
Another contributing factor to the Yankees' not winning as much is the draft; they couldn't have the pick of the litter anymore. You can look at an increased number of schools' deciding to put more money into MLax as the draft. The traditional powers didn't get the pick of the litter anymore.
 

Zack80

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I don't think Princeton was that good until Tierney got there in the 1990's, so I think his statement is a little miss leading about the Big-Five lacrosse powers. Of course, Virginia didn't win a title in that period until 1999.
 

SkyTopBus44

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I don't think Princeton was that good until Tierney got there in the 1990's, so I think his statement is a little miss leading about the Big-Five lacrosse powers. Of course, Virginia didn't win a title in that period until 1999.
You could argue that we weren't really that great until Roy Simmons Jr. got to Syracuse :)

Princeton winning that many titles for a sustained period makes them a power during the 1990s regardless of the reason in my opinion.
 

Zack80

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They were perhaps the Big Five powers of the 1990s - that is with respect to winning titles, but they were not a Big Five powers dating back to 1978, i.e., there were 3 teams from 1978 to 1990 - UNC, Hopkins, and Syracuse that won the title.

Of course, UNC dropped off in the mid-1990s, making their last final four in 1993. They did have a bit of a rise up in 1996 winning the ACC tournament
 

Alsacs

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Stories like this are why Desko deserves a longer leash than some here give him.
Lax isn’t a revenue sport and he does a good job. Now I have been frustrated but I don’t follow the program day to day stuff like the experts here. We are competitive pretty much every year. Once you make the tournament it’s all 50/50.
 

CousCuse

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If Tierney had stayed at Princeton, they would have been a dynasty equal to any of the others mentioned. It's all about the coaching.
 

Forza Azzurri

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As College Lacrosse Levels the Field, Its Former Powers Aren’t Cheering

SYRACUSE — Way up at the top of the Carrier Dome, a stream of national title banners serves as a reminder of the rich lacrosse tradition here. After long, cold winters in Central New York, the Syracuse Orange would win game after game, and a new banner would eventually rise.

But it’s been a while: A program with a record 22 straight Final Four appearances from 1983 to 2004 and 10 national titles hasn’t claimed the championship in a decade.

Syracuse is not alone. The last Orange championship in 2009 marked the end of an era for the Big Five powers of men’s college lacrosse: from 1978 until then, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, North Carolina and Virginia won every N.C.A.A. title; since then, they have won just two.
I grew up in Syracuse and played lax in high school.

I graduated SU in 1988 and moved down to NJ right outside NYC.

At the time, there were exactly two public schools and a few private schools who were playing high school lacrosse in northern NJ.

Fast forward 20 years. My daughter, who was born in 2000, was the second age group to go through our town's feeder program and that feeder program did not start until 3rd grade.

Fast forward another three years and my son started in our town's feeder program at the age of 7.

Today, the town feeder program starts at the age of 5.

And my son and daughter's high school is now a lacrosse powerhouse in NJ and regularly competes for sectional and state titles.

Now multiply that by every town up and down the east coast and now out into the midwest and other parts of the country and it is easy to see why 10 years ago was the turning point and why such parity prevails today.

And the game is absolutely killing baseball. My son absolutely loves baseball and dropped lacrosse to play baseball in high school but he is by far the exception and not the norm. My son is a three sport athlete, so he is a good athlete but I would estimate that 90% of the best athletes, who play a Spring sport at the high school, play lacrosse.

Put it all together and anyone expecting Syracuse, or any other school, to continue to be the UCLA of the 1960s when it comes to lacrosse is delusional.

One other thing. I still think that the biggest difference between lacrosse at our high school and lacrosse at a place like JD or West Genny is the coaching, not at the high school level, but in the feeder programs.

I think a team like JD would anniliate any public school in NJ and only the very best private schools in NJ, who recruit specifically for sports and, therefore, have rosters stacked with D1 and D3 talent, would be able to go toe to toe with the top NY State schools - a school like Delbarton as an example. I think that, even a top public school, such as Ridgewood, which has been sending kids to 'Cuse for decades (going all the way back to Mike Springer; the Kennedys are from Ridgewood) would get its head handed to it by JD or any other top NY State school.

My son was fortunate in that his head coach played Close D at Hofstra back in the late 80s and I played in high school but a lot of the feeder teams did not have anyone who played in high school, let alone college.

You fast forward another 10-15 years and all the "Dads and Moms" coaching their kids youth lacrosse teams will have come up through their town's feeder programs, just like my son and daughter have, and will have at least played the game in high school and many will have played in college.

At that point, places like Baltimore, Syracuse and Long Island (the three hotbeds of lacrosse when I was growing up) will no longer have ANY comparative advantage over other areas, at least on the east coast.
 
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