Syracuse players packed into the basement of team manager Sam Evans’ New Jersey home. They scattered on couches, sat in chairs and sprawled across the floor. The Orange had just defeated Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium, and needed a place to watch that day’s other main lacrosse showcase. SU players tuned into ESPN’s coverage of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals between Duke and North Carolina — a thrilling 18-17 Tar Heels victory in which Duke erased a nine-goal deficit and still lost. For non-graduating players, the game was a preview of a conference they would soon join.“It was a shootout,” SU goalkeeper Dominic Lamolinara recalled. “So it was a lot of fun to watch, and I’m going to remember that for a while.”As conference realignment continues to change the landscape of collegiate athletics, most attention has been given to football and basketball — the moneymakers. When Syracuse announced it would join the ACC, most talk was about an ensuing basketball rivalry with Duke and how the football team would fare.Little attention was given to lacrosse and what has the potential to be the greatest conference ever — in any sport.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s definitely going to be the best conference in college lacrosse this year,” said Lamolinara, who played at Maryland his freshman year…This is definitely going to be an iconic year for ACC lacrosse.”No. 2 Syracuse is one of six ACC teams in Inside Lacrosse’s Top 10, and will play No. 1 Duke, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Maryland and No. 8 Virginia. “I’m very excited for the 2013-14 season and very much looking forward to playing in the ACC,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. Several factors play into why this ACC lacrosse alignment has the potential to surpass Southeastern Conference football and mid-1980s Big East basketball as the greatest conference ever assembled. Published on February 13, 2014 at 1:30 am Contact Josh: [email protected] Spencer Bodian | Staff PhotographerIt’s the traditionThe six teams that comprise the ACC have won a combined 23 national titles. The last time a team from the current makeup of the ACC wasn’t in the national championship game was 1987. But while current ACC teams have met in three of the last four national title games, Syracuse isn’t as familiar with its new conference foes. The Orange last played North Carolina in 1996. For Nicky Galasso — a Syracuse attack-midfielder who played two years at North Carolina and won the 2011 ACC Freshman of the Year award — one thing teams like Syracuse, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have in common is a strive for excellence.“Powerhouses that just do anything to win,” he said. Some of the game’s most legendary coaches have coached at these ACC schools including Hall of Famers like Syracuse’s Roy Simmons Jr. and current Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. Some of the greatest lacrosse players have coached at ACC schools, like Maryland’s Richie Moran and Bud Beardmore, both Hall of Famers, and current North Carolina coach Joe Breschi. “I think one of the greatest experiences student-athletes can have is going up to the Carrier Dome,” Breschi said. “I think it’s an awesome addition, for all of the athletics that Syracuse brings, but certainly from a lacrosse standpoint.”For Desko, traveling to Duke’s Koskinen Stadium and Virginia’s Klöckner Stadium will be just as exciting. “We’ve all played each other, certainly over the years, and they’ve all been great games,” Breschi said. “I think it really comes down to making plays in the end. And everybody has athletes to make those plays to potentially get a win. It’ll be interesting.”It’s the talentIn the 13 years the Tewaaraton Trophy has been awarded to college lacrosse’s best male and female players, eight times the male recipient has been from a school currently in the ACC. When you’re younger you want to get the opportunity to play the best college lacrosse you can. Now that we’re in the ACC, there’s no room for breathing.Nicky Galasso, SU Attack/MidfielderFive of the last six national champions are current conference members, and of the 15 coaches who have won national championships in the 42 years of the NCAA, three are active in the ACC.“It speaks volumes for the strength and the athleticism and the athletes that are playing and the coaches that are in it,” Breschi said. It’s the futureForty-two of the top-100 freshmen in the country this year attend ACC schools. Maryland has the No. 1 class in the country, and Syracuse’s Jordan Evans was the No. 1 recruit in the nation. “You never know who you’re going to play, so it’s not like we can really look back at the film from last year with these ACC teams and really know who they are,” Lamolinara said. “The bottom line is it’s just going to be a bunch of athletes, a bunch of tough guys, big guys.”It’s the here and nowFive teams in the ACC this season made the 16-team NCAA tournament field last May, the most of any conference. “I’m not sure that there’s a better league or conference or sport that has that kind of depth,” Breschi said. But after this season, Maryland will most likely join another conference. Seniors will graduate. And there’s always a possibility of new schools joining the conference. The window to become the greatest conference of all time is small. But for one year at least, the ACC lacrosse league will be special. With Syracuse and Notre Dame joining Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia — all national powers — the groundwork has been laid for some of the best lacrosse the sport has ever seen. Said Lamolinara:The ACC’s never going to be as big as it is this year. If we can get out 5-0 this year, it’s going to be something that no other team can ever match.Dominic Lamolinara, SU goalie Comments
Nenagh’s Aisling Keller finished 7th in the World Under 21 Laser Radial Championship in Nieupoort in Belgium.This follows the Lough Derg Yacht Club members silver medal in the recent European Under 21 Championship in France.