2013 Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic preview
The Black Knights will take on Michigan in the Men's Division 1 match-up at 7:30pm. The Syracuse Women's Lacrosse team will take on Florida at 5pm.
Orange Bowl | Staff Writer
The fastest sport on two feet will take over Sun Life Stadium this weekend as the 2013 Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic brings top collegiate talent and lacrosse legends to South Florida.
Highlighted by two Division I games on Saturday, March 2, the weekend features much more than just college action. In the first game of the doubleheader, two top-ten teams will collide as the sixth ranked Syracuse Orange will face the third ranked Florida Gators in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament Semifinal. Their last meeting went into double overtime as Syracuse rallied from a seven-goal deficit to force overtime. With two minutes remaining in the second overtime, Syracuse found the back of the net and advanced to the National Championship Game.
The Gators enter their rematch against the Orange undefeated and determined for revenge. Sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy has led the way for Florida, starting all six games and tallying a team best 16 goals on 27 shots. Syracuse meanwhile is 2-1 on the season and is coming off a big win against No. 8 Virginia. Junior attacker, Alyssa Murray has led the way for the Orange, scoring 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in just three contests.
The 2013 Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic is the fourth ever meeting between the Gators and Orange. Syracuse holds a 2-1 record in the series, having won the last two meetings between the schools.
Both head coaches, Syracuse’s Gary Gait and Florida’s Amanda O’Leary have more in common that just coaching against one another. While both are Hall of Famers, the sheer similarities in their careers are astounding. Gait and O’Leary both played Lacrosse at the collegiate level. Gait played for Syracuse from 1987-1990 and O’Leary played at Temple from 1985-1988. In 1988 both coaches (as players) won a national championship, led their teams to an undefeated season and were named national player of the year and midfielder of the year.
After extremely successful and decorated collegiate playing careers, Gait and O’Leary have seamlessly transitioned to the coaching ranks.
In the second game of the collegiate double header, the United States Military Academy and Michigan Wolverines will do battle for the first time on the lacrosse field. Michigan has faced a tough schedule this season, only its second at the Division I level. The Wolverines enter the contest with a 0-3 record including a hard-fought loss at no. 4 Johns Hopkins in their most recent game. Freshman midfielder Kyle Jackson has been Michigan’s best player thus far as he’s scored a team high seven points (six goals, one assist).
Army enters Saturday winners of two of their last three and holds a 2-2 record. The Black Knights have a big three that will take their talents to South Beach on Saturday night. Senior attacker Garrett Thul and sophomore midfielders John Glesener and Alex Newsome each have double-digit point totals this season.
This matchup pits two programs with very different histories against each other. Michigan is still a relative newcomer as a Division I program whereas Army is one of the more storied programs in lacrosse and is 4th in all-time in wins at the Division I level.
The two head coaches have also made their way to the program in very different ways. Michigan Head Coach, John Paul has been involved with Michigan lacrosse as a player and coach since 1986-87. Army Head Coach, Joe Alberici was on Duke University’s lacrosse coaching staff for nine years before becoming the head coach at Army in 2005.
Michigan attack man Josh Stauffer will make his return to South Florida where he played for The Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens.
In addition to the two NCAA games, the Orange Bowl will host a number of high school and youth games at Sun Life Stadium throughout the weekend of March 1-3. It is the second straight year the Orange Bowl and Sun Life Stadium have hosted high school and youth games.
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