One to rule them all
The ACC is the conference to beat in men's lacrosse
PHILADELPHIA -- Mirror, mirror on the wall, what is the best conference of them all?
If you are talking about football, most will argue the Southeastern Conference as the fairest of them all. The numbers back up that claim: the last seven Bowl Championship Series winners all call the SEC home.
Women’s softball will crown another champion next week in Oklahoma City. Without question, it has been the former Pacific 10 and current Pac-12 Conference that has been queen of the diamond. From 2000 to 2012, the West Coasters claimed 10 NCAA titles.
The Big Ten Conference has won the last seven NCAA trophies in wrestling.
In men’s lacrosse, the Atlantic Coast Conference is the king of the land. At least one ACC team has played in the NCAA championship game 27 times in 43 years. The league owned 12 national championships entering the 2013 campaign.
Perhaps, with the tradition-rich Syracuse Orange joining the ACC in 2014, the NCAA championship should be re-named the ACC/NCAA challenge.
Syracuse has won 11 national championships – the 1990 title was vacated by the NCAA for rules violations.
Do the math and the ACC’s 2014 lineup includes programs with 24 of the 43 national titles in men’s lacrosse.
Maryland won a pair of national titles (1973 and 1975) and has advanced to the finals 11 times, including in 2011 and 2012.
Virginia owns five NCAA titles, including an all-ACC final in 2011 that saw the Cavaliers beat the Terrapins.
North Carolina has won four trophies, the last in 1991.
Lapping that list is Syracuse with 11; Roy Simmons Jr. led the Orange to six titles with Desko leading the program to five.
On Monday in Philadelphia, lacrosse got a little taste of what lies ahead as Duke beat Syracuse 16-10 in the championship game. The Blue Devils are the current kings of the ACC, advancing to the NCAA semifinals seven consecutive years. The 2013 title was the programs second in four years.
Orange senior defender Brian Megill and Duke senior midfielder Jake Tripucka would have loved to go head-to-head with Syracuse in conference play.
“It’s funny, I was joking around with the coaches early in the year about red-shirting so I could play in the ACC next year,” Megill said. “It’s going to be cool for these younger guys to get into a new conference. The ACC is just going to be a powerhouse of teams. We’ve had so many rivalries in the past; they have come to the [Carrier Dome] or we’ve gone to their place and it’s just such a hostile environment. To be able to play in the ACC against those teams and get the road trips, the plane trips, it’ll be a really cool experience for those guys.”
“I’m actually kind of jealous that I won’t be able to play them in the ACC,” Tripucka said.
Moreover, do not forget Notre Dame, also joining the league – the Blue Devils beat the Irish in the 2013 NCAA quarterfinals.
“It means we’re going to be in the single-best conference in college lacrosse,” said Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan when learning of the league affiliation last September. “It’s huge from a scheduling standpoint, from a competitive standpoint and from a recruiting standpoint. It’s a tremendously competitive league and a very exciting league to be a part of.”