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Syracuse has reached some considerable heights in collegiate sports over the last four years, including a men’s basketball Sweet 16 appearance, a women’s lacrosse national championship appearance and a football bowl game victory.
As the class of 2022’s time at Syracuse University comes to an end, relive five of the major SU sports moments from the last four years:
1. Football vs West Virginia (Dec. 28, 2018)
In 2016, SU introduced new head coach Dino Babers during a men’s basketball game. He said that the team wasn’t going to make promises, but ended his speech yelling “we will win” into the microphone. Babers’ first two seasons resulted in 4-8 finishes, but in 2018, he fulfilled his first statement with a 10-3 finish.
The Orange’s success culminated in their first bowl berth since 2013, slated against West Virginia. The Mountaineers kept the score close against Syracuse, only trailing by two at halftime. In the third quarter, West Virginia took the lead on two separate occasions with a pair of field goals.
SU erupted in the fourth quarter, outscoring West Virginia 17-0 en route to a 34-18 win.
2. Women’s basketball vs. Florida State (March 5, 2021)
In the second round of the ACC Tournament, SU trailed Florida State until the final shot of the game. The Seminoles led by 12 at halftime.
But Syracuse cut the deficit to three by the end of the third quarter. And in the final seconds of the third, Emily Engstler shot from halfcourt, beating the buzzer to bring the matchup to a one possession game. The score was a turning point for Syracuse, who went on to tie the game at 55-55 before FSU went on another run to maintain the lead.
The Orange, still down by one, inbounded the ball with five seconds left in the game, trying to set up Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi for the game-winning three. Djaldi-Tabdi airballed, but freshman Kamilla Cardoso, who finished with a team-high 16 points, put the shot back in right before the sound of the final buzzer as Syracuse advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals.
3. Men’s basketball vs West Virginia (March 21, 2021)
Syracuse faced West Virginia once on the hardwood floor during the last four years. But the Orange weren’t favored, holding the No. 11 seed against the No. 3 seed Mountaineers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Buddy Boeheim averaged 26.2 points per game in six March appearances heading into the matchup. And Buddy continued his monthly ascent with 25 points against West Virginia. SU’s supporting cast also provided an additional boost as four starters finished in double figures. Syracuse won 75-72, reaching its 24th-ever Sweet 16.
4. Women’s lacrosse vs Boston College (May 30, 2021)
After defeating Boston College 19-17, the Orange’s ACC Tournament run came up short in the conference championship game against North Carolina. But SU bounced back in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the National Championship for the first time since 2018.
Syracuse faced Boston College for the fourth time that season, going back-and-forth throughout the first half. With their weave offense, the Orange trailed by only one score at the halftime break. They had eight different goal scorers in the game.
But Charlotte North took over the game with six goals, breaking the NCAA single-season record with 102 goals. BC won 16-10 as Syracuse failed to get its first national championship.
5. Football vs Liberty (Sept. 24, 2021)
NFL scouts flooded into the Dome’s press box to catch a glimpse of quarterback Malik Willis, expecting him to erupt for the second straight year against Syracuse. Willis threw for three touchdowns and put up nearly 250 total yards of offense in 2020, leading the Flames to a 38-21 win.
But in 2021, the Orange stopped Willis, holding the future third-round NFL draft pick to 49 rushing yards while sacking him six times. Garrett Shrader was the better dual-threat quarterback, rushing for 53 yards.