Rivalries don’t get much bigger than the wars hashed out by Syracuse and Cornell — considered by most to have two of the top men’s lacrosse teams in upstate New York.
And when the Red heads up to the Carrier Dome tonight to visit the Orangemen, it will mark the 2001 version of the “Battle for Upstate.”
Although the schools don’t compete in the same conference, blood still boils when they meet. Contests between the pair can’t simply be considered just another game on the schedule. Instead, they must be looked at as turf wars.
“They live in our backyard,” said Cornell sophomore Chris Viola. “We go out and look for a backyard brawl.”
“We’re just down I-81 from each other,” added Syracuse’s Jason Januszkiewicz. “It’s just fun to play [Cornell].”
While Cornell’s six Ivy League games are the keys to its conference title hopes and NCAA Tournament aspirations, the annual Syracuse game will still undoubtedly be circled on the calendar in the locker room.
“It’s about upstate pride,” Red sophomore Frank Sands explained. “There’s a big tradition. It’s for pride and bragging rights.”
When Cornell takes the field tonight, many on its squad will be playing against a team they grew up supporting. The parents of sophomore J.P. Schalk — who was himself a fan of the Orange when he was young —