Over the past two weeks, Boston College and Syracuse University have locked horns on the fields of battle no fewer than four times, and if the competition level is any indication, this season's Orange Eagle Trophy might just go down to the wire.
Relying heavily on their nationally top-5 ranked men's soccer and cross country teams, Syracuse captured their first lead in this year's trophy competition. Yet off the back of an exceptionally strong showing by the BC women's harriers, it is clear that the Eagles are up for a fight as they look to grab the "badass bird of prey" back from the clutches of their hated rival.
As of November 11, the score stands at 30-21. Let's see how we got there:
October 31, ACC Cross Country Championships
Men's Cross Country: SU (32 points - ACC Champions), BC (435 points)
During the 2013-2014 Orange Eagle Competition, SU took hold of the lead at the ACC Cross Country Championships and never looked back, as both the men's and women's teams walked away with victories over BC. The victories were highlighted by SU's first-ever ACC championship, which carried valuable OET bonus points.
In 2014, the SU men repeated their feat in convincing style on a fast course in Charlottesville. Led by ACC individual champion Martin Hehir, and 3rd-placed finisher Max Straneva, The Orange laid waste to the ACC field grabbing 5 of the top 11 places for an amazing 32-point performance and 12 Orange Eagle points.
Women's Cross Country: BC (162 points*), SU (162 points) * BC wins by having highest-paced individual finisher
162 - 162. In what will likely go down in the annals as the closest ever OET matchup, BC and SU literally matched each other stride-for-stride during the 2014 ACC Championship. The difference between the two teams was a 5'5" bundle of French fabulousness--Liv Westphal--who broke the tie by doing nothing other than winning the individual ACC title in a blazing 19:43, 14 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. SU's Margo Malone finished third, but it was Westphal's performance that muted SU's XC dominance and grabbed the Eagles a valuable 6 OET points in the process.
October 31, Men's Soccer: SU 2, BC 1 (OT)
In front of a festive Senior Night crowd, the then-#3 Orange used a 103rd minute goal from MLS prospect defender Skylar Thomas to take out the tough Eagles and grab the final 6 Orange Eagle points on a frantic day of action between the two schools. BC handled SU's initial pressure, and grabbed a shock lead just 11 minutes into the opening half as midfielder Diego Medina-Mendez's difficult cross evaded not only his intended target, but also the entire SU defense, allowing the ball to find the net.
Undeterred, the Orange answered back in the 29th minute at the penalty spot as Oyvind Alseth was scythed down in the penalty box. Nick Perea converted the resulting spot kick, and both teams remained level through regular time. In OT, SU piled on the pressure, with Alex Halis hitting the post in the 93rd minute. Alex Kapp and the BC defense continued to handle the Orange attack, but in the 103rd minute Kapp's save off a Halis blast fell to the feet of Thomas, who buried the ball into the empty net to send Orange fans Trick-or-Treating with a valuable win.
Nov 6, Field Hockey: SU 5, BC 2 (ACC Tournament)
Exacting revenge for a 2-1 OT loss to the Eagles earlier in the season, SU used a record-setting night by forward Emma Russell to overwhelm their rivals and grab 6 more Orange Eagle points for the Orange in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament. Russell scored in the first, 33rd, 59th and 66th minutes to lead SU on a blitz of the Eagle goal and set a single game ACC Tournament record for most goals. Despite the scoreline, the two teams were exceptionally well matched, and a quick glance at the NCAA Tournament bracket indicates that victories in their opening round matches will see these nationally-ranked rivals completing an Orange Eagle trilogy of sorts. Bring it on!
So with the completion of play, SU holds a 9-point lead over BC with a 3 point Volleyball matchup next on November 16th, followed by the eagerly-anticipated 12 point matchup between the BC and SU football teams on November 29th. If the teams hold form, it is entirely likely that we will be in a 33-33 tie heading into the winter/spring season! Watch this space for additional updates, as our two fine institutions continue to fight for the blogosphere's premier trophy competition!