Friday, November 23, 2012

Orange Friday... and Saturday

It's becoming a yearly tradition for the women, and a fun one at that - an annual nonconference weekend against the Syracuse Orange.

If you go back several decades, you can find sports in which Syracuse and RPI once competed against each other - notably, four 'Cuse wins in football between 1901 and 1930, and a few lacrosse meetings back when both schools had excellent programs and there was little to no distinction between large and small schools. Syracuse, which not unreasonably brands itself as "New York's College Team," especially in the New York City area, doesn't have a huge offering of varsity athletics, but they do typically field competitive football (or used to), basketball, and lacrosse teams, something few schools can - but they practically never play schools like RPI.

Women's hockey is the exception. Ever since the Orange began their varsity program in 2009, they've had a yearly weekend of games against the Engineers, and after three seasons it's becoming a friendly rivalry that's been fairly close, as 'Cuse holds a 3-2-1 series edge. The series returns to Syracuse this weekend for the second time, where RPI picked up a win and a tie two years ago before a split in Troy last season.

Syracuse (6-5-1) split weekends with Union, Quinnipiac, and UConn earlier this season, all teams the Engineers have played with mediocre results. They're seeking to run with usual CHA beasts Mercyhurst, and doing a decent job of it sitting just one point back in the standings. Granted, Penn State is now in the CHA to provide some of those wins (two for the Orange), but 'Cuse has already eclipsed their overall point total from last season in just four games. All signs point to a tough weekend for an Engineer squad still searching for a boost - but not one that would be impossible to overcome with the right showing.

Here's this weekend's pumpup. Sure, it's about the Vietnam War, but the title's right.

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