The Carrier Dome Turns 32; Do You Remember When . . .?

I spent way too much time in Carrier Dome while an undergraduate at Syracuse. Between football, basketball, and lacrosse, I'm surprised that I didn't manage to form an ass groove in the aluminum benches in which I was forced to sit. Despite my familiarity with the joint, the place remains, still, the weirdest stadium in which I've watched college lacrosse. Maybe it's the size of the Dome that makes it so weird; I don't know. Regardless, when Syracuse crams 10,000 people in there for a big one, that weirdness tends to evaporate because there are few places in the country that can create that kind of electricity around regular season lacrosse. So, I guess, it's special and weird all at the same time, which doesn't make any sense (and I don't care because this is selfishly about me, jerk).

The Carrier Dome officially opened 32 years ago today; Syracuse played its first game under the roof on March 21, 1981 against Navy (a 14-10 victory for the Orange). Since that time, Syracuse has won 11 national championships (10 if you don't believe in imaginary things that are actually reality), rolled out All-American after All-American, and helped reshape the landscape of Division I lacrosse. It's hard to try and catalogue all the great lacrosse moments that have happened in the bubble over the last three decades, but I'm going to list three of my favorites. You can pop additional ones into the comments if you have them.

  • "Air Gait" -- Gary Gait Redefines "Possible": On May 29, 1988, Gary Gait pulled off something that nobody had ever seen before: Dodging from behind the crease, Gait charged the back of the net, took off from behind the goal, and crammed it home over the top of Pennsylvania goalie John Kanaras. The Quakers' head coach, Tony Seaman, had this to say about Gait's acrobatics: "In 22 years with lacrosse, I've bever seen a move like that." (Seaman then proceeded to question the move's legality.) It was ingenuity and circumstance meeting each other and paved the way for future generations of improvising Syracuse players.
  • Casey Powell Does Casey Powell Things: There may not have been a more exciting lacrosse game in the last three decades than what Virginia and Syracuse did on February 28, 1997. Down 19-12 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Syracuse stormed back with seven unanswered goals to tie things up at 19. Virginia took a 21-19 lead with 7:20 to go in regulation, but Syracuse responded with a three-goal run to eventually drop the second-ranked Cavaliers, 22-21 (the final tally came with just 2:34 left on the clock). Casey Powell cemented his Orange legacy in that game, registering 13 points on the day (7G, 6A) and triggering Syracuse's comeback: Of Syracuse's final seven goals, Powell contributed in some fashion to five of them (including the game-winner).
  • One Dynasty Meets Another: There's something special about Central New York lacrosse, and on April 14, 1990, one of those special things happened: Hobart, in the midst of its 12-year consecutive national championship streak, headed east to visit Syracuse (which was then harboring the most potent team ever assembled). 18,458 fans showed up at the gates (the largest Carrier Dome crowd ever for a regular season game), interested to see what the best of Division III could do against the best college lacrosse team of all time. Syracuse walked away with a 23-9 victory, but the game remains one of the most important lacrosse games in the region's history.

Now it's your turn. Make the magic happen, people.

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