SU’s Michelle Tumolo is a Breakout Star, Rips Northwestern & Women’s Lax

The outspoken star of the Orange women dishes on everything in a special Fizz Cast.

There’s a certain beauty to college athletics, and it’s not because Syracuse lacrosse star Michelle Tumolo is easy on the eyes. It’s because since athletes aren’t paid, they also can’t be fined for what they say. Which allows us a window into the minds of these players, either by Twitter or in front of a microphone. Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine refused to acknowledge the terrible officiating after the Ohio State loss in the Elite 8 at the podium. But at his locker, Dion Waiters openly discussed the Orange disadvantage playing 5-on-8. Tumolo comes from the Dion school of candidness.

Michelle became a crossover star in SU’s run to the NCAA Championship Game last month. She’s one the best players in the country, does with a thrilling high-paced style, and is colorful and outspoken. The Orange attempted to slay the Goliath of women’s lax in Northwestern. The powerful Wildcats jumped on Syracuse and then sat on it, playing a brand of kill-the-clock prevent defense to win the title. Orange Nation wailed at the stodgy, conservative gameplay and stall tactics of the Wildcats. Tumolo echoed that sentiment.
“I really am angry.”
In a frank and wide-ranging conversation with The Fizz, Michelle discussed everything including her frustration while the game was unfolding.
“I actually said to the girl covering me, ‘This is so boring. I cannot believe this. This is why no one wants to watch the game. This is bad, this is so bad.'”
 Tumolo says Northwestern’s style was a result of fear.

“We weren’t really expecting a national championship team – that had been in the national championship for eight straight years – would be stalling on a team they had already beaten. You know, it was really just mind boggling to us because, I’m not gonna lie, they kinda seemed scared to play us. Because they saw what we did against Florida.”

Michelle also said that while the pace killed most of the fans, the officiating was what killed the Orange.

“It wasn’t what we expected. Every single call went towards Northwestern. I mean blatant fouls not called for us. I had a good check at the end of the game. It would have maybe led to a fast break and then a goal and it would have been a one goal game. It just makes me angry.”

Tumolo laments the fact the women’s game is afraid to be as physical as the men.
“I really wish we could play like the boys, to be honest.”
While Michelle railed on the inconsistency of the officiating from week-to-week, she also wants to see players allowed to run through the crease when they shoot (like the men). She says this would allow for more creative shots, something the rest of women’s lacrosse probably doesn’t want to see until Tumolo graduates. She’s already the sport’s most exciting player, and says sometimes she’ll try a trick shot just to wake the crowd up. She’s a born entertainer.
That flair is nurtured and encouraged by her coach. Gary Gait must see a little bit of his own showmanship in the program’s best player. Air Gait invented a shot so good it was later banned by the NCAA. The two have a special relationship and can often be found talking during the game while SU is on defense.

“When I get shut off, I’ll run over there and he’ll tell me ‘we’re going to do this to get you away from her’ or the next play he wants to run. Or maybe calm me down. Sometimes I get a bit riled up.”

Tumolo credits Gait with the program’s growth. He’s killed it on the recruiting trail, resulting in a deep squad that could be the preseason #1 next year. Michelle says for the current players though, his belief in them is what matters the most. She says Gait and the coaching staff convinced themselves she was going to win the Tewaarton award while she thought it was a long shot (Maryland’s Katie Schwarzmann won it as Tumolo was one of five finalists).Listen to the FizzCast as Michelle discusses her experience with Team USA, her “texture problem” at the beach and her nerves on game day.

Posted: Craig Hoffman


13 Comments on this Post

  1. I agree with everything that Michelle said. Syracuse and the fans that went to the game got screwed by Northwestern and definately by the officals. After watching Northwestern hold the ball and slow the game down it appeared to me that they were scared of Syracuse. Their coach should be fired for using that strategy in a championship game.

    I believe that Syracuse will get even with them in next years championship game by bringing home the trophy.


  2. Sounds like the old Princeton teams with Bill Tierney. Made for boring lacrosse, their is a reason lacrosse is called fastest game on two feet.

  3. orangeskin

    The interview was great, and the ideas to eliminate the stall game in women’s lacrosse were good too. She is candid almost to a fault, but she has the game to back it up. My only minor quibble: Gary Gait wasn’t “one of the great scorers in SU history” he was the best player in the history of modern lacrosse. The Air Gait was something that was unbelievable to see in person, but Gary was an incredible athlete. His entire game was that great. Everyone knew he was almost exclusively left handed and they still couldn’t stop him. He’s showing his mettle as a coach too, and this is just the start for SU’s women’s program. I bet the NCAA installs a shot clock in both men’s and women’s lacrosse. The steady decline in men’s final four attendance, and the negative press that surrounded Northwestern playing scared will motivate the dolts at NCAA HQ to do something about it. SU and Michelle will get their championship next year.

  4. I guess I can live with your minor quibble because you’re right. What I meant was that they share the bond of both being insanely athletic, insanely skilled attacks. Saying Gait is just a scorer is grossly under-crediting him, but you’re right – he’s been great as a coach as well. I think next year is their year and so does the team.

  5. How about some pressure on Defense Michele and Gary. Go behind the net and chase so the other team can’t stall.If SU would have done that it would have been 20-6 (NU)!!! You would think Gary would be smart enough to make some adjustments at the half. It is always amazing to see a second place team act like a bunch of spoiled little brats.

  6. Really Tony? Spoiled brats? Right. Considering the game is “the fastest on two feet”, Northwestern really plays the way the way it’s supposed to be played. Come on man.

    They had a strategy and played a 2 goal game and were in it the whole time. The strategy wasn’t “not working.” Sure, some pressure might have turned up the pace, but it’s not like they were getting killed.

    The point is the sport is better if it’s played not like NU did. No one can disagree with that.

  7. Hoffman,
    How about a pressure defense, force the other team to make a move. If Gary can’t figure that out!!!! Make the other team uncomfortable, SU played right into NU’s hand. They have no-one to blame but themselves, they didn’t do enough to win….Waaaah!!! Let me get you a tissue to cry into!

  8. Yeah you’re right! Clearly Gary Gait (the greatest player ever and coach of a team that made the national title game despite not being ranked pre-season top 10) knows nothing about lacrosse.

    The point is the game as is, needs to be fixed. It is broken. If that’s not what you get out of this, you’re missing the point.

  9. Michelle is a 100% correct, thanks for speaking out. And for the people who say the defense should just chase the girls behind the net: the defenders can not go into the crease so the crease provides a huge pick for the attackers.

  10. es en serio

    (articulaciones laxas,(flexifles), hiperextensibles e hipermoviles en la mano) hasta la adolescencia pude doblar hacia atrás mis pulgares hasta tocar mi muñeca y aun hoy las falanges superiores de mis dedos puedo ponerlas perpendiculares a cada dedo con solo pensarlo POSIBLEMENTE SECUESTRADO HACE 54 ó 50 AÑOS, anotado ilegalmente como nacido en 1959 en Bariloche argentina, recuerdo haber tomado algo como la cria de cierta serpiente que desova en tierra pero vive en el agua y me abrazo la mano y me asusto mucho, lunar a la altura del ombligo, fuerte miopia en ojo izquierdo y menor en el derecho PARECIDO A RECREACION DE ANTHONY PETER TUMOLO, si los datos coinciden por favor hagan publica forma de enviar mancha de sangre para estudio de ADN

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