2020 College Lacrosse: First Week of March Brings Another New #1
As I said last week, the college lacrosse landscape will continue to be shaken up in the following weeks, and there isn’t much more to it than the best teams will be finding their stride in April and May. Yale rose to the ranks of #1 last week after they defeated then #1 Penn State, but dropped a game this past weekend to UMass, and fell out of the #1 spot as a result. This week’s version of the rankings did not see much change in terms of the teams ranked, but many of their actual rankings were shaken up due to the amount of ranked games we saw played last weekend.
(You can discuss this on BSL Board here.)
Top 20 (according to InsideLacrosse)
1) Syracuse (3) – Cuse played earlier in the weekend as they hosted Hobart in their last game in the Carrier Dome this season due to constuction. The game was tied at 7 early before Cuse went on a run and put themselves up for good. The game was very high scoring and back and forth, as Hobart was never really out of it. Cuse heads to Homewood this weekend.
2) Penn State (2) – Penn State withheld against a late onslaught from Penn who took this one to OT. Mac O’Keefe scored four including the game winner. They will be at Cornell next week in a huge out of conference matchup.
3) Princeton (8) – smacked around Hopkins last weekend at home to move to 4-0. The Jays cant find their mojo against big teams, but Michael Sowers is unstoppable, averaging just over 10 points per game. Battle of New Jersey in Princeton against Rutgers this weekend.
4) North Carolina (4) – also handled a late comeback from Denver after being up big late in the third. The Heels should enter their March 21 matchup with Maryland at 9-0 and I would be surprised if they werent. Offensively playing like one of the top teams in the country.
5) Cornell (10) – the third team in 5 for me to say handled a late comeback really shows how crazy this week was. Ohio State used their riding to stay in this game, but an Ierlan save with second left preserved OT from the Buckeyes. The Red have a gauntlet of games coming in Penn State, Yale and Penn. Expect three shootouts of games.
6) Yale (1) – Yale lost their #1 seed after a stunning upset to the hands of Umass. The Minutemen jumped on the Bulldogs early and didn’t let up. Yale held the top spot for only one week, but still possess a lethal offense and the best FO man in the game.
7) Maryland (7) – The Terps scored a big win over Notre Dame as Logan Wisnauskas (Boys’ Latin) scored 5 goals and Justin Shockey won 19-27 faceoffs. The Terps started off College Gameday in the right fashion but the hoops team couldn’t reel in the nightcap.
8) Virginia (6) – The Hoos whalloped Air Force 15-5 and dropped two spots (which is surprising to me) considering they are 4-1 with their only loss coming to Princeton. Alex Rode (St. Pauls) continues saving the ball at a great percentage while the 4 headed monster on offense (Moore, Kraus, Cormier, Laviano) pace the offense.
9) Penn (9) – Comebacks don’t always have a happy ending, as the Quakers saw their home crowd get back into the game late only to lose in OT. The #9 team falls to 1-2 and awaits surging Villanova this weekend. Penn is still a very good lacrosse team that can compete with anyone in the country, so keep an eye out for them come May.
10) Notre Dame (5) – Lost in College Park as they struggled to get many shots past Maryland’s freshman goalie. A very deep offensive team needs to find a way to put more shots in the back of the net. They will test that against Denver next weekend.
11) Loyola (11) – Loyola took down Towson and Lafayette this week in a couple of tune-up games for their meeting at home against Duke this weekend. That will be a big test of two teams who hoped to be higher in the rankings at this point in the year.
12) Georgetown (12) – The Hoyas are 5-0 and havent played a close game yet. They beat Bellarmine by 9 this weekend and are powered by an offense that scores close to 17 goals a game. They hit the road for Towson, UNC and Marquette before Big East play begins. This team is looking to make the tournament once again this season.
13) Duke (13) – Duke crushed Furman 19-6 in a confidence boosting game. The Blue Devils sit a bit underrated at 13 and their test with #11 Loyola this weekend will be a huge game for them moving forward into a very tough ACC this year.
14) Villanova (15) – has won three straight including a win over Maryland. This past weekend they put 19 goals on the best goalie in the nation. They face a big test in #9 Penn this weekend, expect that one to be a high scoring offensive game.
15) UMass (29) – Umass won their biggest game in recent memory and jumped 14 spots in the polls after defeating Yale. Expect the Minutemen to build off this momentum in their next few games before starting play in the CAA.
16) Army (16) – After losing two straight, Army has climbed back out of their hole to win two games in a row including their first Patriot League win. The Patriot league should be a three team race this year between Army, Loyola and Lehigh.
17) Denver (14) – Denver would love to find a couple more offensive options in their next two games against Notre Dame and Ohio State before the Big East begins. Their two losses come by 15-13 scores agains Duke and North Carolina. They will still compete in the Big East, but these two upcoming games will tell the fans how good the Pios really are.
18) Lehigh (17) – Lehigh has a defense that can slow any big offensive team, but the real question is if their offense can keep up. After two more Patriot League games against Holy Cross and Army, they take on Penn State. In two weeks, Lehigh could be trending upwards or looking for a lot of answers.
19) Ohio State (18) – Ohio State started strong before losing to two good teams in Umass and Cornell. This team is built on fighters, as their game against Cornell saw them down 6 late in the game. The Buckeyes ride very hard and have offensive weapons to play with any team, and they will most likely battle for the third seed in the Big Ten.
20) Richmond (20) – Richmond continues to lurk on the edge of the top-20 at 3-3. Their losses came to three very good teams in Maryland, Notre Dame and Duke. On Friday night, they took the Blue Devils into OT in a very winnable game. They will fight High Point and Air Force for a SoCon automatic berth into the tournament.
Expect to see many more changes to this list as the weeks go on. Many teams face a couple more out of conference tune-ups before moving into conference play later this month. Here is a list of the bigger games to keep an eye on this weekend as some of the top teams in the country finish up their out of conference slate.
Georgetown @ Towson, Saturday, 12pm
High Point @ UMBC, Saturday, 12pm
Colgate @ Navy, Saturday, 12pm
Duke @ Loyola, Saturday, 1pm
Syracuse @ Hopkins, Saturday, 1pm
Albany @ Maryland, Saturday, 1pm
Around the Country:
Villanova @ Penn, Friday, 7:30pm
Denver @ Notre Dame, Saturday, 12pm
Rutgers @ Princeton, Saturday, 1pm
Penn State vs Cornell, Sunday, 4pm
Sam Kuhn currently is the graduate assistant for the men's lacrosse program at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and is working to complete his Masters of Business Administration in 2020. Sam graduated from the College of Wooster in 2018, where he received his Bachelors Degree in English and played lacrosse as well. In his four years, Sam was a two time All-NCAC selection, a first team All-Region selection in 2018, and surpassed 100 goals for his career, one of seven members in program history to do so. Sam has interned with Inside Lacrosse, and wrote for the sports section of The Wooster Voice.