Ranking The Men’s College Lacrosse Champions Of The Last Decade
The past ten years have given us seven different teams to hoist the trophy on Memorial Day. In the past ten years, we havent seen a #1 seed play a #2 seed on Memorial Day. Many of the kids playing in the past ten years on Memorial Day are playing in Major League Lacrosse or the Premier Lacrosse League this summer. My power rankings of champions from the past ten years.
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1) 2012 – Loyola (18-1)
Led by Eric Lusby and Mike Sawyer, who paced the Greyhounds offensively, Joe Fletcher and Scott Ratliff were the defensive standouts for a team who lost one game all year. The game against Maryland in the National Championship was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in years. The Terps scored three goals, all in the first 20 minutes of the game. This was Loyola’s first championship appearance since 1990, and for a small school in Baltimore, a major win for them, taking down Maryland. They were the best champion we have seen in the past ten years. Follow the link for highlights of the game.
2) 2014 – Duke (17-3)
This 2014 Duke team was LOADED, as Myles Jones and Deemer Class were only sophomores, and had won their second National Championship. As a senior in high school I remember watching this team play at Loyola, and although it was one of their three losses, this team was good. Led by Class, Jones and Gilman product Christian Walsh, they also had seniors Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne down low playing attack, making this offense very difficult to shut down. They had some problems in goal but were led on defense by Casey Carroll and Jamie Ikeda. Brendan Fowler and Will Haus worked the faceoff X and the Blue Devils brought home their second straight trophy and this is why they sit at #2. Follow the link for a 40 minute feature video.
3) 2015 – Denver (17-2)
This offense was tested all year long and every time found a way to still score goals. Sounds pretty easy when you have Connor Cannizzaro, Wesley Berg and Zach Miller on the same attack line. Once they got past the hump that was Sergio Perkovic’s five goals in the fourth quarter of the Final Four, they were destined to hoist the trophy. The game against Maryland in The championship was never close. Zach Miller and Wes Berg delivered highlight plays early and then again late to cap off the championship season. For Denver’s championship weekend highlights click here.
4) 2017 – Maryland (16-3)
This Maryland team had all the pressure on them as they were coming off two straight National Championship losses to Denver and UNC. Connor Kelly, Colin Heacock and Matt Rambo led the way offensively while they had a solid defensive three in Tim Muller, Bryce Young and Curtis Corley. Sparked by John Garino at the faceoff X, the Terps finally got off the schneide in 2017 with a win over Ohio State where they werent really in a spot to lose the entire game. The Terps were finally back on top in 2017 after a long drought, and this team was pretty hard to beat. I have a tough time saying many other teams would have a good shot to take this Terps team down. For Maryland’s National Championship highlights click here.
5) 2019 – Virginia (17-3)
The 2019 Hoos had a six headed monster offensively last spring (Kraus, Laviano, Moore, Aitken, Conrad, Herring) and showed their overall talent in the National Championship game against Yale. After barely beating Maryland on an iffy call late in the game, they had to take on Yale and TD Ierlan. Freshman Petey LaSalla led the charge at the faceoff X and scored twice while grinding down Ierlan to allow the wings to do a lot of the work at the X as well. After February 18th, Virginia lost one time and found a bad loss to High Point as a turning point for their season. This team had a lot of bright spots and I wish they were all able to get another year together. For highlights of the national championship click here.
6) 2011 – Virginia (13-5)
This 2011 Virginia team was stacked offensively with Steele Stanwick (Loyola), Chris Bocklet, Matt White and Rob Emery. Current PLL player Adam Ghitelman was in the cage for the Hoos who struggled late in the year, losing four of their last six regular season games. After barely beating Bucknell in the first round, they went on to handle Cornell and Denver before taking on Grant Catalino and Maryland in the National Championship. For highlights of the game follow this link. And for Virginia’s season highlights go here.
7) 2013 – Duke (16-5)
Simply a younger version of the #2 2014 Duke team, they were still led by Wolf and Dionne at attack, but had other contributors at the midfield as Duke had two lines they ran pretty evenly throughout the year. Being able to run two midfield lines I believe was one of the reasons they went on to win the title. They still had Brendan Fowler and Will Haus controlling a lot of the faceoff X. Their rally back to beat Syracuse 16-10 in the National Championship showed their depth, as they were down 5-0 to start the game. Follow the link for game highlights. And for Duke’s season highlights.
8) 2018 – Yale (17-3)
After finding themselves on the losing side of things year after year, Yale broke through in 2018 to win their first championship in school history. They ran through the IVY league, losing only in the IVY championship as they only lost three games throughout the year…two in OT. Ben Reeves was the Tewaaraton Award winner, Jackson Morrill was a sophomore and had 72 points, and Matt Gaudet had 41 goals. Their midfield was led by seniors in Jack Tigh and Joey Sessa who were matchup nightmares going against shortsticks from the midfield. Their big test was against Albany in the semis, who they ran through 20-11 while keeping the faceoff battle with TD Ierlan quite competitive. They followed that up by building a 5 goal lead on Duke in the National Championship and holding on to claim the trophy. For highlights follow the link.
9) 2010 – Duke (16-4)
The revenge tour of the NCAA was completed for Duke in 2010 when they won the National Championship after the mess that was their sexual assault case and suspended season. Duke lacrosse was finally back, and they would go on to prove that in 2013 and 2014 again when they won two more championships. As CJ Costabile took the faceoff in overtime down the field and scored, the Duke seniors got their storybook ending, as all of the drama of the past two years came to an end in that moment. Led by Ned Crotty, Max Quinzani, Zach Howell and Justin Turri, this team lost three of its first five games and then went on a tear, getting their revenge on Notre Dame and Virginia in the Final Four as well. Were not favored to win the national championship, but found themselves hoisting the trophy. Here are game highlights.
10) 2016 – North Carolina (12-6)
This team rounds out the list but means nothing to diminish the fight that went through the North Carolina locker room throughout the 2016 season. Basically written off many times throughout the season, they found themselves in the title game in 2016 taking on a much more talented Maryland team. In one of the more entertaining and exciting championship games of the 2010s, this game was back and forth for 60+ minutes, as both teams had a chance to end it in OT. Led by Luke Goldstock and a young Chris Cloutier, North Carolina completed their unranked run to a championship. Here are some highlights from championship weekend in 2016.
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.