Syracuse is No. 1 in Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Syracuse has had much to celebrate in its 5-0 start.


It’s starting to look like a 90s Night at the top of Division I lacrosse.

Checking in at No. 1 this week is undefeated Syracuse, which blitzed Johns Hopkins 15-9 on Saturday and takes over the top spot for a Penn State team that lost by one goal to Cornell.

At No. 2 is Princeton, still perfect after claiming in-state bragging rights against Rutgers.

And at No. 4 is North Carolina, which rolled past Furman to get to 6-0.

The Orange, Tigers and Tar Heels are a combined 16-0, a throwback to three decades ago. Those programs piled up nine national titles and three runner-up finishes in the 1990s, but only North Carolina has claimed one of the last 10 championships.

Perhaps that changes come May. For now, there’s no question all three are off to promising starts.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division I Men’s Top 20

 
March 9, 2020

W/L

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1 Syracuse 5-0 2 3/14 at Rutgers
2 Princeton 5-0 3 3/14 vs. No. 19 Penn
3 Cornell 5-0 9 3/14 vs. No. 5 Yale
4 North Carolina 6-0 4 3/10 vs. Bryant
5 Yale 3-1 5 3/14 at No. 3 Cornell
6 Penn State 4-2 1 3/10 at Furman
7 Maryland 5-1 7 3/14 at No. 11 Virginia
8 Duke 5-2 11 3/10 vs. Jacksonville
Georgetown 6-0 13 3/14 at No. 4 North Carolina
10 Denver 4-2 14 3/15 at No. 17 Ohio State
11 Virginia 4-2 6 3/14 at No. 7 Maryland
12 Loyola 4-2 12 3/14 vs. Bucknell
13 Notre Dame 2-2 8 3/10 at No. 17 Ohio State
14 Army 6-2 15 3/14 at No. 15 Lehigh
15 Lehigh 5-1 16 3/14 at No. 14 Army
16 UMass 4-2 18 3/10 vs. Long Island U.
17 Ohio State 4-2 19 3/10 vs. No. 13 Notre Dame
18 Villanova 4-3 17 3/21 vs. Fairfield
19 Penn 2-3 10 3/14 at No. 2 Princeton
20 Brown 3-2 NR 3/14 at Harvard
Also considered (alphabetical order): Air Force (4-3), Bucknell (5-1), Hobart (4-1), Providence (5-1), Richmond (4-3), Saint Joseph’s (5-2), UMBC (4-1)





z
Nike/US Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Cornell (+6)

The Big Red is unabashedly offense-oriented, and it earned its leap thanks to an 18-17 defeat of Penn State. Cornell got three goals and three assists from attackman Jeff Teat in a neutral-field triumph likely to retain value in May.

Cornell has scored at least 17 goals in every game this season and is averaging 18.5 for the season. The basic dare to opponents: Go ahead and try to outscore us. On consecutive Sundays, Ohio State (a 17-16 loss) and Penn State nearly did. But the Big Red has done enough to stay perfect with Ivy play beckoning soon.

Georgetown (+4)

The opposite of Cornell is Georgetown, which owns the nation’s best defense at 6.33 goals allowed per game. Georgetown’s latest laugher was a 16-4 pounding of Towson to improve to 6-0. Graham Bundy Jr., Jake Carraway and Dylan Watson each scored three times against the winless Tigers.

Inertia is driving the Hoyas’ climb a little, but they’re still the lowest ranked of the five remaining undefeated teams in Division I. Saturday’s trip to North Carolina should provide a better barometer for Georgetown than much of its schedule to date.

Denver (+4)

The Pioneers had dropped their first two games against ACC opponents, falling at home to Duke and North Carolina. So naturally, they went to Notre Dame and claimed a 14-11 victory for what could prove to be their most valuable nonconference victory of the season.

Ethan Walker had four goals and two assists for Denver, which began a stretch of four road games out of five that continues with a trip to Ohio State this weekend.

NOT

Penn (-9)

Here’s what we know about the Quakers: They seem determined to play just about everyone close. Penn’s three losses have come by a combined five goals, including a 12-10 setback to Villanova on Friday. But its two victories have come by a total of four goals.

Villanova’s subsequent loss to Drexel did no favors to the Quakers, who took a tumble and must deal with Princeton, Cornell and Yale over the next three weekends as they begin Ivy League play.

Penn State (-5)

There was a case to be made before the Nittany Lions lost to Cornell that they should have been slotted behind Yale, who going into last week was a fellow one-loss team Penn State had fallen to earlier in the season.

The Nittany Lions have now played consecutive 18-17 games, an overtime defeat of Penn and now a tight loss to Cornell. They’ll get some time to work on tightening that defense soon. After a game at Furman on Tuesday, Penn State will be off until playing host to Lehigh on March 21.

Virginia (-5)

Despite a downright silly seven-goal, three-assist day from Matt Moore, the Cavaliers frittered away a six-goal lead and dropped a 14-13 decision at Brown on Sunday in coach Lars Tiffany’s return to Providence.

Like Penn State, Virginia has an early-season problem with its defense. Three of its last four opponents have reached 14 goals, and a trip to Maryland this weekend will be another challenge for the Cavaliers.

Notre Dame (-5)

The Fighting Irish slip downward after consecutive losses to Maryland and Denver. Wheaton Jackoboice scored four times on Saturday, but Notre Dame surrendered 14 goals for the second consecutive game for the first time since 2014 (when it beat Syracuse 15-14 and Army 18-17 to close out the regular season).

Next up is a Big Ten swing, with a trip to Ohio State on Tuesday followed by a date at Michigan on Sunday.

IN

Brown (No. 20)

The Bears picked off defending national champ Virginia 14-13, getting an open-net goal from Ryan Aughavin with 42 seconds left to provide a needed cushion since the Cavaliers came back and scored before ultimately falling.

The Bears were probably due a little luck in close games after stumbling in overtime against Stony Brook and Providence in their two previous outings.

OUT

Saint Joseph’s (previously No. 20)

The Hawks got a solid split this week, edging Drexel 10-9 on Friday before taking a 13-12 loss to Penn on Sunday. They head into Northeast Conference play the rest of the way, with a trip to Bryant on tap in the league opener for both teams on Saturday.

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