Syracuse, Villanova Join Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES

Tucker Dordevic and Syracuse are back in the rankings at No. 18.


Just two Saturdays of Ivy League lacrosse have made it a chore to sort out the top tier of the league.

Penn beat Cornell, which beat Yale, which beat Princeton, which beat Penn. Try sorting that out.

Oh, and those four games were decided by a total of eight goals, so there largely wasn’t much separation.

Every Ivy team has suffered at least one league loss, save Harvard — which has beaten Brown and Dartmouth to get to 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2018. There’s plenty still to sort out, but for now, the league has five teams wedged between Nos. 4 and No. 11 in this week’s rankings as March nears its end.

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I MEN’S TOP 20

 
March 28, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

Maryland

8-0

1

4/2 at Michigan

2

Virginia

7-1

2

4/2 at Richmond

3

Georgetown

7-1

5

4/2 at No. 17 Denver

4

Princeton

5-2

3

4/2 at Brown

5

Rutgers

9-1

6

4/3 vs. Johns Hopkins

6

Penn

4-2

7

4/2 at No. 8 Yale

7

Cornell

6-1

4

3/29 at Colgate

8

Yale

4-2

11

4/2 vs. No. 6 Penn

Jacksonville

8-2

9

4/2 vs. High Point

10

North Carolina

7-2

8

4/2 vs. No. 13 Duke

11

Harvard

6-1

13

4/2 vs. Colgate

12

Army

7-2

16

4/2 at Bucknell

13

Duke

8-4

10

4/2 at No. 10 North Carolina

14

Ohio State

6-3

12

4/1 vs. Penn State

15

Lehigh

4-3

15

3/29 at Binghamton

16

Notre Dame

2-4

14

4/2 vs. No. 18 Syracuse

17

Denver

5-4

19

4/2 vs. No. 3 Georgetown

18

Syracuse

4-4

NR

4/2 at No. 16 Notre Dame

19

Boston U

7-1

18

4/2 vs. Navy

20

Villanova

5-3

NR

4/2 at St. John's

Also considered (alphabetical order): Brown (5-3), Bucknell (7-2), Delaware (6-3), High Point (5-4), Johns Hopkins (5-5), Massachusetts (5-3), Navy (6-3), Richmond (5-3), Saint Joseph’s (7-2)





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

HOT

Army (+4)

The Black Knights hung around long enough Saturday to be able to take advantage whenever Brendan Nichtern and their offense fully figured things out at Loyola. That turned out to be the fourth quarter, when Army scored seven times in a 14-12 defeat of the Greyhounds to remain in realistic contention for a Patriot League regular-season title.

This is still an Army team playing without defenseman Marcus Hudgins (undisclosed personal issue), but between Nichtern (who set the school’s career points record Saturday) leading the offense and goalie Wyatt Schupler anchoring a veteran defense, the Black Knights have plenty of answers. Saturday was a strong response to a one-goal loss at home to Lehigh the previous week.

The Bulldogs gritted their way to a 14-12 victory over Princeton on Saturday, exactly the sort of tough-minded triumph Andy Shay’s program has repeatedly collected over the years. It caused 13 Tiger turnovers and benefited from a brilliant showing from attackman Matt Brandau (five goals, three assists) to get on the board in Ivy League play.

It also marked the continued steady play of sophomore goalie Jared Paquette, who made a career-high 19 saves. He’s stopped at least 15 shots in five consecutive games and bumped his save percentage for the year to .562.

NOT

Cornell (-3)

The Big Red took a 15-11 loss at Penn, leaving Maryland as the lone undefeated team in Division I. It was Cornell’s first loss since May 3, 2019 — the Big Red were 5-0 when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season, and they did not play at all last season.

Saturday’s setback in Philadelphia simply threw Cornell into a mix of capable Ivy League teams that is already difficult to disentangle two weeks into the conference season. The Big Red play two more road games this week against Colgate and Dartmouth.

Duke (-3)

A slow start (down six in the middle of the second quarter), too many turnovers (17), too many botched clears (16-for-23) and too many opportunities for an opponent (outshot 61-33). That about sums up the Blue Devils’ woes in a 14-10 loss at Syracuse.

As coach John Danowski said last week, sometimes Duke just doesn’t play very well. That was certainly the case in the first half of Saturday’s conference opener.

IN

Syracuse (No. 18)

The Orange have won back-to-back games to get back to .500, and their 14-10 defeat of Duke noses them back into the Top 20. Just not too far, considering Duke is far from a proven commodity this season, either.

It’s worth acknowledging the recent improvement of Syracuse’s much-maligned defense. The Orange have allowed 29 goals in their last three games — 10 in a loss at Johns Hopkins, nine in a triumph at Stony Brook and now 10 against Duke. It would be immensely helpful if the improvement is sustainable; Syracuse’s remaining foes are Notre Dame (twice), Albany, Cornell, North Carolina and Virginia.

Villanova (No. 20)

This much is clear about the Wildcats: They’d probably be the favorites in the Colonial Athletic Association if they still belonged to that league. Alas, that ship sailed more than a decade ago, but it doesn’t change the fact Villanova has defeated Fairfield, Hofstra, Drexel and now Delaware.

It’s all Big East play from here out for the Wildcats, who have five players with at least 20 points (led by Matt Campbell’s 26 goals and 11 assists, including a seven-goal showing against Delaware) and a faceoff ace (Justin Coppola) winning 60.1 percent of his draws. Worth noting: Conference heavyweights Denver (April 9) and Georgetown (April 29) both visit the Main Line next month.

OUT

Delaware (was No. 17)

The Blue Hens have a couple nice victories, in particular a one-goal triumph at Saint Joseph’s and a 12-10 defeat of Johns Hopkins earlier this month. But when they struggle, they struggle mightily — all three of their losses have come by five goals or more.

In Saturday’s 18-13 loss at Villanova, things went sideways in a hurry in the third quarter. The Wildcats went on a 7-1 run spanning less than 11 minutes to seize control of what was a one-goal game. That knocks Delaware out of the Top 20 for now, but it still looks like a serious contender for a CAA title as April dawns.

Brown (was No. 20)

The Bears hung on to a spot in the Top 20 after losing at Harvard last week. No such luck this time around after a 10-7 stumble at home against UMass.

No matter. The Ivy League provides plenty of opportunities to impress, and this week, Princeton makes the trek to Providence to take on Mike Daly’s team.

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