Cabrini Stands Alone Atop Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Men’s Top 20

After winning the NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse championship on Sunday, a 16-12 victory over Amherst, Cabrini head coach Steve Colfer had some words for the rest of the college lacrosse world. It served as the Cavaliers’ first-ever national title in any varsity sport.

“To see teams break through and to get to this championship weekend is huge, and then to ultimately get a national championship is huge,” Colfer said. “So if there’s anyone out there thinking, ‘I don’t know if we’re doing it right, if we’re recruiting the right kids, I don’t know if I have the right support,’ you gotta be persistent. You gotta plant your flag somewhere in life and work hard around it, and I really believe if you do that, the potential is there for you in your program.”

The reflective thoughts served as a reminder that parity is alive and well in college lacrosse, with this year’s finalists both making their first appearance at this stage. And that fact is reflected in the final rankings of 2019, as the national powerhouses drop and the surprise squads rise.

Those comings and goings speak to how one’s reputation only takes a program so far in May. You have to get the job done and put the work in what it matters most. Salisbury, RIT and Tufts — the odds-on favorites all years to lift a trophy on Memorial Day weekend — didn’t get it done. Now it’s back to the drawing board.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division III Men’s Top 20





1 Cabrini 22-2 5 Season complete *
2 Amherst 18-4 7 Season complete **
3 Salisbury 22-2 2 Season complete ***
4 Williams 18-4 6 Season complete ***
5 RIT 20-2 1 Season complete ****
6 Tufts 19-2 3 Season complete ****
7 York 19-3 4 Season complete ****
8 Denison 18-3 9 Season complete ****
9 Washington and Lee 16-5 11 Season complete *****
10 Wesleyan 13-4 10 Season complete *****
11 Gettysburg 14-5 12 Season complete *****
12 Ursinus 13-4 8 Season complete *****
13 Union 14-4 13 Season complete *****
14 Franklin & Marshall 12-6 14 Season complete *****
15 Stevenson 13-8 16 Season complete *****
16 Lynchburg 14-7 15 Season complete *****
17 St. John Fisher 17-3 18 Season complete *****
18 Stevens 16-3 19 Season complete 
19 Cortland 14-5 17 Season complete *****
20 St. Lawrence 13-4 NR Season complete  
Also considered (alphabetical order): Bates, Christopher Newport, DeSales, Dickinson, Middlebury, RPI, Western New England 
* NCAA champion
** NCAA finalist
*** NCAA semifinalist
**** NCAA quarterfinalist
***** NCAA tournament contender


Cabrini (+4)

Welcome to the top of Division III, Cabrini. And what an incredible run it was for the Cavaliers in beating Amherst, 16-12, at Lincoln Financial Field before a home-heavy crowd. They knocked off York and Salisbury in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, in two results that were headline-grabbers themselves. But Cabrini had a job to finish, and it did exactly that in its 18th straight trip to the NCAA tournament. The end result: first-time champions.

Amherst (+5)

So close, yet so far. That’s the bittersweet place the Mammoths find themselves in after reaching their first-ever national championship game, only to 16-12 to Cabrini. It was a great NCAA tournament run for head coach Jon Thompson’s team, one that included taking down three fellow NESCAC foes in Wesleyan, Tufts and Williams. Up next is life after Evan Wolf, this year’s D-III National Player of the Year. The back-to-back NESCAC Player of the Year graduates with 280 career points.

Williams (+2)

This spring was a historic one for the Ephs, one that included a record number of wins (18), a first-ever trip to the Final Four and two major awards: Jake Haase as NESCAC Rookie of the Year and George McCormack as NESCAC Coach of the Year. The 12-8 loss to Amherst in the national semifinals surely still stings, but there’s little for Williams to hang low about. Better yet, the Ephs lose just one key contributor in close defenseman Cameron Brown. They’ll be back.

Washington and Lee (+2)

The Generals took home their first ODAC championship since 2016 and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament, only to fall to York. Getting back to that stage will be tough, especially with three-time All-American attackman A.J. Witherell moving on to graduation; he had 317 career points. Odds are Washington and Lee will rebound just fine, but that’s a monumental hole for any program.


RIT (-4)

For the second straight year, RIT’s season ended prematurely in the NCAA tournament to a NESCAC team. In 2018, it was a semifinal defeat to eventual champions Wesleyan, and this spring it was a quarterfinal loss to Williams in double overtime. The Tigers have won every Liberty League tournament since 2012, but have lacked that final edge to be crowned national champion.

Tufts (-3)

All-American midfielder Nick Shanks missed the Jumbos’ three NCAA tournament games and that took its toll, as they fell to Amherst, 13-11, in the quarterfinals. Tufts seemed destined for a sixth championship game appearance this decade, but fell just short. In closing out this decade, the Jumbos took home nine out of a possible 10 NESCAC tournament titles, including one this spring.

York (-3)

The 2019 season will go down as one of what-ifs for York. As the top seed, the Spartans fell in the CAC tournament final to Salisbury, and then dropped an overtime classic in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals to eventual national champions Cabrini. York should stick around the top 10 next season, but there’s also the impending loss of attackmen Hunter Davis, Thomas Pfeiffer and Brendan McGrath. A new era is around the corner.

Ursinus (-4)

This season’s Cinderella story in Division III came to an end in the with a 16-15 overtime defeat to NEWMAC powerhouse Springfield in the NCAA tournament’s second round. However, the Bears took home their first Centennial Conference championship and have a ton to build off after head coach Gary Mercadante’s first year in charge.


St. Lawrence

The Saints were a bubble team for the NCAA tournament and missed out, all despite a 13-4 season that ended in the Liberty League semifinals to RIT. St. Lawrence only had seven seniors on this year’s roster, so there’s every reason to believe 2020 could mark a return to the big dance.



The Bulldogs’ only regular season loss came to Eastern in the final game before postseason play began. They then exacted revenge over the Eagles, 14-13, in winning their first-ever MAC Freedom championship. Then reality hit in a 15-4 defeat to Cabrini in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Despite those ups and downs, a 17-2 final record marked a truly remarkable turnaround after going 5-10 in 2018.

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