Delaware Debuts, Yale Reemerges, UVA Vexes in Nike/USL Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Kyle Marr uncorks one of his six goals past goalie Griffin Thompson Saturday in Johns' Hopkins 18-17 overtime win over Virginia at Homewood Field on Saturday.


Looking beyond the scrum at the top of the weekly rankings, there are questions to be asked further down the board. Namely: How good is Virginia?

On one hand, the Cavaliers have one-goal losses to Penn, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins, the latter two in overtime over the last two weekends. Virginia is in every game in coach Lars Tiffany’s first season.

On the other, Virginia’s five victories (Loyola, Drexel, Siena, High Point and Cornell) have come against teams with a combined record of 12-29 through the close of play Saturday. With Loyola scuffling, the Cavaliers will need to find a quality victory sometime in the next five weeks as they chase an NCAA tournament bid.

The task of making sense of an unpredictable season isn’t simply a matter of picking out a team for No. 1. It’s figuring out how to weigh the question of competitiveness versus accomplishment all the way through.

Delaware debuts in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20 after removing previously No. 4 Rutgers from the ranks of the unbeaten — the Scarlet Knights were ranked No. 1 in the Maverik/Inside Lacrosse media poll — and Yale reemerges following a win over Princeton.

 
March 27, 2017

W/L

Prev

Next

1 Penn State 9-0 1 4/2 vs. No. 7 Ohio State
2 Notre Dame 5-1 2 4/1 vs. No. 5 Syracuse
3 Hofstra 8-0 5 4/1 at Fairfield
4 Army 8-1 6 4/1 at Bucknell
5 Syracuse 6-1 7 4/1 at No. 2 Notre Dame
6 Maryland 5-2 9 4/1 vs. No. 18 Michigan
7 Ohio State 9-1 3 4/2 at No. 1 Penn State
8 Denver 6-2 8 4/1 vs. Georgetown
9 Rutgers 8-1 4 3/31 at No. 16 Johns Hopkins
10 Albany 6-1 13 3/29 at Harvard
11 Duke 7-3 10 4/2 at North Carolina
12 Richmond 8-1 12 4/1 vs. No. 17 Virginia
13 Yale 4-3 NR 4/1 at Penn
14 Princeton 5-3 11 4/1 vs. Brown
15 Towson 4-3 14 4/1 at Drexel
16 Johns Hopkins 5-3 16 3/31 vs. No. 9 Rutgers
17 Virginia 5-4 15 4/1 at No. 12 Richmond
18 Michigan 8-1 17 4/1 at No. 6 Maryland
19 Marquette 4-2 20 3/28 vs. Air Force
20 Delaware 7-3 NR 4/1 at UMass
Also considered: Air Force, Binghamton, Boston University, Brown,  Loyola, North Carolina, Penn, Villanova





z

HOT

Albany (+3)

The Great Danes are one of the hardest teams in the country to get an accurate read on, and much of that is schedule-related. Albany rolled through a pair of overmatched opponents this week, blasting Canisius (20-11) and UMass Lowell (21-11) to improve to 6-1.

There’s no shame in Albany’s lone loss (its opener at Syracuse), and it isn’t the Great Danes’ fault that their other noteworthy early-season nonconference game (Maryland) was postponed until April because of foul weather. Scott Marr’s team has won six in a row --- all by at least nine goals and all against teams that don’t currently sport a winning record.

This is another version of the competitiveness/accomplishment dynamic. Connor Fields has posted a ridiculous 30 goals and 23 assists in seven games, and Albany its handling its business the way it should. Trips to Harvard and Stony Brook should reveal a little more about the Great Danes this week.

Maryland (+3)

It came together in impressive fashion for the Terrapins on Saturday at North Carolina, and it’s probably not a coincidence it did in the wake of an unexpected loss to Villanova. That only added fuel to a fire that’s raged since last May. Maryland mashed the defending national champions 15-7, rather emphatically getting the better of the team it fell to in overtime last Memorial Day.

The inclination here is to brush off the Villanova result as that of a team two weeks removed from its most recent game. That said, Maryland couldn’t have done much more against the Tar Heels. All six of its offensive starters had multi-goal games and reached three points, and goalie Dan Morris made 12 stops. Even with a couple losses on the ledger, the Terps are probably still the favorites to win the Big Ten.

NOT

Rutgers (-5)

Some days, it just doesn’t go your way. The Scarlet Knights had thrived for more than a month as they tweaked their philosophy on the fly thanks to injuries. But in Saturday’s 13-9 loss at Delaware, they ran into a hot goalie (Matt DeLuca made 19 saves for the Blue Hens) and made only five stops themselves in an unexpected result in Newark.

Nonetheless, Rutgers enters conference play with a couple of victories that could prove useful (Army and Princeton), an 8-1 record and now a bit of a wakeup call that its margin for error probably isn’t that large. This is hardly the end of the world in Piscataway, especially with Delaware showing some spunk even before Saturday’s surprise.

Ohio State (-4)

This is the second part of a two-step correction for the Buckeyes. It was hard to know what to make of them as they won their first seven games against mostly overmatched competition, but after beating Towson and Denver they suddenly owned a 9-0 record in mid-March. A substantial jump ensued.

The Buckeyes took a 12-7 loss at Notre Dame. Their 19 turnovers were a concern and the Irish’s 3-for-3 showing on extra man didn’t help. But Ohio State still snared a split in that tricky Denver/Notre Dame sequence, and it is well-positioned for a postseason push as it heads into Big Ten play.

NEW

Yale 

After a three-game hiccup early in the season — a perfectly understandable one-goal loss at Maryland followed by stumbles against Bryant and Massachusetts in a three-day span — the Bulldogs appear to have found their footing again. It never hurts, of course, to head into the familiar setting of Ivy League play, where Yale has contended every year this decade.

The No. 13 Bulldogs hammered reeling Cornell in their Ivy opener, but bagged a 16-13 victory at Princeton on Friday to continue to put their slow start behind them. It was a fine day for Ben Reeves (four goals, four assists), and it provides Yale a head-to-head edge against the improved Tigers in the chase for hosting the league title in May.

Delaware

Wouldn’t it be quite the story if the Blue Hens can send retiring coach Bob Shillinglaw out with an NCAA tournament berth in his 39th season on the Delaware sideline? That possibility seems more real than ever after Saturday’s 13-9 victory over Rutgers.

The No. 20 Blue Hens (7-3) have won six of their last seven outings (including a triumph at fast-improving Villanova) and have reached double figures in goals in all but two of their outings. While Hofstra and Towson are the obvious contenders in the Colonial, Delaware might just have a say in matters as well.

OUT

North Carolina

That the defending national champions would have some losses on the ledger at this point isn’t a huge surprise. They have faced Denver, Johns Hopkins and Maryland, as well as much-improved Hofstra and Richmond. But the unexpected twist for the Tar Heels is an offense opponents have held to less than 10 goals on five occasions this season.

North Carolina (5-4) does have the benefit of a victory at Denver, but it has dropped three of four since that triumph in the Mile High City (the latest a 15-7 setback against Maryland) and now faces a four-week gauntlet of ACC play prior to the conference tournament weekend. Defense was a massive problem Saturday, but the Tar Heels will struggle to rise too far above .500 if they can’t get their offense worked out soon.

Loyola

The Greyhounds managed little traction during a challenging nonconference schedule, falling to Virginia, Johns Hopkins and Duke while notching a victory over local rival Towson. But it always seemed possible they would simply roll through the Patriot League and use that as their path to the postseason.

It’s still Loyola’s ticket to the NCAA tournament, but Charley Toomey’s bunch isn’t going to breeze into that field. The Greyhounds were dealt a double-overtime loss at Bucknell, and while they still control their own destiny in the Patriot League race (albeit with the need to win at Boston University and Army to wrap up the regular season), at 5-4 they warrant a tumble out of the Top 20.

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