Notre Dame on Top of Nike/USL Men's Top 20 After Wild Week

PHOTO BY TD PAULIUS

Notre Dame held Maryland to just four goals in a 5-4 victory that vaulted the Irish to No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Men's Division I Top 20 rankings.


The ranks of the undefeated in Division I were trimmed to eight teams over the weekend, with the likes of Denver, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Penn and Richmond all taking their first loss of the season.

It’s led to some significant fluctuations in the rankings while trying to maintain some consistency regarding results to date. In some cases, that consistency is easy to see. In others, it got sacrificed amid a jumble of teams that haven’t looked much different from each other in the first month of the season.

Notre Dame takes over at No. 1 after upending Maryland 5-4. As for the Terrapins, they shouldn’t — and don’t — tumble for a one-goal loss on the road against a perennial final four contender.

 
March 6, 2017

W/L

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1 Notre Dame 3-0 4 3/12 at No. 5 Denver
2 Maryland 4-1 2 3/11 at No. 14 Albany
3 Penn State 5-0 5 3/7 vs. Furman
4 North Carolina 4-1 6 3/11 vs. No. 15 Hofstra
5 Denver 4-1 1 3/12 vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
6 Rutgers 5-0 14 3/10 vs. No. 13 Stony Brook
7 Army 4-1 15 3/11 at Lehigh
8 Syracuse 3-1 16 3/11 at St. John's
9 Johns Hopkins 4-1 3 3/11 at No. 17 Towson
10 Penn 2-1 7 3/7 vs. Navy
11 Virginia 4-2 9 3/11 vs. Cornell (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
12 Loyola 3-2 11 3/11 at Duke
13 Stony Brook 4-0 13 3/10 at No. 6 Rutgers
14 Albany 3-1 17 3/11 vs. No. 2 Maryland
15 Hofstra 4-0 NR 3/11 at No. 4 North Carolina
16 Princeton 3-1 NR 3/7 vs. Quinnipiac
17 Towson 3-1 12 3/11 vs. No. 9 Johns Hopkins
18 Ohio State 6-0 18 3/11 vs. Cleveland State
19 Yale 1-2 8 3/7 vs. Massachusetts
20 Boston University 6-0 20 3/11 at Colgate
Also considered: Duke, Richmond, Harvard, Brown, Marquette, Marist, Michigan, Navy






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

HOT

Rutgers (+8)

The truth is, after the first five teams or so, it’s a matter of tossing darts. Does Syracuse belong there? Well, if it does, then Army (a one-loss team that won at Syracuse) should be along for the ride. And if Army is up this high, then Rutgers (which is undefeated and dealt Army its only loss) should be, too.

The Scarlet Knights tried to upgrade their schedule this year after weak nonconference opposition kept them out of the postseason. They added Brown as it came off a trip to the semifinals, and Saturday dealt the Bears a 13-11 setback behind freshman Kieran Mullins’ four goals.

Is Rutgers a borderline top-five team? That’s plenty debatable. But they’ve done quite well in the absence of injured attackman Adam Charalambides and have done nothing to hurt their postseason prospects.

Army (+8)

Five games in, and the Black Knights have allowed just 35 goals, which includes an understandable 13-spot in a trip to the Carrier Dome last month. Army was without injured attackman Cole Johnson in its Patriot League opener against Lafayette, but got six goals from Nate Jones to secure a 14-4 triumph over the Leopards.

At the very least, Army is well-positioned to make a push for the top of the Patriot League, with seven of its next eight games against conference competition (a date with NJIT is the exception). If the offense can continue to produce (and getting Johnson back can help achieve that), the Black Knights could hang around the top 10 for much of the season.

Syracuse (+8)

The Orange seems intent on seeing if it can climb out of substantial holes on a weekly basis. It spotted Albany a five-goal lead and rallied for a one-goal victory. It saw Army go up four before the Black Knights held on to win by a goal. Then Sunday, Syracuse erased a five-goal deficit to knock off Virginia 14-13 in the ACC opener for both teams.

What does it all mean? For starters, nothing to date suggests the Orange offense is going to have many off days, but it is equally clear Syracuse isn’t stopping many high-end opponents at this stage of the season. With three more ACC foes plus Johns Hopkins still to come, expect John Desko’s bunch to be involved in a lot of high-scoring games the rest of the way.

NOT

Yale (-11)

Even with some unexpected twists throughout the landscape, Yale’s 9-6 setback against Bryant on Sunday nonetheless stood out. The Bulldogs (New Haven version) played well at the offensive end a week earlier at Maryland without the injured Ben Reeves, and they got four assists from him in his return. But Andy Shay’s team was held scoreless for the final 20:39 against Bryant.

That’s two consecutive losses for Yale, which at this time of year is going to have a greater impact on a ranking slot than a month from now. This could easily be a temporary dip, though the Ivy League looks stout with Harvard, Penn and Princeton all playing well and Brown more than capable of scoring with anybody.

Johns Hopkins (-6)

Johns Hopkins defeated Loyola and North Carolina during an opening four-game winning streak, and those two results are worth keeping in mind while trying to figure out where the Blue Jays belong after an 18-7 shellacking at Princeton on Friday.

The preseason conventional wisdom about the Blue Jays was that they would score if they could get the ball but had some uncertainties on defense after struggling at that end last year. They’ve scored plenty, and the defense has largely been good and on occasion (notably against North Carolina) better than that.

Hopkins was 11 of 28 at the faceoff X and grad transfer Gerald Logan was yanked in the third quarter against Princeton a game after helping to shut down North Carolina. Conventional wisdom is often wrong, but chalk one up for it in this case.

NEW

Hofstra

If Princeton’s coming into the top 20, Hofstra --- which dealt the Tigers their lone loss --- is coming, too. The Pride has three victories by two-goal margins (Monmouth, Princeton and Georgetown) and a rout of NJIT on its resume, and is off to its first 4-0 start since 2011.

Brendan Kavanagh and Ryan Tierney both had four goals in Saturday’s triumph at Georgetown, and Jack Concannon made a career-high 17 saves. Hofstra could use similar outings when it visits North Carolina next weekend and attempts to surprise the Tar Heels for the second consecutive year.

Princeton

One game does not necessarily signal the return of a program, but the Tigers warrant some attention after blitzing Johns Hopkins 18-7 on Friday. Princeton hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2012, hasn’t advanced to the quarterfinals since 2009 and hasn’t made it to Memorial Day weekend since 2004. This sort of drubbing --- the kind the Tigers once administered with regularity --- is a welcome sign in New Jersey.

It was an excellent day, with Austin Sims scoring six goals and Tyler Blaisdell making 16 stops. It’s probably a bit much to think it’s a hint of dominance to come this year, but it’s a good step for coach Matt Madalon, who is in his first full year after closing out last year in an interim role.

OUT

Richmond

The Spiders stumbled at home against Duke on Sunday, but they remain one of the favorites in the Southern Conference and in the middle of a brutal stretch prior to league play. They were very much in the analysis to remain in the top 20, but it became difficult to keep them in without pushing Duke in as well --- and there wasn’t much space for the Blue Devils to nose their way back in.

Brown

The Bears have dropped two in a row, falling 13-11 at Rutgers. Brown still has the defending Tewaaraton winner (Dylan Molloy) and is not to be forgotten about, but there’s only so many sub-.500 teams that can hang around in the rankings after the first couple weeks of the season. Chances are, the Bears will be back before long.

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