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


Syracuse earned a rare comfortable win at Hobart last week and rises from No. 2 to No. 1 with Penn State's loss to Maryland.

Now it’s Syracuse’s turn at No. 1. Whether the Orange can hold onto it much longer than its many predecessors remains to be seen.

The one constant through this season is vulnerability for teams perceived to be at the top of the sport. That probably says more about the perceptions than anything else, but it also illustrates there isn’t truly a dominant team.

In a way, that makes Syracuse — the king of one-goal victories — an appropriate No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20 as it heads into a week with games against Cornell and North Carolina. The Orange haven’t lost since February, and its six-game winning streak has propelled it to the top.

For now, anyway.

April 10, 2017




1 Syracuse 8-1 2 4/11 vs. Cornell
2 Maryland 7-2 6 4/12 at No. 7 Albany
3 Hofstra 10-0 3 4/15 vs. Drexel
4 Army 10-1 4 4/15 at Navy
5 Penn State 10-1 1 4/15 at No. 14 Johns Hopkins
6 Denver 8-2 7 4/15 at St. John's
7 Albany 9-1 8 4/12 vs. No. 2 Maryland
8 Ohio State 10-2 9 4/15 at Michigan
9 Duke 9-2 10 4/15 vs. No. 17 Virginia
10 Notre Dame 5-3 5 4/11 vs. No. 20 Marquette
11 Yale 7-3 11 4/15 vs. Brown
12 Princeton 7-3 12 4/11 at Lehigh
13 Towson 6-3 13 4/15 at Delaware
14 Johns Hopkins 6-4 14 4/15 vs. No. 5 Penn State
15 Rutgers 9-2 16 4/16 vs. No. 2 Maryland
16 North Carolina 6-5 NR 4/15 vs. No. 1 Syracuse
17 Virginia 7-5 15 4/11 vs. Robert Morris
18 Richmond 9-2 17 4/15 at Bellarmine
19 Loyola 7-4 19 4/15 at Boston University
20 Marquette 6-3 NR 4/11 at No. 10 Notre Dame
Also considered: Binghamton, Boston University, Brown, Providence, Villanova

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


Maryland (+4)

That’s three in a row for the Terrapins, which dealt Penn State its first loss of the season. It was probably the most noteworthy victory for anyone this week (Ohio State’s triumph over Johns Hopkins is also in the mix for that honor), and it came as Maryland rolled up 15 goals for the third consecutive game.

The Terps rolled up a 15-11 victory despite not getting a save in the first half against the Nittany Lions. Goalie Dan Morris rebounded after the break, but the point is clear: If Maryland can struggle to stop (admittedly good) shots and still keep a healthy margin much of the day, it is clearly a team trending in the right direction.


Notre Dame (-5)

There was a stretch of about 30 hours this weekend when it seemed possible the Fighting Irish could miss the ACC tournament. Then North Carolina won at Virginia, and the Cavaliers were assured of being the odd team out of the five-team event (again).

That doesn’t change how quickly Notre Dame’s fortunes have changed. Back-to-back losses to Syracuse and much-improved Duke have taken the Irish (5-3) out of the ACC regular season title race, and the remaining schedule (Marquette, North Carolina, ACC tournament, Army) is not a picnic.

Expect Notre Dame to end its mini-slide soon enough, but it doesn’t look like it has quite as high a floor as it did a week and a half ago.

Penn State (-4)

The Nittany Lions were on the wrong end of a 20-10 faceoff disparity against Maryland en route to their first loss of the season. Coach Jeff Tambroni voiced optimism about how his team responded to a four-goal hole in the first half and a six-goal deficit in the third quarter. There’s no doubt Penn State is feisty.

But is it good enough on defense? Against Maryland it wasn’t, and the Terps were the eighth team to drop 10 or more goals on the Nittany Lions --- and that’s with Johns Hopkins and Rutgers coming up next. Penn State is still much improved and its offensive is legitimate. Nonetheless, its first loss highlights some issues that have been present but not costly all season.


North Carolina (No. 16)

The Tar Heels handed Joe Breschi quite the birthday present, delivering a 15-12 victory at Virginia that lifted them back above .500. North Carolina double-poled the faceoff wings for the first time all year, providing support in the rare moments Stephen Kelly (23 of 30, 15 groundballs, one goal) didn’t need it.

“He was off the charts” Breschi said. “We double poled up, and [Jack] Rowlett, [Jack] Lambert and Kyle Mathie were phenomenal on the wings. When Stephen didn’t win it to himself, which he did many times, they were all over it and possession is so key in this game.”

Breschi said he hadn’t discussed postseason implications, but it was going to be a challenge for the defending national champs to even make the postseason with a victory. Now, the Tar Heels are coming off one of their most complete efforts as Syracuse comes to town. Funny how things can change in a hurry.

Marquette (No. 20)

The Golden Eagles barely fell out last week, and now they move back in with a rout of St. John’s. It’s a big week for Joe Amplo’s bunch, which faces Notre Dame and Providence as it starts a closing stretch of the regular season that also includes meetings with Duke and Denver.

In short, Marquette’s postseason fate is far from set less than a month before Selection Sunday. This could be a team headed for a .500ish record. It also has the opportunity to play its way into a home game in the NCAA tournament if things break right for it again.


Villanova (was No. 18)

The Wildcats had no answer for Denver faceoff ace Trevor Baptiste, who was 23-for-28 at the X with three goals and an assist. Baptiste has torn asunder plenty of other opponents in his career, and he probably has a few more stellar outings in him before long.

Villanova’s had one of the strangest season arcs during a weird year, and while it possesses a victory at Maryland, it is also 6-5 with Georgetown, St. John’s and Providence still to come. Look for the Wildcats to climb back into the top 20 before long, but its NCAA at-large chances took a hit on Sunday (with its RPI due to dip over the next two weeks based solely on upcoming opponents).

Michigan (was No. 20)

The Big Ten is a tough neighborhood, and the Wolverines have been on the wrong end of blowouts against both Maryland and Rutgers. Michigan entered league play with only one loss (a lopsided setback against Notre Dame), and its most notable victory (Penn) continues to be devalued.

All of this suggests the Wolverines aren’t as good as they were made out to be over the first six weeks of the season. There’s some truth to that, but just because Michigan probably isn’t a top-20 team shouldn’t obscure the fact it has made progress, especially at the offensive end of the field. This is still a program headed in the right direction over the long haul. This month, though, might be tough to get through.

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