Wesleyan Ends Season Where It Started — Ranked No. 1

PHOTO BY GREG WALL

Attackman Harry Stanton finishes his career with 287 points, second all-time at Wesleyan.


Wesleyan dethroned Salisbury in Sunday’s NCAA final 8-6, giving the Cardinals their first-ever national championship. Wesleyan, ranked No. 1 in the preseason, thus finishes the season at the same spot in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Men’s Top 20.

The Cardinals denied the Sea Gulls a chance at a three-peat and tying Hobart with 13 national titles.

The game, however, ended a postseason full of surprises. RIT and Tufts entered the NCAA tournament ranked No. 1 and 2, respectfully, but neither reached Gillette Stadium on Memorial Day weekend. From afar, many figured the Liberty League and NESCAC champs were destined to duke it out.

That opened the door for a team like Gettysburg to make the semifinals after entering the postseason at No. 7, while NCAC regular season champ Ohio Wesleyan also made the quarterfinals.

Outside the top 10, there was little shake up. The NCAA tournament solidified how 2018 went for these programs, and fans remember how the playoffs end, not those early-season wins.

From all that, Wesleyan wraps up 2018 at No. 1, giving coach John Raba a national title after 22 years in charge.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division III Men’s Top 20

 
Final

W/L

Prev

Next

1 Wesleyan 19-3 6 Season complete
2 Salisbury 20-4 3 Season complete
3 RIT 21-1 1 Season complete
4 Gettysburg 19-3 7 Season complete
5 Tufts 18-2 2 Season complete
6 York 19-3 5 Season complete
7 Dickinson 17-4 4 Season complete
8 Ohio Wesleyan 17-4 11 Season complete
9 Cabrini 17-3 8 Season complete
10 Amherst 15-4 10 Season complete
11 Denison 16-4 9 Season complete
12 Stevens 18-3 12 Season complete
13 Washington and Lee 15-5 14 Season complete
14 Christopher Newport 15-5 16 Season complete
15 Ithaca 16-4 15 Season complete
16 Roanoke 14-6 17 Season complete
17 Franklin & Marshall 12-4 13 Season complete
18 Springfield 13-6 19 Season complete
19 Lynchburg 12-9 20 Season complete
20 Cortland 12-7 NR Season complete
Also considered: Aurora, Coast Guard, Cortland, Illinois Wesleyan, RPI, St. Lawrence, Stevenson, Williams





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

Hot

Wesleyan (+5)

What an NCAA tournament run it was for the Cardinals. In succession, they beat Cortland, Cabrini, Tufts and RIT to set up a national title game against back-to-back champ Salisbury. Even that task wasn’t too tall, as Wesleyan beat the Sea Gulls 8-6 for its first-ever national title. A 15-member senior class got the job done, led by attackman Harry Stanton, whose career ends with 287 career points (second all-time at Wesleyan).

Salisbury (+1)

The Sea Gulls couldn’t make it a three-peat, but their ability to turn their season around is commendable. They rattled off 14 straight wins after a 3-3 stretch early on, also beating York in the CAC title game. Salisbury didn’t have enough gas in the tank to climb out of a 4-0 deficit against Wesleyan and its zone defense. Still, Jim Berkman called it one of the most enjoyable seasons he’s ever had in coaching.

Ohio Wesleyan (+3)

The NCAC regular season champion made it to the national quarterfinals, where it lost 8-5 to Gettysburg. Perhaps most sweet from its 2018 season? Avenging a NCAC final loss to conference rival Denison in the NCAA tournament, making it twice the Battling Bishops beat the Big Red this campaign. Ohio Wesleyan featured seven USILA All-Americans.

Gettysburg (+3)

The Bullets fell in the Centennial Conference final to Dickinson, but went on an incredible NCAA tournament run, reaching the semifinals. They fell 8-7 to a peaking Salisbury team at that point, on a late Emory Wongus goal. The top eight scorers return in 2019.

Not

RIT (-2)

At 21-0 and with a Liberty League title, the Tigers were one game away from a return to the national title game. They lost to eventual champ Wesleyan at home in the NCAA semifinals 19-18, trailing by eight goals at one point in the fourth quarter. 

Tufts (-3) 

Tufts, like many top programs in 2018, fell to Wesleyan in the NCAA tournament. The defeat came 12-11 in the quarterfinals after the Jumbos defeated the Cardinals twice earlier in the season, including in the NESCAC title game. Midfielder Nick Shanks, after putting up 50 points (38 goals, 12 assists), was named a USILA first-team All-American.

Franklin & Marshall (-4)

The Diplomats narrowly missed out on the NCAA tournament, and it’s likely because of how they finished up in Centennial Conference postseason play. That’s where F&M fell 17-16 to NCAA quarterfinalist Dickinson. It meant a season with impressive wins over Lynchburg, Cortland and Washington and Lee was for naught.

Dickinson (-3)

After a stretch of winning 15 of 16 games, including the Centennial Conference final, the Red Devils eventually met their match in the NCAA quarterfinals. They fell 9-7 to eventual national finalist Salisbury, with their three regular-season losses also coming to national tournament teams in Cabrini, Roanoke and Gettysburg.

In

Cortland

After stumbling through non-conference play, the Red Dragons won the SUNYAC. Their season came to a close in the NCAA tournament second round against Wesleyan, making it 18 straight appearances in the big dance.

Out

Colorado College

The Tigers entered postseason play with just one loss (to Roanoke), but were never truly tested against the country’s top programs. That caught up with them in the NCAA tournament, where Cabrini bounced them 21-10 in the second round.

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