Michigan Upsets Notre Dame, Joins Nike/USA Lacrosse D-I Women's Top 20

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHIGAN ATHLETICS

Michigan opened the season by flooding Detroit Mercy and outlasting then-No. 7 Notre Dame.


It feels good to be back, doesn’t it?

New seasons bring new storylines, but some old ones prevailed during the opening weekend of Division I women’s lacrosse. Charlotte North is still otherworldly. North Carolina is still insanely deep. Syracuse’s offense still has more weapons than we can count.

But the new storylines are developing in front of our eyes. Can Northwestern actually withstand the loss of Izzy Scane? The offense looked iffy on Saturday. Is Michigan back on the map? The Wolverines took down then-No. 5 Notre Dame behind a stellar performance from Arielle Weissman on Sunday. What do we make of Notre Dame’s loss? That’s probably too soon to tell.

The beauty of a long season means we’ll have plenty of time to sift through the noise and see which contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. But we still have to do our weekly rankings exercise.

Here’s where things stand after opening weekend.

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I WOMEN’S TOP 20

 
Feb. 14, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

Boston College

1-0

1

2/16 at UMass

2

North Carolina

1-0

2

2/16 vs. Furman

3

Syracuse

2-0

3

2/20 vs. No. 4 Stony Brook

4

Stony Brook

0-0

5

2/20 at No. 3 Syracuse

5

Maryland

1-0

6

2/18 at No. 10 Virginia

6

Northwestern

0-1

4

2/14 vs. Marquette

7

Duke

2-0

8

2/18 at William & Mary

8

Loyola

0-0

9

2/19 at Johns Hopkins

Florida

1-0

10

2/19 vs. No. 2 North Carolina

10

Virginia

2-0

11

2/18 vs. No. 5 Maryland

11

Michigan

2-0

NR

2/18 vs. Arizona State

12

Notre Dame

1-1

7

2/19 vs. Vanderbilt

13

Princeton

0-0

13

2/20 at No. 10 Virginia

14

James Madison

0-1

12

2/16 vs. Virginia Tech

15

Denver

1-0

15

2/18 at No. 16 Stanford

16

Stanford

1-1

14

2/18 vs. No. 15 Denver

17

Rutgers

1-0

16

2/16 vs. Army

18

Drexel

1-0

17

2/16 vs. Penn State

19

Jacksonville

1-0

18

2/18 vs. USC

20

UConn

0-0

19

2/16 at Fairfield

Also considered (alphabetical order): Colorado (1-0), Johns Hopkins (1-0), Penn (0-0), Penn State (0-0), Richmond (1-0), Temple (1-0), UMass (1-0)





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

HOT

Maryland (+1)

The Terps rise a spot in the rankings thanks to a loss by Northwestern, but the Terps certainly earned the recognition. This new-look Maryland team looked strong on the road against Saint Joseph’s, pouring in 20 goals. The Terps didn’t score 20 times once last season, but the addition of Aurora Cordingley via the transfer portal seems to have helped tremendously. The Johns Hopkins graduate poured in five goals in her Terps debut.

Maryland gets a real test in its next game in the form of No. 10 Virginia (we’ll talk about the Cavaliers in just a second), but there’s a different confidence around this Terps team compared to last year.

Virginia (+1)

Virginia went out and put 38 goals on the board over its first two games — a 20-11 win over Elon and an 18-5 drubbing of Cal. Ten Cavaliers have goals through two games. Jaime Biskup and Rachel Clark are tied for the team lead with seven, and Mackenzie Hoeg has five. Morgan Schwab is the team’s points leader with 10 (three goals, seven assists). This offense is deep, and even though Virginia opened with a relatively soft schedule, it’s hard to argue with the results.

NOT

Notre Dame (-5)

After a blistering win to open the season against Central Michigan — a game in which Notre Dame led 23-0 — the Irish ran into a Michigan team playing with renewed confidence after a down 2021 season. Notre Dame never led, and Michigan actually led pretty comfortably after it went ahead 8-3 in the second half.

All signs point to Notre Dame being just fine, especially with the likes of Kasey Choma, Madison Ahern and Jackie Wolak on offense. Not to mention graduate goalie Bridget Deehan back anchoring the offense. But this was a hiccup, for sure.

Northwestern (-2)

It’s hard to fault Northwestern for losing to defending national champion Boston College, but it’s the way in which the Wildcats lost that warrants some concern. Everyone knew the Cats would look a bit different with Izzy Scane sidelined, but there was confidence that Lauren Gilbert and Erin Coykendall would be able to make things happen. Instead, Northwestern looked hesitant on that end of the field while it’s defense — led by a brilliant game from Madison Doucette — tried to keep BC from breaking through. 

And now some reasoning for why the Cats are one spot behind Maryland despite being picked ahead of the Terps to finish No. 1 in the Big Ten. There’s no doubting the talent on this roster, and an early season bump in the road never hurt anyone — as long as Northwestern learns from it — but the Maryland offense looked to be in attack mode from the opening whistle. Northwestern looked like it was searching for a leader.

There will likely be a course correction soon, and Kelly Amonte Hiller just earned a contract extension through 2029 for a reason, so don’t expect the Wildcats to be down for long.

IN

Michigan (No. 11)

The Wolverines have looked very, very, very strong out of the gate. They topped Detroit Mercy 23-2 to open the season before going on the road to South Bend to upset then-No. 7 Notre Dame 11-7. According to Lacrosse Reference, Michigan allowed those seven goals on 46 possessions, a showcase of the defensive effort. Arielle Weissman, a graduate student, made 13 saves.

Michigan stumbled through its conference-only 2021 schedule, finishing 3-9 with an early exit in the Big Ten tournament. That tempered some expectations heading into this spring, but Michigan seems determined to prove last year was a blip, not the start of a trend.

OUT

Penn (was No. 20)

This is not an indictment on Penn, which has yet to take the field this spring. (The Quakers open this Saturday against Delaware on Franklin Field.) But when a new team enters the fray, someone has to get the axe. Even it this is just temporary, Penn is the casualty for now.

The same explanation can be used for why Rutgers, Drexel, Jacksonville and UConn each fell one spot. When one team enters, others fall.

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