Three New Teams Crash Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Women's Top 20

PHOTO COURTESY OF HARRISON MCCLARY / VANDERBILT ATHLETICS

Paige Finneran scored once in Vanderbilt's 14-12 upset win over Notre Dame.


There were nine losses in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Top 20 since last week’s update. Nine.

Six of those losses came at the hands of other ranked teams, and three were complete upsets. Let the in-season rankings hysteria begin.

The weight of an upset win varies depending upon the time of year. In February, we can make stark changes because of the small sample size — hence why then-unranked Michigan’s win over then-No. 7 Notre Dame last week vaulted the Wolverines all the way up to No. 11. The same can be said for Vanderbilt after its win this weekend over then-No. 12 Notre Dame.

But this week, it’s not so much the teams that are climbing up as the teams that are falling out. After unexpected losses, two teams that have been staples in this weekly exercise have fallen out of the Top 20 entirely.

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I WOMEN’S TOP 20

 
Feb. 21, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

Boston College

3-0

1

2/23 at No. 13 Virginia

2

North Carolina

3-0

2

2/24 at Pitt

3

Syracuse

3-0

3

2/26 at Notre Dame

4

Maryland

2-0

5

2/26 vs No. 11 Florida

5

Northwestern

2-1

6

2/23 at Notre Dame

6

Stony Brook

0-1

4

2/27 vs. Dartmouth

7

Duke

4-0

7

2/24 vs. Wofford

8

Loyola

1-0

8

2/23 vs. Towson

Michigan

4-0

11

2/27 at Towson

10

Princeton

1-0

13

2/26 vs. Temple

11

Florida

1-1

9

2/26 at No. 4 Maryland

12

Denver

3-0

15

2/25 vs. Ohio State

13

Virginia

2-2

10

2/23 vs. No. 1 Boston College

14

Rutgers

3-0

17

2/26 vs. Lehigh

15

Drexel

3-0

18

3/1 vs. Navy

16

Stanford

1-2

16

2/25 at Richmond

17

Vanderbilt

2-0

NR

2/25 at Elon

18

USC

3-0

NR

3/8 vs. No. 10 Princeton

19

Jacksonville

2-1

19

2/27 at No. 1 North Carolina

20

Virginia Tech

2-1

NR

2/23 vs. Liberty

Also considered (alphabetical order): Colorado (2-0), Dartmouth (1-0), James Madison (1-2), Navy (3-0), Notre Dame (1-2), Ohio State (3-0), Penn (1-0), Richmond (3-0), Temple (3-0), UConn (1-1)





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

HOT

Princeton (+3)

Welcome back, Tigers. Princeton returned after 751 days between games to handle then-No. 10 Virginia, which was coming off a loss to Maryland. Thwarting a top-10 team (not to mention scoring 17 goals) after such a long layoff is impressive enough that the Tigers climb three spots this week. Even more impressive: Sam Fish made 15 saves in her first game action since March 2020.

Michigan (+2)

Michigan’s win over Notre Dame wasn’t a fluke. After mixed reports about the Wolverines in the preseason, those confident in a Michigan bounceback have been validated. Two more wins this weekend — one over a fast-improving Arizona State team and another over Cincinnati — have Michigan not just maintaining, but rising.

NOT

Virginia (-3)

This weekend was a big one for Virginia. There’s, of course, a ton of season left to play, but Virginia was unable to avoid losing each of its ranked matchups — a 17-13 result to Maryland and a 17-11 result to Princeton. Not season-ending, by any stretch, but certainly the type of non-conference losses that could have implications come NCAA tournament time.

This UVA offense boasts a handful of weapons and can pick apart opposing teams, but its own defense needs to improve in an upcoming three-game stretch against Boston College, Stanford and Notre Dame.

Stanford (no change)

The Cardinal have dropped both games they’ve played against ranked teams — an opening-night loss to Syracuse and a Friday matchup against Denver. Still, Stanford remains at the No. 16 spot. The “not” here in regard to their trend line is because Tewaaraton Award Watch List member Ali Baiocco has yet to play, and a prolonged absence from her will only further sink Stanford.

As things stand now, Stanford is led by redshirt-freshman Ashley Humphrey (five goals, 15 assists) and freshman Annabel Frist (10 goals, two assists). That’s a remarkable accomplishment for two young players but not sustainable over the long haul. Inserting Baiocco back into the lineup instantly changes Stanford’s outlook.

IN

Vanderbilt (No. 17)

One year after getting blasted by Notre Dame 19-5, Vanderbilt flipped the script and won 14-12. Notre Dame is reeling after also losing to Michigan, but that doesn’t make the win any less sweet for the Commodores, who enter the fray at No. 17.

USC (No. 18)

The Women of Troy relinquished their once-consistent place in the Top 20 last season, but they’re back in the mix now after handling a potent Jacksonville team 13-12. Sophomore Shelby Tilton showed poise, scoring the game-winner with 49 seconds remaining on the road.

Virginia Tech (No. 20)

The Hokies gave us our first dose of midweek madness in women’s lacrosse this season, upsetting James Madison for the first time in program history. Olivia Vergano and Sophie Student were almost solely responsible for the win, as Student scored the goals that tied the score and got her team within one, and Vergano, a freshman, netted the winner. Virginia Tech is 2-1 but seems to have recovered nicely from a season-opening throttling at the hands of Jacksonville.

OUT

Notre Dame (was No. 12)

It’s been a disappointing start for the Irish, who have now dropped consecutive games to unranked teams. First it was Michigan, and now Vanderbilt. Things get no easier, as Notre Dame faces five teams in a row currently ranked in the Top 20 — No. 5 Northwestern, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 13 Virginia, No. 20 Virginia Tech and No. 19 Jacksonville, in that order. The good news is that a win against any one of them instantly boosts Notre Dame’s stock.

James Madison (was No. 14)

This was the struggle of this week’s update. James Madison opened 0-2 for the first time since 2008. To some degree, you can write off the Dukes’ loss to No. 2 North Carolina as a hard-fought game against one of the nation’s best teams. But the next game, a loss to Virginia Tech, was a tough pill to swallow. JMU responded Saturday by beating then-No. 20 UConn, but the math simply wasn’t in JMU’s favor this week.

Based on similar opponents and results, JMU ranks fourth in the quartet of USC, Jacksonville and Virginia Tech. Had Vanderbilt not beaten Notre Dame, maybe this is a different conversation. But for now, JMU is on the outside looking in. But with the stacked schedule that Shelley Klaes put together, it might not be long before the Dukes jump back in.

UConn (was No. 20)

The Huskies fell to James Madison on Saturday, making way for one of the three newcomers to the rankings. There was (and still is) considerable hype around UConn entering the season, but the team’s upcoming slate doesn’t get too difficult until Big East play starts April 2 against Marquette. We’re in wait-and-see mode with the Huskies.

PREVIOUS RANKINGS

Most Recent

Mercer Tabs Ryan Danehy as Next Men's Lacrosse Coach

Danehy has spent more than 15 years coaching at the college, pro and international levels.

Behind the Whistle: Three Questions for Kelly Gallagher

In an IWLCA blog post, the IWLCA grills Tampa head coach Kelly Gallagher.

Campbell Announces Move to CAA

Campbell will join the CAA as a full member on July 1, 2023.

Maryland Announces Addition of Graduate Transfer Marge Donovan

Donovan transfers to Maryland from Princeton, where she was a stalwart on defense.







Twitter Posts