UNC New No. 1 in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Women's Top 20

PHOTO BY RISLEY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Emily Nalls has contributed on defense and the draw for North Carolina this spring.


Boston College got just what it wanted in the waning moments of its game Sunday against North Carolina — a chance for Charlotte North to win it.

But North tried to bulldoze her way to the cage, resulting in a turnover that allowed the Tar Heels to ice the a game after a furious Eagles comeback attempt. North, who was an integral part of that BC comeback, was critical of herself.

“Unfortunately, I think we made some mental errors, starting with me,” North said after the 16-15 defeat at the hands of North Carolina, the new No. 1. “We wish we could have had those back.”

The 16-15 North Carolina win paved the way for the Tar Heels to claim the top spot in this week’s Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Top 20. UNC is now 36-1 in its past 37 games, and that only loss was to Boston College in last year’s national semifinals.

What makes this North Carolina team perhaps even more dangerous is its depth, which might even be better than a year ago. Three of Sunday’s top contributors — Andie Aldave (four goals), Sam Geiersbach (two goals, two assists) and Olivia Dirks (two goals, two assists, five draw controls) — are all transfers Jenny Levy scooped up in the offseason. They, of course, compliment an already strong core featuring the program’s all-time leading scorer in Jamie Ortega.

Barring any unforeseen hiccups, UNC is likely to stay penciled in at No. 1 until it puts its standing on the line in a potential rematch against BC in either the ACC or NCAA tournament. Maybe even both. (Please, both).

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I WOMEN’S TOP 20

 
March 21, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

North Carolina

9-0

2

3/23 at High Point

2

Boston College

8-1

1

3/26 at Pitt

3

Maryland

7-0

3

3/23 vs. Penn

4

Northwestern

6-2

4

3/21 vs. Dartmouth

5

Stony Brook

4-2

6

3/22 at Brown

6

Loyola

7-0

8

3/23 vs. No. 10 Princeton

7

Florida

4-4

16

3/23 vs. Stetson

8

Syracuse

7-2

5

3/26 vs. Temple

9

Duke

10-1

7

3/26 at No. 20 Notre Dame

10

Princeton

6-0

9

3/23 at No. 7 Loyola

11

Denver

8-1

10

3/25 vs. Drexel

12

Michigan

9-1

11

3/26 vs. No. 4 Northwestern

13

Rutgers

8-1

12

3/26 vs. Johns Hopkins

14

Navy

7-1

17

3/23 vs. Georgetown

15

James Madison

5-4

NR

3/26 at No. 3 Maryland

16

Virginia

5-6

14

3/26 at Louisville

17

Richmond

6-2

15

3/25 at La Salle

18

Stanford

5-4

NR

3/25 at Colorado

19

USC

6-3

13

3/25 vs. Arizona State

20

Notre Dame

4-5

19

3/26 vs. No. 6 Duke

Also considered (alphabetical order): Arizona State (4-3), Colorado (6-2), Jacksonville (4-3), Temple (6-3), UConn (6-1), UMass (6-2), Virginia Tech 7-4





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

HOT

Florida (+9)

No team raised its stock more this week than Florida. A pair of six-point performances from Danielle Pavinelli (four goals) and Emma LoPinto (four assists) lifted the Gators past former No. 5 Syracuse in Gainesville, then Florida withstood a rollercoaster game against Drexel to eek out a gutsy win. Florida’s youth looks like it’s starting to hit its stride, and the Gators climb back into the top 10 as a result.

Navy (+3)

The Mids didn’t do a ton to add to their own resume this week, but they also didn’t do anything to hurt it. Navy handled Bucknell 15-3 in its Patriot League opener, and the schedule looks manageable until an April 28 clash against Loyola. Navy has seven players with at least 14 points and three with at least 21, a sign of the Mids’ depth.

Loyola (+2)

The Greyhounds saw a passive bump to their resume and ranking. They did their part by beating Lehigh, but their March 11 win over Florida is now quite significant with the Gators’ defeat of Syracuse. Up to No. 6 — the highest its been all season — Loyola faces both Princeton and Syracuse in the next eight days.

NOT

USC (-6)

The Women of Troy jumped to No. 13 last week after beating then-No. 19 Colorado. At the time, their rise was also a product of consistency. But facing a hot Stanford team, USC fell in overtime. While not a monumental loss, there’s cause for concern when seeing that USC took 40 shots (33 on goal). Perhaps Kara Rahaim of Stanford was just in a groove, but her 19 saves were at least partially because USC couldn’t finish.

Syracuse (-3)

There’s a very good chance that Syracuse’s talent level is higher than the No. 9 ranking. At least to this point, though, the ranking checks out. Syracuse couldn’t stay at No. 5 after its 14-10 upset loss to a Florida team that had been scuffling, and because Loyola took care of business against Florida on March 11, that trio had to be ranked in that order. This logic also explains the two-spot drop for Duke, as it lost a two-goal game to Syracuse on March 6.

IN

James Madison (No. 15)

Rumors of JMU’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. At least for now. The Dukes, staring at a 3-4 record and three straight opponents ranked in the Top 20, took care of business in the first two-thirds of that stretch. They beat in-state foes Richmond and Virginia last week, a sign that perhaps the Dukes are turning the corner after a rough start. The Dukes’ RPI will be strong once it’s time for the NCAA Selection Committee to build a case for or against them, but with two key wins now on their ledger, perhaps that’s skewing more toward “for.”

Stanford (No. 18)

Once written off at 1-4, Stanford has now strung together four straight wins. Sunday night’s 15-14 overtime win against then-No. 13 USC was a great sign that the Cardinal could be back to the team we all thought they’d be. Redshirt-freshman phenom Ashley Humphrey netted the winner to cap a two-goal, seven-assist performance, and Ali Baiocco looks to be back at full strength after missing the team’s first three contests.

OUT

Virginia Tech (was No. 18)

One of the season’s bubble teams thus far, Virginia Tech once again falls from the Top 20. Losing to Syracuse wasn’t necessarily shocking, but a Hokies team that looked like it had seized momentum simply couldn’t stick with the Orange in a 17-5 loss. For comparison, Notre Dame — a team the Hokies topped 13-12 on March 10 — took Syracuse to overtime in a 17-16 loss.

UConn (was No. 20)

The Huskies were inactive this week, and to accommodate two new teams in James Madison and Stanford, they’ve fallen out of the Top 20.

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