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Duke's Charles Balsamo.

Small Shuffle Near Top of USA Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20

April 15, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Peyton Williams

Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins survived while Duke thrived against Virginia on Sunday.

And that helps explain the small shuffle near the top of this week’s USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20.

Notre Dame is the last remaining team in Division I with just one loss, and it stays at No. 1 after fending off Cornell 18-17 in the Big Red’s latest back-and-forth game.

Duke earned its 19th consecutive regular-season defeat of Virginia, an 18-12 decision that served as a palate cleanser heading into an open date after the Blue Devils’ loss to Notre Dame a week earlier.

Like Duke, Johns Hopkins owns a victory over Virginia, and the Blue Jays also own back-to-back overtime victories thanks to Matt Collison. A week after locking up a defeat of Penn State, Collison stuck the game-winner in extra time at Ohio State to secure an 11-10 victory.

And then there’s Virginia, 0-2 against the three teams ahead of them and 10-0 against everyone else (including a triumph at the Maryland team that closes out this week’s top five).

It doesn’t always work out that cleanly in the top few spots, but it did … at least this week, anyway.


1. Notre Dame, 8-1 (Prev: 1)
2. Duke, 11-3 (Prev: 4)
3. Johns Hopkins, 9-3 (Prev: 3)
4. Virginia, 10-2 (Prev: 2)
5. Maryland, 8-3 (Prev: 6)
6. Denver, 9-2 (Prev: 9)
7. Penn State, 8-3 (Prev: 7)
8. Yale, 9-2 (Prev: 8)
9. Georgetown, 8-3 (Prev: 5)
10. Cornell, 7-4 (Prev: 10)
11. Army, 9-2 (Prev: 11)
12. Syracuse, 10-4 (Prev: 12)
13. Penn, 8-4 (Prev: 13)
14. Richmond, 8-4 (Prev: 17)
15. Towson, 9-3 (Prev: 19)
16. Saint Joseph’s, 8-3 (Prev: NR)
17. Delaware, 7-3 (Prev: NR)
18. Princeton, 7-4 (Prev: 14)
19. Harvard, 7-4 (Prev: 18)
20. Colgate, 7-5 (Prev: 16)

Also considered (alphabetical order): Boston U (7-5), Michigan (6-6), Navy (7-5), North Carolina (6-6), Ohio State (6-7), Rutgers (7-5)


Towson (+4)

There’s a little bit of inertia at play for both the Tigers and Richmond, which made jumps as the likes of Princeton, Boston U, Colgate and Harvard - all teams between 14th and 18th in last week’s rankings - took tumbles of varying degrees.

To be clear, this isn’t a reward for beating Hampton 25-2. But Towson did clinch home-field advantage in the CAA tournament, and it has won five in a row since an early March loss to Virginia. It’s the first time the Tigers are 5-0 in the CAA since 2004.

Denver (+3)

The Pioneers snapped a five-game skid against Georgetown, rallying in the second half for a 10-8 victory to give them sole possession of the Big East lead with two games to go.

Denver now owns victories over Cornell, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, all of which remain to varying degrees serious contenders for NCAA tournament inclusion. The Pioneers are in excellent shape themselves and can lock up the top seed in the conference tournament with a victory Saturday at Providence.

Richmond (+3)

The Spiders surrendered two goals in the first 78 seconds Saturday at High Point … then three more the rest of the way. It was a top-notch smothering, and the 9-5 victory looks even more impressive considering High Point won 15 of 17 faceoffs.

Richmond has allowed just 21 goals in three Atlantic 10 games going into Saturday’s trip to UMass and continues to be a fixture in the second 10 of the rankings like it has all season.


Georgetown (-4)

It’s safe to say the Hoyas returned from the Mile High City thinking they could have collected a win on their trip West. The Hoyas led by two with 10 minutes left but didn’t score in the final 17:39. They also had a costly offsides penalty that led to Denver’s go-ahead man-up goal with 4:37 to go.

Unlike last year, Georgetown won’t haul a monster winning streak into May, but no matter. It is clear they’re part of roughly nine teams that really aren’t too much different from each other, and the Hoyas are right in the middle of that scrum this week.

Colgate (-4)

It’s just about time to quit trying to make sense of the Patriot League and its six-way logjam at 4-2. A week after making things miserable for Army in a 14-11 victory at West Point, Colgate couldn’t muster much offense in a 9-7 loss at home to Lehigh.

The Raiders’ two notable victories - on the road against Penn State and Army - are keeping them in the Top 20, at least for the moment.

Princeton (-4)

One could (quite correctly) point out that Brown hasn’t always played like a 2-9 team this season, taking Maryland to overtime and creating all sorts of headaches for Cornell for about a half. But that doesn’t mean it’s a flattering look for Princeton to lose to the Bears, in the process all but obliterating its NCAA tournament at-large hopes.

It’s tempting to point to the Tigers’ youth in key spots, but that actually hadn’t led to an inexplicable result in almost two months of play prior to Saturday. Princeton didn’t always play sharp, but its losses (Maryland, Duke, Cornell) wouldn’t cause a double take from anyone. With Penn and Yale up next, Princeton suddenly has some work to do to secure a place in the Ivy League tournament.


Delaware (No. 17)

The Blue Hens return to the rankings after a 16-12 defeat of Stony Brook that didn’t feel nearly as close as the final score (Delaware was up 13-2 in the third quarter). Ben DeLuca’s bunch didn’t finish that game in ideal fashion, but the Blue Hens have collected four victories in a row since a mid-March loss to Syracuse and have already clinched no worse than the No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament.

Saint Joseph’s (No. 16)

Winners of eight in a row, the Hawks have methodically worked their way through the first three weeks of Atlantic 10 play by bouncing High Point, UMass and Hobart by an average of six goals. Taylor Wray’s veteran team appears to be on a collision course with Richmond to settle the conference’s regular season and, potentially, tournament titles in the coming weeks.


Boston U (was No. 15)

The Terriers come off a two-loss week that could have wound up much different. Boston U outshot Yale 64-35 in an 18-16 loss on Tuesday, then fell by a goal to Lafayette on a last-second shot. They’ll have a chance to climb back into the Top 20 and perhaps even secure Patriot League tournament hosting rights with road games against Lehigh and Colgate to close out the regular season.

Rutgers (was No. 20)

The Scarlet Knights didn’t take advantage of Maryland’s many early miscues, and that’s on them. But their 11-6 loss could have turned out much different if Colin Kurdyla’s shot that appeared to enter the net late in the third quarter had been counted as a goal to bring Rutgers within 7-6. Because the Big Ten doesn’t permit replay in conference games, the play couldn’t be reviewed, and while the Scarlet Knights did score the next goal, they never tied it to apply even greater pressure on the Terrapins.

Big Ten athletic departments have more television money coursing through them than any other conference in lacrosse. And the biggest impetus for expanding replay review this season was a poor call that went against a Big Ten team (Penn State) in last year’s NCAA semifinals. Whether the league will not or feels it cannot embrace replay, the truth is it should do so next year. The refusal to do so in 2024 made its product worse on Saturday.