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Notre Dame's Mary Kelly Doherty.

Irish, Orange Each Move 5 Spots in USA Lacrosse Division I Women's Top 20

March 18, 2024
Beth Ann Mayer
Peyton Williams

Northwestern remains No. 1 in the USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Top 20, but Notre Dame, which handed the Wildcats their lone loss of the year, is up to No. 2.

The Irish upended now-No. 3 Boston College 15-14 on Saturday. No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Virginia round out the top five.

Next up: No. 6 Maryland, No. 7 James Madison and No. 8 Loyola, and Syracuse re-enters the top 10 after rolling over North Carolina — the team that fell farthest in this rankings update.


1. Northwestern, 8-1 (Prev: 1)
2. Notre Dame, 7-2 (Prev: 7)
3. Boston College, 8-2 (Prev: 2)
4. Michigan, 10-0 (Prev: 3)
5. Virginia, 8-1 (Prev: 4)
6. Maryland, 7-1 (Prev: 5)
7. James Madison, 7-1 (Prev: 6)
8. Loyola, 7-0 (Prev: 9)
9. Syracuse, 5-3 (Prev: 14)
10. Penn, 6-1 (Prev: 10)
11. Johns Hopkins, 7-3 (Prev: 11)
12. Denver, 5-3 (Prev: 15)
13. Florida, 7-2 (Prev: 13)
14. Stony Brook, 6-2 (Prev: 12)
15. North Carolina, 6-4 (Prev: 8)
16. USC, 7-2 (Prev: 16)
17. Yale, 7-0 (Prev: 17)
18. Princeton, 4-3 (Prev: 18)
19. Fairfield, 6-1 (Prev: 20)
20. Stanford, 5-3 (Prev: NR)

Also considered (alphabetical order): Brown (6-2), Colorado (5-3), Drexel (5-3), Navy (7-1), Duke (6-4), Harvard (5-1), Penn State (5-4), Rutgers (5-4), Richmond (6-2)


Notre Dame (+5)

If Notre Dame had a better second half against Syracuse and sharper shooting against Virginia, the Irish would be undefeated. Despite those hard-knock losses, Notre Dame is loaded with talent, and that was on full display against Boston College. Mary Kelly Doherty is a player head coach Christine Halfpenny feels flies under the radar, but she shined against the Eagles with four goals on five shots and six draws. Abby Maichin, who entered the game with 12 goals, poured in four off the bench.

Why are the Irish ahead of a UVA that recently beat them? It’s a good question, and an interesting debate. When you look at Notre Dame’s quality of wins (Northwestern and Boston College), it outweighs the head-to-head. Additionally, the Irish beat North Carolina. Virginia’s overtime loss to the Tar Heels no longer feels like a “good loss” (if you believe in those) after what happened to UNC at Syracuse.

Syracuse (+5)

The Orange tumbled last week because of a loss to Stony Brook, which then went on to fall to Johns Hopkins, complicating matters. A 20-5 thumping of UNC? That offered plenty of clarity. Emma Tyrrell shined for Syracuse with five goals and three assists. Next week’s date with Virginia is one to watch.


North Carolina (-7)

We knew the Tar Heels would have their share of ups and downs due to the injuries to star players. However, a 20-5 loss to anyone was not on our bingo card.


Stanford (No. 20)

The Cardinal’s Friday night win over former No. 19 Colorado and their 5-3 start have it entering the rankings at No. 20. Stanford kept pace with No. 12 Denver two days later in a loss. Its other losses were of the one-goal variety and also came against Top 20 teams: Virginia (10-9 loss) and Yale (13-12 loss). When you compare that to other teams considered with weaker schedules and losses to teams outside of the Top 20, Stanford comes out on top.


Colorado (No. 19)

The Buffs have been in and out of the Top 20 this season. A loss to Stanford has them out again for now.