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Florida's Madison Waters.

The Sunday Slide: March 31, 2024

March 31, 2024
Kenny DeJohn
John Strohsacker

With all the hoopla at the top of the rankings, I’m shifting gears in this Easter edition of The Sunday Slide.

Let’s take a look at the middle portion of the USA Lacrosse Division I Top 20 — at least the one we revealed on March 25.

While the top six or so teams continue reorder themselves as the season goes on, there are teams lurking that nobody wants to face come May. Let’s start with Florida.

The Gators are on an 11-game winning streak since dropping their first two. They’ve dropped 20 or more goals in eight of those games, with a grind-it-out overtime win over Maryland mixed in, too.

Florida came into 2024 rather quietly. Emma LoPinto transferred to Boston College, and all-time great goalie Sarah Reznick graduated to pursue her passion in nursing. The cupboard was far from bare, but there was a different vibe at Dizney.

Thirteen games into Florida’s season, it’s same old Gators. Now, it’s important to recognize that they haven’t exactly played juggernauts outside of Maryland and Princeton in this 11-game stretch. But can you fault a team for winning games in the manner you’d expect of a top team?

We’ll learn so much more about Florida on April 13 when its hosts James Madison.

Other mid-ranks teams I’m not sleeping on include Loyola, Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook. In a season when nobody wants to claim No. 1 and hold onto it, doesn’t it just seem right that another team will come from “nowhere” to win the whole thing?

I don’t know about you, but I think that would be pretty fun.


Melissa Sconone is having a massive impact on Hofstra. I’ve long been a fan of Sconone’s for her work at North Carolina. Jenny Levy deployed her as something of a specialist, for lack of a better description, and she was a master at scoring to fire up the Tar Heels.

She’s much more than a specialist with the Pride. She’s a cornerstone of the offense in her graduate season. She has 22 goals and 20 assists, and her contributions vary by the game. She has a five-goal game and a seven-assist game. She’ll take the lead, or she’ll draw attention.

Either way, her role — exactly seven shots in each of the last seven games — has been consistent. It’s also been pivotal to Hofstra’s 4-0 start to CAA play after the Pride beat Towson this weekend.

Drexel's Jenika Cuocco.
Jenika Cuocco is saving 57.1 percent of shots in 2024.
Sideline Photos / Drexel Athletics


Let’s stick in the CAA for a moment, because there’s another team there not getting a ton of attention. Drexel is 8-3 (3-0 CAA) with a star contributor on each end. Jenika Cuocco is stopping 57.1 percent of shots and allowing 8.27 goals per game, and Corinne Bednarik has 62 points (37 goals, 25 assists).

The race for ACC supremacy has occupied headlines the past few years. This year, it looks like the Big Ten is the power conference most up in the air. Is Northwestern still the best team on paper? Probably. But Maryland spent a week at No. 1, and Michigan’s defense is still a tough nut to crack. Oh yeah, and Penn State has already proven it can play spoiler.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see Northwestern click and roll through everyone come conference tournament time. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see someone else get the conference’s auto bid.

There’s no arguing that Rider still has room to improve. It is, after all, the Broncs’ inaugural season. But they picked up their first two MAAC wins this week (over Manhattan and Marist) after getting trounced 22-4 by MAAC contender Siena. Evan Mager is doing a great job early in Rider’s NCAA tenure.


1 • Undefeated team remaining — Yale (9-0). So, why aren’t the Bulldogs ranked higher than No. 17 (as of March 25), you ask? Largely due to a lack of quality wins outside of fringe Top 20 teams Stanford and Princeton. Boston College and Penn are their next two opponents, though.

7 • Goals scored by individuals on opposing teams in Mount St. Mary’s’ 16-15 win over Quinnipiac. Mackenzi Furlong did it for the Mount, and EllaGrace Delmond did it for Quinnipiac.

10 • Combined goals between Caroline DeBellis and Katie DeSimone in Duke’s 15-10 upset of Virginia.

11 • Points for Jackie Wolak (five goals, six assists) in Notre Dame’s 26-5 win over Pitt.

17 • Draw controls by Chase Boyle in a 20-6 win over Colgate. Does any other school churn out draw aces like Loyola?

80% • Percentage of Stanford’s goals scored by the trio of Aliya Polisky, Jay Browne and Jordyn Case in the Cardinal’s 20-8 win over Arizona State. Charlotte Varnes wrote about the interesting path to Stanford stardom that Polisky has taken.

1,901 • Fans in attendance at the JMA Wireless Dome for Syracuse’s 22-12 win over Louisville.