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SPARKS, Md. — Two-time defending NCAA champion Virginia earned the top spot in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Preseason Top 20, a ranking compiled by USA Lacrosse Magazine staff in consultation with college coaches.

The Cavaliers, who survived a late surge by Maryland in the 2021 NCAA championship game to win 17-16, have not shied away from talk of a three-peat despite several marquee players moving on. Among them are 2019 NCAA championship MVP goalie Alex Rode, four-time All-American midfielder Dox Aitken and MacLaughlin Award-winning long pole Jared Connors.

But Virginia brings back a pair of All-American attackmen in Connor Shellenberger (the 2021 NCAA championship MVP) and Matt Moore, plus multi-threat faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla and two-thirds of the rangy close defense Georgetown coach Kevin Warne memorably called “velociraptors” after the Cavaliers eliminated the Hoyas in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Maryland, Duke, Georgetown and Notre Dame round out the top five.

USA Lacrosse Magazine will preview each of the top 20 teams throughout the month of January on, with additional features in the February print edition.


1. Virginia
2. Maryland
3. Duke
4. Georgetown
5. Notre Dame
6. North Carolina
7. Loyola
8. Yale
9. Penn
10. Rutgers
11. Lehigh
12. Denver
13. Army
14. Syracuse
15. Johns Hopkins
16. Delaware
17. Drexel
18. Cornell
19. Vermont
20. Bryant

Also considered (alphabetical order): High Point, Navy, Ohio State, Penn State, Princeton, Richmond, Villanova