Diving Into College Lacrosse’s Many Rivalries

(Photo Courtesy of Loyola Athletics)

As any other sport, rivalries are a huge part of college lacrosse. Each year teams battle it out for bragging rights over their rival, and in some cases there are postseason implications to rivalry games, too. No matter what, the stakes are always high in these matchups.

Here is a look at many of the DI rivalries in college lacrosse. 

Johns Hopkins-Maryland

Not only is the Hopkins-Maryland rivalry the oldest and greatest in college lacrosse, but it is between two of the most successful and storied programs, as well. Each year these two squads get together and battle it out for pride, bragging rights, and since 2015, the chance to hoist the Rivalry Trophy. 

History, passion, geography, and more have fueled this rivalry since the first meeting way back in 1895. And oftentimes this contest has national and postseason implications. Currently, Johns Hopkins leads the series 74-44-1 and has won the past three meetings, including a Big Ten semifinal matchup in 2019. 

Army-Navy 

One of the most well-known rivalries in all of college athletics, Army and Navy have deked it out on the lacrosse field every year since the series began in 1924. Natural rivals, this game is much different than other rivalries. There is the competition and passion on both sides but its the respect and camaraderie that really makes this game such a special event each spring. 

While the lacrosse game between these two may not be the spectacle that the football game is, but to these teams and athletic departments it means just as much and it usually draws a pretty big crowd of fans, as well. Navy leads the series 61-36-3. Army won last year’s meeting- which was the 100th in the series-, snapping Navy’s four-game winning streak. 

Cornell-Hobart

While this game may not give as much love as it used to, Cornell-Hobart is one of the most historic rivalries in the sport, starting in 1898. This game has produced some classics over the years and in 1995 Hobart moved to DI from DIII to preserve its rivalries with Cornell and Syracuse. 

The Big Red currently hold a firm 87-47-4 all-time lead in the series. Hobart’s last win over Cornell came in 2017, winning 16-8.

Hobart-Syracuse

Similarly to Hobart’s rivalry with Cornell, it has lost some luster in recent years. However, the Statesmen have beaten the Orange more recently, upsetting a top-five ranked Syracuse team in 2013. 

Syracuse leads the all-time series 77-26-2. These two battle for the Kraus-Simmons Trophy each year. The trophy has been presented to the winner every year since 1986 and is named after former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. and former Hobart coach Babe Kraus. Hobart has only won the trophy three times (1986, 2006 and 2013). 

Cornell-Syracuse

Having met in two national championships (1988,2009) this rivalry is fierce and seems to get better with every passing year. The rivalry has heated up a little more over the past few seasons with the two teams facing off in the NCAA first-round in 2018. 

First meeting in 1920, these two New York State foes have met 107 times over the past 99 years. Syracuse currently holds a 66-40-1 all-time series lead. The past four meetings have been split between the two teams. 

Harvard-Yale-Princeton

Yes, Harvard-Yale is usually the only one mentioned in this three-way rivalry, which is fair, as they are rivals in everything else, as well. But this is actually a three-way rivalry that many refer to as (HYP). 

Harvard and Yale first met in 1882 and have met almost every year since 1915. Yale holds a 64-34 lead over the Crimson in the all-time series and have won four of the past five meetings. Princeton holds a 64-21-1 lead in the series against Harvard, first meeting in 1881 and meeting every year since 1953. Princeton and Yale first played in 1883, currently lead the all-time series, and Yale has won the past four meetings.

Johns Hopkins-Loyola

Whether you call it The Battle of Charles Street or The Charles Street Massacre depends on which side you are on. These two Baltimore schools with portions of their campus sitting on the same street have been churning out some great contest over the years, and lately, it has picked up even more. 

Johns Hopkins has dominated the series with 48-8 all-time lead. However, Loyola’s program has really been taken to the next level over the past decade, making the series much more competitive on a consistent basis. The Greyhounds have won five of the past six meetings. 

Duke-North Carolina

These two schools sit on the same road (Tobacco Road) and are most known for their intense rivalry in basketball. However, the rivalry extends to all other sports, as well, including lacrosse. 

On the lacrosse field, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels first met in 1952 and have faced each other every year since 1967. North Carolina holds a 41-33 all-time lead and the past four meetings have been split with Duke winning in 2017 and 2018 and North Carolina winning in 2016 and 2019.

Johns Hopkins-Syracuse

A rivalry that really sparked in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s when both of these programs were on top of college lacrosse pretty much every single year, Hopkins-Syracuse is always a must-see game and one that everyone circles on their calendars. 

First meeting in 1921, Johns Hopkins currently holds a 26-31-1 all-time series lead. But the Orange have won six of the last eleven meetings between these two fierce rivals. Each year, not matter either team’s record, this one has a chance to become an instant classic. 

Syracuse-Virginia

Unlike some other rivalries among major colleges, Syracuse and Virginia are really only rivals in lacrosse. But they have started to heat up in basketball as of late. On the lacrosse field, these are two of the most storied programs and have put on some of the best displays of all-time. 

When Syracuse joined the ACC the rivalry really ramped up with much more at stake than just pride and bragging rights for the next 364 days of the year. The Orange and Cavaliers have only met 36 times with the series being tied at 18. Virginia has won the past two meetings, but Syracuse was on a four-game win streak prior to 2018.

Lehigh-Lafayette

Roughly eighteen miles separate these two campuses and they don’t like each other at all. The Mountain Hawks and Leopards go at it in every sport, but football is the most dominant sport in the rivalry. That hatred and passion show when these two suit up on the lacrosse field, as well. 

These two programs have met on the lacrosse field every year since 1926. Lehigh has dominated the series, leading 69-21-1. Lehigh has only lost to Lafayette four times in the past thirty years and is currently on a 10-game win streak. 

Loyola-Towson

The other Charles Street rivalry is between Loyola and Towson, and these two programs do not like each other at all. The rivalry is one of the fiercest in the sport and the series is the most played at both schools. And despite not always getting the proper hyper of recognition it deserves, this game is a must-see every year.

Having met 62 times since their first meeting in 1959, Loyola holds a 33-29 all-time series lead. Towson won last season’s meeting, breaking a two-game winning streak for Loyola.

Hofstra-Stony Brook

Known as The Long Island Rivalry, Hofstra and Stony Brook first met in 2004 and played each year until Hofstra cancelled the series in 2009. However, they got things going against in 2016. 2019 marked the tenth all-time meeting between the two and saw Stony Brook break Hofstra’s two-game winning streak. Hofstra leads the all-time series 6-4. 

Ocean State Cup

Probably the newest rivalry in DI, the Ocean State Cup started in 2009 when Bryant made the jump from DII to DI. Since then Brown, Bryant, and Providence have competed in a three-way challenge to win the Ocean State Cup and claim themselves the champions of Rhode Island. However, in 2011 it was made an all sports cup and Rhode Island was added to the mix. Brown won the cup in the first two years before it was moved to an all-sports cup. 

Denver-Notre Dame

How many of Y’all consider this a legit rivalry? I figure most do, especially after the many instant classic matchups we have seen between these two over the past five to six seasons. 

These two first met in 1992 and have since played 26 contest against each other. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 16-10. Denver has won four of the past six meetings, including two overtime contests.

Ohio State-Michigan

Much newer in lacrosse, the Buckeyes and Wolverines go head-to-head in every sport with the football game between the two being the biggest of them all. However, the lacrosse rivalry has started to heat up in recent years with Michigan getting more competitive each season. The Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes for the first time in 2019, giving Ohio State a 7-1 series lead. 

 

So, what if your favorite rivalry in college lacrosse? Any that we should have included? Comment down below.

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