(Photo Courtesy of Denver Athletics)
College lacrosse has a rich history, filled with endless stories and legends.
And while the game is still growing at the college level and some programs have been around way longer than others, there is a certain amount of history at every program that can be heralded.
But what is considered the highest peak for all 75 current DI programs?
For some, the answer is very simple. But for others, the choices are endless and serious debates could be had about to determine the greatest season for that program.
Over the next few weeks, Lacrosse Bucket will be analyzing the greatest season for every team in every conference. And things continue here with the Big East.
The Denver Pioneers have enjoyed the most successful period in program history under legendary head coach Bill Tierney. And nothing highlights the success he has brought to the Rockies like the Pioneers’ 2015 national title run.
In 2015, Denver became the first team west of the Appalachian Mountains to win a national title and just the second team from west of Appalachia to compete in the NCAA Championship Game.
Led by Connor Cannizzaro and Wes Berg, the Pioneers went 17-2 overall, 5-0 in the Big East, and earned the No. 4 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. They defeated Brown, Ohio State, and Notre Dame en route to the title game. Denver defeated Maryland 10-5 in the national championship game.
In 1999, Dave Urick, in his tenth season at the helm, took the Hoyas to their third ever and third consecutive NCAA Tournament, where they made their first and only trip to Championship Weekend.
The Hoyas went 13-3 overall and earned the No. 5 seed coming into the NCAA Tournament. Georgetown beat Notre Dame and Duke in the first round and quarterfinals before losing, 13-10, against Syracuse in the semifinals.
Georgetown’s 1999 squad was led and highlighted by the stellar attack, which included Scott Urick and Andy Flick.
In just their fourth season as a program, the Marquette Eagles were able to rise to the top of the Big East, securing the Big East title and make their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Led by a stellar defense with BJ Grill, Jacob Richard, and Liam Byrnes wreaking havoc, the Golden Eagles went 11-5 overall and 4-1 in the Big East. This squad also featured an offense in which Ryan McNamara and Tanner Thompson were two of the leaders.
Marquette earned the No. 6 seed coming into the NCAA Tournament and hosted North Carolina in the first round, where they lost a very tight 10-9 contest.
The Providence Friars have only made the NCAA Tournament three times in program history (2004,2006,2007). And their second trip in 2006 provided a pretty nice ending to, arguably, the best season in program history.
In 2006, Providence went 10-7 overall, won the MAAC, and made their second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to John’s Hopkins in the first round. Additionally, that season was the Friars’ first double-digit win season since 1985 and is one of the three in the program’s history.
St. John’s (2013)
In the 39-year history of St. John’s lacrosse, the Red Storm have only had 10 winning seasons. Two of them have come under current head coach Jason Miller, who has been at the helm since 2010.
St. John’s best season in program history is, perhaps, 2013 when they went 9-4. That 2013 season is not only the last winning season that the Red Storm have had, but it is also the last season in which they won more than one game in Big East play. Also, that team, led by Kieran McArdle, upset No. 1 ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
While the Villanova Wildcats have only made the NCAA Tournament three times in program history (2009,2011,2018), but their best season program history is, arguably the 1984 season.
During the 1984 season, which was the second under head coach Randy Marks, Villanova secured its best record in program history (11-1). Their only loss came in the third game of the season, losing 6-3 against Boston College, and they ended the year of a 9-game winning streak.
Two notable players on that squad were goalie Drew Cunningham and attackman Ken Delgatto. Also, current Villanova head coach Mike Corrado was a freshman on that squad.