(Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins 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 Ten.
Johns Hopkins (2005)
As one of the oldest and most historic programs in the nation, the Blue Jays have put together multiple season that could be called the programs greatest. However, many would argue that their undefeated national title season in 2005 is the best season in Blue Jay history.
During that season, in which they were led by midfielder Kyle Harrison on offense and goalie Jesse Schwartzman, the Blue Jays went 16-0 and ran the table the entire season.
As the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Johns Hopkins blowout Marist and UMass in the first two rounds before taking down Virginia, 9-8, in the semifinals. They defeated Duke 9-8 in the national championship game.
One of the most history programs in the history of the game, there are many arguments that can be made for which season is needed the greatest in program history. But for this exercise, we will go with their 2017 national championship season, which ended the 42-year title drought in College Park.
The Terrapins, who were led by a star-studded offense that featured Tewarraton winner Matt Rambo, Dylan Maltz, and Colin Heacock, went 16-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten during that 2017 season. They also won the Big Ten Tournament, beating Ohio State in the championship game.
In the NCAA Tournament, they beat Bryant and Albany to secure their trip to Championship Weekend, where they defeated Denver in the semifinals and Ohio State in the championship, winning 9-6.
The Michigan Wolverines men’s lacrosse program was elevated to DI ahead of the 2012 season. And while they haven’t been able to churn out much success just yet, the Wolverines have had some decent seasons in their brief existence as a DI program.
2018 is the best season in the history of Michigan lacrosse, to date. The Wolverines went 8-6 for the second consecutive, which also marked their second-ever winning season. In addition, Michigan won their first game against a Big Ten opponent, defeating Penn State 10-9 in overtime in their final game of the season.
Ohio State (2017)
The Ohio State Buckeyes have made six NCAA Tournament appearances in program history. And the 2017 season is the only one in which they have made it all the way to Memorial Day.
Ohio State went 16-5 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten during the 2017 season and came into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed following a Big Ten Champiohip loss against Maryland. They would beat Loyola and Duke to secure their Champiohip Weekend ticket, where they beat Towson in the semifinals and lost to Maryland in the title game.
Some notable players from that 2017 Ohio State squad include, Jack Jasinski, Austin Shanks Tre LeClaire, and Ben Randall. All of whom have had success at the pro level, besides LeClaire who is still at Ohio State, thus far.
Penn State (2019)
2019 was the season that Penn State, whom many had called a sleeping giant for years, finally arrived on the big stage. And that season is, undoubtedly, the best in program history thus far.
The Nittany Lions, who were led by a stellar attack of Grant Ament, Mac O’Keefe, and Dylan Foulds, and faceoff man Gerard Arceri, and goalie Colby Kneese, went 16-2, 5-0 in the Big Ten, and won the Big Ten Tournament. They also beat Maryland for the first time ever that season.
Given the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Penn State blowed through UMBC and Loyola to punch their ticket to Championship Weekend, where they feel to Yale in the semifinals.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have one of the longest histories in the game, but they have not had quite the amount of success as their peers. The 1972 season was the third nine-win season in program history and the first time they made a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers went 9-3 that season, with their only regular season losses coming against Johns Hopkins, Army, and Navy. They also lost to Maryland in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals (first round), which was their first ever NCAA Tournament game.