(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics)
March is here and the madness has followed with upsets and questions still blanketing the college lacrosse landscape one full month into the season.
While I don’t have an official vote, here is a look at my own personal top 20 after week three of the 2023 season
1. Virginia Cavaliers (4-0)
The Cavaliers continued to take care of business last week, defeating Richmond 25-8 in a contest that saw Xander Dickson score a career-high six goals while Payton Cormier (3G/3A) tallied six points. Once more, there isn’t too much to say about this Virginia team except that they look like the clear-cut best team in college lacrosse at this stage.
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0)
In an instant classic, Notre Dame topped the Maryland Terrapins in triple overtime off what was Pat Kavanagh’s first goal of the game. Once more, the Irish showcased their offensive depth in the contest with Chris Kavanagh (3G), Pat Kavnagh (1G/2A), each have three points while Jack Simmons, Quinn McCahon, and Brian Tevlin each had two goals to headline what was a very strong midfield effort.
3. Cornell Big Red (4-0)
The Cornell Big Red faced their biggest test of the season this week as they traveled to Columbus and defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in a 16-13 game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score suggest. The attack line of CJ Kirst (4G/2A), Billy Coyle (4G/1A), and Brian Piatelli (3G) combined for 14 points while the Big Red defense held Ohio State to three goals in the first half. Cornell caused 14 of Ohio State’s 20 turnovers.
4. Duke Blue Devils (4-1)
Duke has won each of its last three games and is coming off a contest this past weekend that saw them beat Syracuse 14-13 in overtime. It was the Blue Devil’s first road win against the Orange. Brenann O’Neill (4G/2A), Tommy Schelling (2G/1A), and Charles Balsamo (2G/1A) led the way on offense and Jake Naso went 70% at the dot. It appears Duke is hitting their stride.
5. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-1)
Ross Scott (3G/3A), Brian Cameron (4G/1A), and Dante Kulas (4G) led the way for Rutgers as they defeated Utah 18-14 to win its third consecutive game.
6. Loyola Greyhounds (4-1)
Loyola won its Patriot League opener against Lafayette 15-11 in a game where Davis Lindsey had five points off three goals and two assists while Matthew Minicus had four goals, and Eric Pacheco went 68% at the dot.
7. Maryland Terrapins (3-2)
For the first time since 2019, the Maryland Terrapins lost at home when Notre Dame topped them in triple overtime on Saturday afternoon. While its defense appears to still be very strong and its offense looks to be rounding into form, Maryland’s shooting could be a concern. Maryland shot 21% as a team on Saturday. Just 47% (26) of the Terrapins’ 55 shots came on cage.
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1)
Penn State pulled off a second upset in as many weeks, beating Penn 15-8 in a game where the Nittany Lions scored seven straight to win the game. Kevin Winkoff led the way for Penn State with five goals on the day while Mac Costin had a hat trick. Chase Mullins went 19-for-29 (65%) at the faceoff dot while Jack Fraycon made nine saves in cage.
9. Yale Bulldogs (2-1)
The Bulldogs pulled out an impressive, bounce-back victory over UMass on Friday night as they pounded the Minutemen 18-9. Matt Brandau put up eight points off four goals and four assists to lead the way for the Bulldogs while Chris Lyons had five goals.
10 Jacksonville Dolphins (3-1)
After missing time early due to injury, Max Waldbaum made his season debut for the Dolphins on Saturday night and put up five points off two goals and three assists to help lead Jacksonville past High Point 17-15 in the Crown Lacrosse Classic.
11. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-2)
Ohio State has now lost two in a row against two of the teams you can verifiable say are two of the best in the country at this point. Despite the Buckeyes not being able to get things going, Drew Blanchard (13-for-24, 54%) still looked good. The Buckeyes have Notre Dame next week and Denver in two weeks. Both present opportunities for themselves to possibly jump back into or back near that top pack.
12. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (4-2)
Hopkins was one of my winners of the week. Their loss to Saint Joseph’s was slim and came by way of a thriller, but feels big for this team. Tim Marcille returned in cage, Russell Melendez was back in the starting lineup and Beauden Szuluk started in what was his second game of the season. Oh yeah, and Tyler Dunn was able to go 54% against Zach Cole. This could be a turning point for the Blue Jays.
13. Army West Point (4-1)
The Black Knights took care of business in their Patriot League opener, beating Holy Cross 13-6 in a game where freshman Evan Plunkett had seven points off three goals and four assists. Jacob Morin also had five goals.
14. Penn Quakers (1-2)
Penn fell to Penn State 15-9 in a game where it was outscore 6-0 in the final quarter of play. Penn now has two games in its first three games where it failed to reach double digits. The Quakers always play a tough schedule that challenges and sees them grow as the year goes on. Perhaps that further growth and develop will happen soon.
15. Saint Joseph’s Hawks (3-1)
Saint Joseph’s fell 15-14 in a thriller at Homewood versus Johns Hopkins on Saturday in what was its first loss of the season. The most surprising stat was Zach Cole went under 50% at the dot. The Hawks have another big test coming up in Penn and Duke lies weeks ahead.
16. Princeton Tigers (2-2)
Princeton fell to Georgetown 13-10 on Saturday. It marked the second time in as many weeks where the Tigers got down and were unable to comeback. Turnovers and clearing, to an extent, were still a problem in the first half while the defense seemed to be worse, to an extent, in the second half. Once again, you have to wonder if a decision to play Griffen Rakower for a full game will be coming soon.
17. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-2)
North Carolina lost 9-8 on Saturday to Denver in what was a more defensive-heavy contest. Sean Goldsmith had four goals for the Tar Heels.
18. Villanova Wildcats (3-1)
Villanova defeated Hofstra 15-8 in a game that saw Austin Fraser have seven points off one goal and six assists. Patrick Daly had four goals.
19. Denver Pioneers (3-2)
The Pioneers earned what was a much-needed, big win over North Carolina 9-8 on Saturday. The Pioneers’ defense held strong, and especially so late, while Alec Stathakis (14-for-20, 70%) got it done at the dot.
20. Georgetown Hoyas (1-3)
Georgetown seemed to put it all together for the first time this season on Saturday as the Hoyas beat Princeton 13-10 and led most of the way.
Others Considered: Syracuse Orange, Brown Bears, UMBC Retrivers, Delaware Blue Hens, Harvard Crimson