Tanner’s Top 20: Week Five

(Photo Courtesy of Duke Athletics)

March madness is here and it includes college lacrosse. We are coming out of a weekend filled with rivalries that featured multiple upsets and surprise results.

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

Let’s Go!

1. Virginia Cavaliers (6-0)

The Cavaliers beat Johns Hopkins on Tuesday in the battle for the Doyle Smith Cup and then had a closer than expect game against Towson on Saturday, winning 19-12. Connor Shellenberger had 10 points in the win over Towson, scoring four goals and dishing out six assists. Virginia still has yet to lose and looks like one of the clear-cut best teams in college lacrosse.

2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0)

Notre Dame arguably separated themselves from those below them even more this week, beating up on Ohio State Ohio State 16-3 in a contest where Chris Kavanagh (3G/2A) and Eric Dobson (4G/1A) led the way with five points apiece. Pat Kavanagh also had four points off two goals and two assists in the win. The Irish are clearly one of the best team in nation and that will remain true until proven otherwise.

3. Duke Blue Devils (5-1)

The Blue Devils put on a show Friday night, beating the Loyola Greyhounds down in a 17-9 win that saw Andrew McAdorey (3G/6A) lead the way with nine points in the win while Owen Caputo (2G/2A) had four points. Garrett Leadmon (3G) and Brennan O’Neill (3G) each had hat tricks and Duke saw nine different goal-scorers and 10 point-getters in total. With four consecutive wins now, Duke has clearly show separation and that they belong amongst the best.

4. Maryland Terrapins (4-2)

Maryland pulled away from UAlbany late in a 16-9 victory on Saturday in a contest where Braden Erska and Daniel Maltz each had four goals. Brian Ruppel made 12 saves to anchor a strong defensive effort. It marked the Terrapins’s getting back in the win columb after falling to Notre Dame in OT the week prior.B

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1)

Penn State took down the previously unbeaten Cornell Big Red on Saturday afternoon in a 10-6 road win. Jack Fracyon made 16 saves in the victory while poles Jack Posey and Sam Sweeney also played very well matched up against some of Cornell’s best. The Nittany Lions have now beaten three top-10 ranked Ivy League teams in three weeks. This team has shown they are for real.

6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-1)

Dante Kulas put home the game-winner in overtime to lift Rutgers past rival Princeton 14-13 on Saturday afternoon. Kulas (4G/1A), as well as Brian Cameron (3G/2A) and Shane Knobloch (2G/3A), had five points to lead the way in the win during an offensive-heavy game.

7. Cornell Big Red (4-1)

Cornell suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Penn State. CJ Kirst (2G/1A) and Billy Coyle (2G) still found some success, but it was hard to come by. Almost all of the Big Red’s goals came in unsettled situations or via mismatches where no support was present. Chayse Ierlan’s 21 saves anchored what was still a good defensive effort in a defensive-heavy contest.

8. Yale Bulldogs (3-1)

Yale defeated Denver 11-9 on Saturday in a game where the Bulldogs’ were forced to play slower than usual. Eventually breaking through,  Brad Sharp (3G) and Matt Brandau (3G/2A) came up big for the Bulldogs on the offensive end in the win.

9. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (5-3)

Riding behind a career-best, 21-save day from Tim Marcille, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays were able to defeat rival Syracuse in a game where they shot incredibly well. Russell Melendez (3G) and Jacob Angelus (1G/2A) helped lead the Blue Jays’ offense.

10. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-2)

Facing a depleted Brown roster with multiple key seniors out due to a multi-week suspension, North Carolina downed the Bears 19-6. Lance Tillman (3G/2A), Sean Goldsmith (2G/2A), and Logan McGovern (2G/2A) helped lead the way in the win.

11. Villanova Wildcats (5-1)

Is Villanova a team more should be talking about? The Wildcats have won each of their last four games, including a 14-7 win over Drexel and a huge 9-8 victory over Penn this past week during the Philly 4 Classic. The Penn game, in particular, showcased a Villanova team that both had a strong defense and could strike back when needed as they scored two goals in the final minutes to earn the win.

12. Jacksonville Dolphins (5-1)

Jacksonville took care of business in a 17-9 win over St. John’s on Saturday in a game where Max Waldbaum had seven points off four goals and three assists.

13. Princeton Tigers (2-3)

Princeton fell for the third week in a row on Saturday, losing to rival Rutgers 14-13 in overtime. Despite the loss, the Tigers did look better than in recent weeks with Coulter Mackesy (3G/3A) leading a diverse scoring effort, Princeton starting as strong as they have all season, and Michael Gianforcaro making 10 saves in the second half.

14. Army West Point Black Knights (5-1)

The Black Knights earned their fifth consecutive win on Friday as they pulled away from Lafayette in a 17-9 victory.

15. Loyola Greyhounds (17-9)

Loyola had its worst game of the year on Friday night, losing 17-9 to a Duke team that got up early and seemingly never took their foot off the gas. Its previously strong defense was unable to matchup against the Blue Devils.

16. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-3)

Ohio State has lost each of its last three contest and Saturday was arguably its most embarrassing as Notre Dame pounded them 16-3.

17. Penn Quakers (2-3)

Penn grabbed a big overtime win over Saint Joseph’s during the midweek last week. However, that was followed up with a 9-8 loss against Villanova where its offense was stifled for much of the contest and in which they couldn’t hold on at the end.

18. Saint Joseph’s Hawks (3-3)

Saint Joseph’s came out on the wrong end of a midweek thriller versus Penn and then dropped an 18-16 decision to Drexel in upset fashion on Saturday. The Hawks have now lost three straight.

19. Denver Pioneers (3-3)

Denver might have had the better game plan on Saturday, but the late-game surge from Bill Tierney’s squad fell short against Yale in an 11-9 loss. Stephen Avery (3G/1A) paced the Pioneers’ offense while Alec Stathakis went 68% at the dot.

20. Dartmouth Big Green (4-0)

It was tough to pick who to put in those No. 20 spot. Ultimately, I went with the Dartmouth Big Green. Dartmouth is 4-0 for the first time since 2003 and coming off a big 20-16 win over Hobart in a midweek game where Emmett Paradine had 10 points off seven goals and three assists. The Big Green came back from down 7-1 to win the game.

Others Considered: Bellarmine, Delaware, Georgetown, Michigan


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