'Elevated Eleven' Solidified in Nike / US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES / SYRACUSE ATHLETICS

Connor McCarthy scored three times in UNC's big win over Syracuse.


Syracuse wound up on the wrong end of another pounding at the Carrier Dome on Saturday, a 21-9 masterpiece by North Carolina that left the Orange just barely above .500 with trips to Virginia and Notre Dame still to come.

It was Syracuse’s third loss at home by a margin of at least seven goals, a startling frequency of misfires in the Carrier Dome. And yet the Orange dipped just one spot in this week’s rankings.

So, what gives? Call it the Elevated Eleven effect.

The top 11 is populated by the same teams that have been there since March 8. There are variations of the order each week, but it’s the same group — the five ACC schools, plus the top two from the Big East (Denver and Georgetown), Big Ten (Maryland and Rutgers) and Patriot League (Army and Lehigh).

There’s a good reason for that. With Lehigh beating Lafayette and Maryland finishing a season sweep of Ohio State on Sunday, those 11 teams are a combined 70-0 against everyone else.

Maryland and Lehigh? Undefeated.

The ACC? Now 31-1 in non-conference play — Syracuse’s loss to Army the lone exception.

Rutgers? Got swept by Maryland but has handled the rest of the Big Ten.

Denver and Georgetown? They just split their season series, and their only non-conference defeats came from Denver’s early February trip to Duke and North Carolina.

Army? Its only setbacks were at Virginia and Lehigh.

So, yes, Syracuse hasn’t impressed much of late. It also owns a victory over Virginia and clobbered current No. 12 Stony Brook 17-9 last month. It doesn’t belong in the top 10 at the moment, but it’s earned its place in the Elevated Eleven.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division I Men’s Top 20

 
April 19, 2021

W/L

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1 Maryland 9-0 1 4/24 at Johns Hopkins
2 Notre Dame 6-1 3 4/22 at No. 3 Duke
3 Duke 11-1 4 4/22 vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
4 Virginia 10-3 2 4/24 vs. No. 11 Syracuse
5 North Carolina 9-2 5 4/25 vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
6 Rutgers 7-2 6 4/25 at Michigan
7 Lehigh 8-0 8 4/24 vs. Bucknell
8 Army 6-2 9 4/24 vs. No. 16 Navy
Denver 9-3 7 4/24 vs. St. John's
10 Georgetown 9-1 11 4/24 vs. Providence
11 Syracuse 5-4 10 4/24 at No. 4 Virginia
12 Stony Brook 8-3 13 4/24 vs. No. 18 UMBC
13 Delaware 8-2 14 4/24 at Towson
14 Drexel 6-2 17 4/24 vs. No. 17 Hofstra
15 Richmond 5-4 19 5/1 vs. Air Force
16 Navy 4-2 NR 4/24 vs. No. 8 Army
17 Hofstra 6-4 12 4/24 at No. 14 Drexel
18 UMBC 6-2 20 4/24 at No. 12 Stony Brook
19 Vermont 5-3 NR 4/24 at Binghamton
20 Ohio State 4-5 16 4/24 vs. Penn State
Also considered (alphabetical order): Albany (6-3), Massachusetts (3-4), Loyola (5-5), Robert Morris (6-5), Saint Joseph’s (6-3), Towson (6-6), Villanova (5-3)






Nike/US Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Richmond (+4)

Say this for the Spiders: They are the clear-cut favorites in next month’s Southern Conference tournament.

While Richmond didn’t pick off an ACC team in non-conference play (though its victory over Towson looks better by the week), it has had its way during its league schedule. The Spiders doubled up Jacksonville 14-7 to claim the outright lead in the SoCon and have won their four conference games by an average of 10.75 goals. Dan Chemotti’s bunch has an open date before concluding the regular season against Air Force.

Drexel (+3)

Sure, the Dragons got off to a bit of a slow start at Fairfield, trailing by a goal after the first quarter. But they scored nine in a row and 15 out of 16 en route to a 19-7 rout of the Stags. Reid Bowering scored six goals for Drexel, which has rattled off five consecutive victories.

The Dragons are now in sole possession of second place in the wacky CAA, and a victory in either of their final two games — against Hofstra or at Towson — assures them a place in the conference tournament.

NOT

Hofstra (-5)

A double-whammy for the Pride, which dropped a 10-8 midweek decision at resurgent Towson and followed up with a 14-13 overtime loss to Delaware at home.

In some ways, the latter loss might hurt more. Hofstra was up 10-6 going into the fourth quarter, only for the Blue Hens to rip off seven goals in a little more than five minutes. Hofstra had a spurt of its own — three goals in the last 49 seconds of regulation — to nudge things into overtime before Delaware’s Tye Kurtz deposited the winner 100 seconds into the extra period.

Ohio State (-3)

The Buckeyes ran into the Maryland buzzsaw (again) and fell below .500 (again) on Sunday. Their record isn’t long on accomplishments (sweeps of Johns Hopkins and Michigan), and in fact, the most impressive item on their resume might be a one-goal loss at Rutgers earlier this month.

Ultimately, that’s not going to get Ohio State into the NCAA tournament. At this point, it’s hard to imagine anything less than the Big Ten’s automatic berth will. The Buckeyes welcome Penn State to the Horseshoe for their regular-season finale; the winner will take the No. 3 seed in next month’s Big Ten tournament.

IN

Navy (No. 16)

The Midshipmen jump back into the top 20 after fending off Loyola 14-12 to avenge an April 3 loss to the Greyhounds. Christian Daniel had a game-sealing open-net goal to go with five assists as Navy used four extra-man scores and three pole goals to earn its first road victory against the Greyhounds since they entered the Patriot League.

That snapped a two-game slide for the Mids and sets up a rivalry showdown with Army on Saturday in Annapolis.

Vermont (No. 19)

The Catamounts were denied a chance to sweep their seasons series on Friday because of virus issues, but they were just on the outside of the top 20 last week and move in as a result of happenings elsewhere. Vermont now sits a half-game behind Stony Brook in the America East standings, and its May 1 game against the Seawolves still looks like it could decide the top seed in the league.

OUT

Loyola (was No. 15)

Spotting an opponent the first six goals is never the best recipe for success. Yet Loyola still had a chance to knock off Navy before the Midshipmen scored straight off a faceoff and then into an open net coming out of a timeout to earn a season split.

Loyola (5-5) has dropped three of four since its 24-10 pounding of Bucknell on March 20 and is now clearly down to needing a Patriot League tournament title to make its way into the NCAA tournament field. It visits Lafayette on Saturday in its final conference game before welcoming Georgetown to Baltimore on May 1.

UMass (was No. 18)

The Minutemen dropped their third in a row on Saturday, a 9-6 decision against Towson, to fall to 3-4. The Tigers jumped to a 9-4 halftime lead, then played more than enough defense to escape Amherst with a victory and pull even with the Minutemen (and Hofstra) in the Colonial standings.

UMass hasn’t been bad; its four losses have come by a combined six goals. But it still has some work to do to play its way into the CAA tournament as it closes with trips to Fairfield and Delaware.

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