Penn State Up to No. 10 in Nike/USL Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO COURTESY OF PENN STATE ATHLETICS

Freshman attackman Mac O'Keefe leads Penn State with 19 goals in three games.


Following a weekend of wild finishes, the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20 remained largely unchanged, with some exceptions near the bottom of the rankings and the ouster (for now) of one notable team from Durham. Undefeated Denver, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins all held serve in the Top 5.

 
Feb 20, 2017

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1 Denver 2-0 1 2/25 vs. Cleveland State
2 Maryland 3-0 2 2/25 vs. No. 6 Yale
3 North Carolina 3-0 3 2/25 vs. No. 5 Johns Hopkins
4 Notre Dame 1-0 4 2/26 vs. Michigan
5 Johns Hopkins 3-0 5 2/25 at No. 3 North Carolina
6 Yale 1-0 6 2/25 at No. 2 Maryland
7 Syracuse 2-0 7 2/25 vs. Army
8 Virginia 2-0 8 2/21 vs. Siena
9 Brown 1-0 10 2/25 vs. Stony Brook
10 Penn State 3-0 13 2/25 at Villanova
11 Loyola 0-2 9 2/25 at Lafayette
12 Towson 1-0 12 2/25 at Georgetown
13 Albany 0-1 11 2/25 at Drexel
14 Rutgers 2-0 14 2/25 at Fairfield
15 Marquette 1-0 17 2/25 at No. 16 Richmond
16 Richmond 2-0 19 2/21 at Mount St. Mary's
17 Ohio State 3-0 18 2/25 vs. Jacksonville
18 Navy 1-2 20 2/25 vs. Boston University
19 Penn 1-0 NR 2/25 vs. No. 8 Virginia
20 Marist 2-0 NR 2/21 at Princeton
Also considered: Air Force, Army, Boston University, Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Princeton





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

HOT

Penn State (+3)

Perhaps Hobart and Cornell aren’t elite opponents in 2017, but the reality is the Nittany Lions have dropped 20 goals on consecutive opponents. They hadn’t done that since late in the 1983 season against Montclair State and Bucknell.

Penn State’s offense has taken a major step forward with the addition of freshman attackman Mac O’Keefe, a member of last year’s under-19 national team. O’Keefe has 16 goals in his first three college games, a figure that would have ranked sixth on the Nittany Lions for all of last year.

With O’Keefe teamed with Grant Ament (who had six goals and three assists in Saturday’s 20-10 defeat of Cornell), it looks like Penn State is capable of taking a much-anticipated step forward based on early returns.

Richmond (+3)

The Spiders handled business a week after blasting Fairfield, stitching together a more mundane 10-5 defeat of UMBC that included a couple empty-netters in the final minutes. But they remain a bit of a curiosity with the schedule about to stiffen in the coming weeks.

After a midweek trip to Mount St. Mary’s, Richmond faces Marquette, Duke and North Carolina in a 17-day span. By the end of it, there should be a decent sense of how capable Ryan Lee (seven goals in two games) and the Spiders can be this season.

NOT

Albany (-2)

It was not a week for a lot of losses among top-tier teams, and the Great Danes shouldn’t be dinged much for losing a one-goal game at the Carrier Dome. But they probably have some regrets from the 10-9 setback at Syracuse, going scoreless for more than 30 minutes as the Orange erased a five-goal hole.

Albany wasn’t sunk until Nick Mariano’s goal with 1.6 seconds to go provided Syracuse its winning margin. The takeaways from the weekend for Albany? New starting goalie JD Colarusso (13 saves) was perfectly solid, the Great Danes have plenty of scoring options (again) and faceoffs could an issue again for a team that won 49.5 percent of its draws last season.

Loyola (-2)

Charley Toomey’s Greyhounds head into the start of their Patriot League schedule armed with the knowledge they can play with some brand-name programs. They also go there with an 0-2 record that includes two one-goal setbacks after dropping a 14-13 overtime decision at Johns Hopkins.

Loyola isn’t the first team and won’t be the last to get zapped by a Joel Tinney shot from inside of 10 yards. And it should feel fine about an offense that has done perfectly fine work (with four goals Saturday from Brian Sherlock). The defensive end of the field might be a long-term concern for the Greyhounds after ceding 30 goals in their first two games.

NEW

Penn

The No. 19 Quakers were due a bounceback this season, and Saturday’s 10-5 defeat of Saint Joseph’s was promising. Penn scored the first five goals (with Alex Roesner registering a hat trick on the day) and got 15 saves from sophomore Reed Junkin to handle a crosstown rival.

Now comes the meat of Penn’s patented arduous nonconference schedule. The Quakers face Virginia, Penn State, Navy and improved Michigan over the next four games. Few coaches schedule more shrewdly than Mike Murphy (though Maryland’s John Tillman is also a contender for that honor), and Penn could find itself in the thick of NCAA tournament discussions if they can get a split over the next three weeks.

Marist

It was a close call between the No. 20 Red Foxes and Harvard for the last spot this week, but the nod goes to Marist after its 10-4 blistering of Air Force on the road. J.D. Recor and Gannon Morrison both scored three goals (with Recor collecting a man-down score in the first six minutes), while goalie Brian Corrigan was impressive with 16 stops against the Falcons.

Last year’s Metro Atlantic runner-up had a habit of finding itself in tight games a season ago, going 2-4 in overtime and 5-5 in games decided by two goals or less. That hasn’t carried over to this season, as Marist opened with a 12-8 defeat of Colgate before its successful trip to the Rockies.

OUT

Air Force

The Falcons, previously No. 15, tumble out after back-to-back losses to Denver and Marist. Air Force was 0-for-6 on extra man in its 10-4 stumble against the Red Foxes, and scored more goals in its opening victory at Duke (11) than it has mustered in its last two outings (10).

The schedule becomes more manageable in the next few weeks. None of Air Force’s next six opponents have appeared in any of the last three NCAA tournaments.

Duke

If Air Force is going to tumble out of the Top 20, then it stands to reason Duke (which lost at home to the Falcons on Feb. 5) probably should as well. The previously 16th-ranked Blue Devils actually acquitted themselves well in a 14-9 loss at Denver, forging a tie at 8-all early in the fourth quarter. It was close until the final two minutes, when the Pioneers scored the final three goals.

Duke plays three of its next four at home and has a slightly less crammed schedule in February and early March. Expect the Blue Devils to resurface --- and probably rise back toward the top 10 — in a hurry.

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