The poll looks very different this week, but wins and losses certainly do not tell the whole story this year.
Everyone is losing, and the competition isn't always top-notch. The game of lacrosse is spreading, as is the talent pool, which has given lacrosse its own version of midseason March Madness. With shocking defeats happening on a regular basis, this week's poll reflects the recent shake-ups following a wild weekend of results across the country.
Here is my top 10:
After winning a thriller in the snow against Princeton a week ago, the Quakers fell 10-5 at the hands of the Cornell Big Red this weekend. Penn plays very well at home with a win over Duke in Philadelphia to begin the season. Penn is now 1-1 in conference play, but has already faced the top two teams (Cornell, Princeton), with plenty of time left to improve its resume.
Hopkins beat up on UVA this weekend and seems to be playing its best lacrosse right now. The midfield is very productive, and complements a very talented attack line well. Inconsistency plagued the Blue Jays early in the year, but their recent surge shows they are a major player in the national championship race.
Bucknell seemingly came out of nowhere to beat Cornell 9-8 in a midweek clash last Tuesday. There is only one senior in their top 10 scorers, boding well for a surging Patriot League team. The Bison have won seven straight games after dropping a nail-biter to Mount St. Mary's in the second game of the season. Bucknell is now 8-1 as they prepare to take on Penn State this week.
Princeton has lost two games by a combined two goals this year. Its losses to Penn and UNC both came away from home and were were played by both teams in each match. Princeton was able to defeat Yale this weekend, keeping pace in the Ivy League as they are 1-1 in the conference so far. They host Brown this Saturday as Mike MacDonald, Tom Schreiber and company look to stay on an offensive tear.
6: North Carolina
UNC, with one of the most talented rosters in the country, took down No. 1 Maryland in College Park last weekend. Led by Jimmy Bitter, the Tar Heels stood tall and took advantage of face-offs to keep momentum and take down the top dog. UNC, like Hopkins, looks to be surging at the right time, and now finds itself in the middle of a tough ACC race.
The defending champs have handled business this year, falling only to Duke and Maryland thus far. A less-than-stellar schedule has worked in their favor recently, but they will face Ohio State, Denver and Johns Hopkins in future weeks. That will certainly test the Greyhounds.
Bill Tierney's Denver squad has lost to Penn State and Notre Dame this season, but has handled everyone else on its schedule. Eric Law leads a potent Denver offense that is fast, skilled and a lot of fun to watch. Loyola is really the only test left on the Pioneers' schedule.
Despite a tough-fought loss to Bucknell last week, the Big Red rebounded with a big win over Penn last Saturday. Cornell sits atop a tough Ivy League, and will lean on Rob Pannell and Steve Mock as they enter the second half of the season. AJ Fiore has been stellar in goal, saving 75 shots so far this year. They face Siena this week.
2: Notre Dame
Despite only one loss to Hofstra, Notre Dame does not have the top spot in my poll this week. Yesterday, the Fighting Irish narrowly squeaked by a struggling Rutgers team. They are certainly one of the best teams in the country, but with Hofstra losing two games this week, that loss looks a lot worse than it did a week ago.
Okay, this was the week Maryland should have fallen from No. 1. It lost to UNC at home and has fallen in almost every other poll. Despite the loss, Maryland played well, and UNC is one of the most powerful teams in the country (despite its record). A loss to UNC hurts less than Notre Dame's loss to Hofstra, so the Terps keep the top spot this week
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