Another weekend, another major shuffle in the Top 10. Easter weekend saw a flurry of lacrosse action across the country, with outcomes that will affect tournament seeding down the road.
The biggest shocker of the weekend was a Notre Dame loss to St. John's. It was a shocker in the sense of the consequences of the loss, but St. John's has proven to be a very talented team with big wins on its tournament resume. Red Storm attacker Kieran McArdle finds himself in serious contention for the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college lacrosse every season.
As we enter April, lets take a look at my new top 10.
The Blue Devils are playing better lacrosse, but they struggled to put away an inferior Harvard team on Saturday night in prime time. The inconsistency in their level of play makes me wonder how this team will fare in a tough remaining ACC schedule.
9. St. John's
A big win over Notre Dame propels the Red Storm of St. John's into the top 10 this week. They are now 7-2, and could win the rest of their games with a moderate remaining schedule. The biggest remaining test will be against Villanova on April 13. Kieran McArdle is the real deal on attack for St. John's. If the Johnnies make a tourney run, he could take home player-of-the-year honors.
A roster flooded with talent, yet a record that shows very few quality wins thus far. Loyola has lost to Maryland and Duke, by far the best teams they have played yet. The Greyhounds have both Denver and Johns Hopkins remaining, games which provide opportunities to prove themselves against quality competition.
A tough loss to Villanova followed by a blowout win over Canisius. I will be interested to see which Syracuse squad shows up against Princeton on Saturday in a nationally televised matchup. The game should be a high-scoring affair.
The Tigers handled Brown pretty easily at home on Saturday. Jeff Froccaro surpassed the 100-point milestone as his brother Jake recorded his first career hat trick. Goalie Matt O'Conner made enough saves in big moments for the Tigers, but he will have his hands full with Syracuse offense this week.
5. North Carolina
The Heels are playing impressive lacrosse right now. Although their defense has looked vulnerable at times, a huge win over Johns Hopkins this weekend showed that they can fight till the end. With an attack that is impossible to stop, they can go very far in this year's tournament if their defense shapes up in the last few games of the regular season.
Scary speed and skill on the offensive side of the ball bode well for Bill Tierney's squad moving forward. Their ability to score in bunches make them a nightmare for a full 60 minutes. Denver is a dangerous tournament team that should thrive in a win-or-go-home format.
3. Notre Dame
St. John's is better than people think, but that loss hurts the previously No. 1-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They fall a bit due to their mishandling of the spotlight. You can't lose to St. John's at home. You just can't!
A dominating win over Dartmouth this weekend just further proved that Cornell is going to score a lot of goals game-in and game-out. Most Ivy League games have been close this year, but this one was laughable by halftime. Steve Mock and Rob Pannell are running on all cylinders with enough horsepower to easily find a parking spot in the Final Four.
After winning a big game at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville against UVA, Maryland showed that they are the cream of the crop. They play tough defense, can score at will and have a veteran goalie who knows how to win big games. I think playing close games recently benefits them, and they certainly know not to let their guard down as the tournament approaches.
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