After an exciting weekend of action followed by some big early week match—ups, it is time to update the Bleacher Report Top 10 in Men's College Lacrosse.
Many statements were made as we move toward the half—way point of the regular season. As many teams enter conference play, every game will mean more and more as the season rolls along.
Below, check out the new Top 10 rankings, and let us know how you feel about your favorite team's chances of winning the National Championship.
The Mountain Hawks (6-1) are making a statement in 2012. Anchored by a big win against UNC away from home, Lehigh has rolled through a moderately tough schedule. They did drop a lopsided game to a talented Villanova team, but bounced back well to begin a nice win streak. Up next for Lehigh: Army at home.
9. Notre Dame
Notre Dame's top-ranked defense has the Irish sitting at 3-1 so far in 2012. Scoring only six goals a game, it will be tough to continue on this path. Their defense is holding opponents to four goals a game, something to be very proud of. Notre Dame is good, but they are one game away from being exposed and ousted from the Top-10 rankings. With John Kemp saving 74% of the shots he sees, Notre Dame will host a high powered Denver team in their next bout.
Denver has won four straight since an opening day loss to Ohio State. Led by Mark Matthews (15g, 7a) on attack, Denver still has a lot to prove moving forward. The next two games will be very telling for the Pioneers as they travel to Notre Dame and Cornell in a span of four days.
After a loss to UMBC last week, the Terps were able to bounce back with a 13 goal win over Marist. At 4-1, Maryland's offense has seen many contributors, making them a nightmare for opposing defenses. Their talent will have to shine as they enter the toughest part of their schedule. In the coming weeks, the Terrapins face Villanova, UNC, and No. 1 Virginia.
Undefeated Loyola is looking to make a run at a National Title in 2012. At 5-0, a somewhat easy schedule got tougher as the Greyhounds beat down Duke 13-8. This win was the first big win of the season for Loyola, who face Air Force and Georgetown before beginning a tough ECAC schedule. With tests against Denver and Hopkins left on the schedule, Loyola has a chance at an impressive record, perhaps finishing without a loss when it is all said and done. Look for the Greyhounds to rise in the rankings as they breeze through conference play.
At 3-1, the Orange have lost to the only good team they have played. A 14-10 loss to Virginia is the only blemish on their resume, but their season is only beginning. The talented Syracuse roster will be tested in a huge rivalry game against No. 2 Johns Hopkins this weekend. Facing their second big—time opponent, Syracuse could either free—fall in the rankings or end up in the top two after this weekend. Syracuse must find stability at the goalie position if they hope to have consistent results in a much tougher Big East.
The Minutemen, 6-0 thus far, are poised to go undefeated in 2012. The game of lacrosse is one in which any team can win on any given day, but UMass is for real. With wins over Bucknell and Ohio State already, UMass is already through the toughest part of their schedule. Later in the season, they will face Drexel and Hofstra, who can be tricky. If they can stay healthy, look for a high seed as the Minutemen cruise into the NCAA Tournament.
Even without the services of All-—American Rob Pannell, Cornell took No. 1 Virginia to overtime in the Konica Minolta Face-off Classic last weekend. The Big Red showed a deep and talented roster that can easily beat anyone in the country. With Pannell out for at least five or six weeks, Cornell will look to navigate a tough Ivy league schedule before his return. If they can get some quality wins without their all-star, Cornell should be sitting pretty when they get him back late in the season.
2. Johns Hopkins
No. 2 Johns Hopkins is getting better every week. They are 6-0 with big wins over Towson, Princeton and UMBC on their resume thus far. Their stingy defense led by goalie Pierce Bassett and long-pole Tucker Durkin have been torturous to their opponents. Johns Hopkins can make a case for the No. 1 spot as they face Syracuse and Virginia in their next two games.
Virginia escaped with an overtime win against Cornell in Baltimore last Saturday. With the win, Virginia stayed undefeated as they near the beginning of ACC conference play. With Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet leading a prolific offense, Virginia will need to score a lot of goals to stay at number one. With Hopkins, Maryland, UNC, and Duke still on the schedule, Virginia will need their defense to step up big-time.