College lacrosse rankings: Albany moves up to No. 2, Villanova climbs into the top 10
After a wild weekend in the college lacrosse world, Monday’s Inside Lacrosse rankings reflected the chaos, with movement in 17 of 20 spots in this week’s poll.
First, here’s the full poll:
And now, let’s dive in a little deeper, with five key takeaways…
1. Hello, Albany!
Albany wasn’t a sleeper pick heading into this year (the Danes started the year ranked No. 3 in the country) so much as a “Not Duke” pick, but after its dismantling of Syracuse on Saturday, maybe it’s time to start giving Albany more credit.
The Danes picked the Orange apart, flattening them 15-3 in their first game of the season. Freshman Tehoka Nanticoke brought the medicine in his purple-and-yellow debut, out-scoring Syracuse by himself with five (!) goals while sophomore Jakob Patterson added four more. The offense was everything we expected and more, aided in a big way by TD Ierlan’s stupendous day in the faceoff department (76.2 percent on 21 faceoffs).
On the other end of the field, redshirt senior JD Colarusso made 10 saves and allowed just three goals to a Syracuse team that put up a gaudy 21 goals against Binghamton in its own season opener.
The Danes seem like the real deal, and everyone better watch out. Next up is a home opener vs. Drexel on Feb. 24.
2. Could Villanova be for real?
Another team starting to pick up some steam nationally is Villanova — not just a basketball school! The Wildcats haven’t won 10 games in a season since 2011, but they’ve kicked off this year with two wins, both dramatic come-from-behind overtime wins against a pair of very good teams in Penn State and now Yale.
The first win was a shootout, 17-16, while their second was more of a grinder, 10-9, so we’re still getting a feel for what kind of game Villanova wants to consistently play. Christian Cuccinello has established himself as a reliable goal scorer this year with seven in two games, and Danny Seibel (6) and Colin Crowley (5) are ample reinforcements.
Regardless of style, jumping from No. 15 to No. 7 is always a good sign, and with a string of good-but-winnable games against Hofstra, Drexel, Delaware, and Brown taking the Wildcats through the first week of March, Villanova want to get comfortable in the top 10.
3. Biggest movers, biggest fallers
Our biggest riser of the week was Villanova, by a wide margin. The Wildcats jumped eight spots in the latest poll, four better than any other team. Virginia, Army, and Vermont all made four-spot jumps.
The biggest faller this week was Syracuse, after that tough loss to Albany, as the Orange fell nine spots. Johns Hopkins and Yale each fell six places.
Colgate joined the fray after being not ranked last week, entering at No. 20, just one point behind No. 19 Towson.
4. Conference check-in
You’ll never guess which pair of conferences lead the way in terms of market share … actually, you probably will.
Here’s the full rundown:
• ACC: 5 (Duke, Virginia, UNC, Syracuse, Notre Dame)
• B1G: 5 (Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, Penn State, Johns Hopkins)
• Patriot: 3 (Colgate, Army, Loyola)
• Big East: 2 (Villanova, Denver)
• Ivy: 2 (Yale, Princeton)
• America East: 2 (Albany, Vermont)
• CAA: 1 (Towson)
It’s a pretty balanced picture through the first couple weeks, with the classic legacy conferences atop a field of two- and three-team contributors like the Patriot and the America East.
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And check it out: the next two teams outside the Top 20? A pair of Big East teams in Marquette and Georgetown, which means if this were a Top 22 poll (it is not) the Big East would nearly have equal shares with the ACC and B1G. Not a bad showing, especially since all three of the Big East’s teams are ranked between No. 4 and No. 8. Those are quality slots.
5. What to watch for this week
Duke, which has already played four games, takes on a good Penn team on Saturday, while Vermont also plays its fifth game of the year on Saturday at noon against Quinnipiac, on the same day that Albany plays just its second of the season.
The best game of the weekday slate is Friday’s tilt between No. 12 North Carolina and No. 14 Johns Hopkins, a clash of two blue blood programs. A loss puts the Blue Jays below .500 after three games this year.
Saturday is highlighted by a pair of excellent matchups: No. 9 Army vs. No. 16 Syracuse (do the Orange bounce back after the thrashing, or are their worst fears realized?) and No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 19 Princeton, a battle of teams wearing orange.
As always, no matter what happens, it'll probably be great.