There’s nothing better than NCAA Lacrosse in May. Gone are the cold days of the early season, classes are finishing up, and you end up with the best of the best focused on nothing but lacrosse. Here we break down the NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Tournament matchups but in a more unconventional way. Here we will look at the history of each program and talk about what they’ve done to get them here.
NCAA Lacrosse First-Round Matchups, Saturday
Richmond at No. 2 Virginia – 12:00pm
The Virginia Cavaliers, the No.2 Seed have been in and around the top three all season long and are an odds favorite to many to take home another national title in 2023. Their first-round opponent is someone that they have some familiarity with, but cannot take lightly in the Richmond Spiders.
- The Virginia Cavaliers have won seven NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Championships, the second-most in NCAA history. They won their first championship in 1972 and have since won titles in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2019, and 2021.
- Virginia has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 40 times, the most of any program in NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse history. They have reached the championship game 10 times and have made it to the semifinals 23 times.
- Virginia has won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championships, more than any other program in the conference. They have won the conference Tournament 10 times and have won the regular-season title nine times.
- Virginia has had several highly successful coaches throughout its history, including Dom Starsia, who led the program from 1993 to 2016 and won four national championships during his tenure. Lars Tiffany has been the head coach since 2017 and led the team to the 2019 National Championship in his third season. He added a second in 2021.
The Richmond Spiders have greatly risen since their inception in the last decade. Dan Chemotti has done a phenomenal job building the program from scratch and it has led to quite a bit of success for this mid-major program.
- In 2014, the Richmond Men’s Lacrosse Team earned their first NCAA Tournament bid after winning the Atlantic Sun Conference. They advanced to the second-round of the tournament by defeating No.7 seed North Carolina, which was considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.
- The Spiders followed up their 2014 success by winning the Southern Conference in 2015, earning another NCAA Tournament bid. They have since qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, and this year.
- In 2017, the Richmond Men’s Lacrosse Team set a program record by finishing with a 9-0 record in Southern Conference play. They have been ranked in the Top 20 of the national polls during multiple seasons.
Utah at No. 3 Notre Dame – 2:30pm
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been one of the most consistently successful programs in NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse in the last twenty-plus years. This year more so than some of the others has many around the program feeling that they can break through and win it all. They have revenge on their mind after what many felt was a big-time snub last year when they were left out of the NCAA Tournament. They open inside the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium against the upstart Utah Utes.
- The Fighting Irish have reached the NCAA Tournament 26 times, including 15 consecutive appearances from 2006-2021. They have advanced to the championship game twice, most recently in 2014, and have reached the semifinals five times.
- Notre Dame has won 24 conference championships across the now-defunct Great Western Lacrosse League, Big East, and now the ACC.
- The Fighting Irish have produced numerous All-Americans, including some of the top players in the country. Some of the notable players who have played for Notre Dame include Matt Kavanagh, Sergio Perkovic, John Kemp, and Mikey Wynne.
- Head Coach Kevin Corrigan has been at the helm of the program since 1988 and has led Notre Dame to sustained success. Under his leadership, the Fighting Irish have become one of the most respected programs in college lacrosse.
Utah is a relatively new addition to NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse, having started their first varsity season in 2019. A huge addition because of their Power 5 status, and they have quickly risen through the ranks with this year being their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament under second-year coach, Andrew McMinn. While relatively new to Division 1 Lacrosse, they have had their share of youthful success.
- In their inaugural season in 2019, Utah finished with a 5-10 record, which included a victory over Air Force, who has been a staple in western lacrosse.
- The Utes improved upon their debut season in 2022, finishing with a 10-4 record and earning a spot in the Top 20 for the first time in program history.
- Utah has produced several standout players, including Josh Stout, who was the program’s first-ever All-American in 2020.
- Winning the ASUN Regular Season and Tournament Championship in 2023 gave the emerging Utes their first NCAA Tournament Birth.
Yale at No. 7 Georgetown – 5:00pm
The Yale Bulldogs have been one of the most successful programs in NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse in recent years. While they have always been a solid team, it’s been in the last decade where you have seen them jump in and stay in the national discussion. One of the most intriguing matchups of the first-round is between them and the Georgetown Hoyas. This game has all the makings of an instant classic.
- In 2018, the Bulldogs won their first-ever NCAA championship, defeating Duke 13-11 in the Finals. They finished the season with an 18-3 record and several All-Americans on their roster.
- Yale has reached the NCAA Tournament 12 times, including seven consecutive appearances from 2016-2023. They have advanced to the championship game twice times, winning in 2018 and losing to Virginia in 2019.
- The Bulldogs have won nine Ivy League Championships, including six in the past decade. They have been a dominant force in the Ivy League which has consistently proven to be one of the top conferences in all of college lacrosse.
The Georgetown Hoyas have had a successful history in NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse. First under legendary Coach Dave Urick, and now presently under Kevin Warne. The Hoyas for a period were consistently in the national discussion before having a rough stretch between 2012-2018.
- The Hoyas appeared in their first NCAA Tournament in 1997, losing 14–10 to Maryland. Georgetown scored its first tournament victory in 1998, defeating UMBC, 9–8.
- The only time they ever advanced past the quarterfinals of the tournament came in 1999 as they defeated Notre Dame and Duke before losing to Syracuse in the semifinals.
- From 1997–2007, they made the tournament every season and from 2002–2007, they made the quarterfinals every season.
They failed to return to the tournament until the Hoyas won the Big East Tournament in 2018 which set them on their current path of winning five-straight conference championships from 2018-2023.
Army at No. 4 Maryland – 7:30pm
The nightcap on Saturday brings together two of the most tradition-rich programs in the game and has the potential to be a barnburner. Army has been a model of consistency throughout the history of their program, and currently, under Joe Alberici you’ve seen them reach a level that is putting them on the cusp of a run to Championship Weekend.
- The Black Knights have made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, including nine straight from 2002-2010. They have advanced to the quarterfinals eight times and the semifinals twice.
- Army has won 14 regular season conference titles in their history to go along with their three tournament championships which includes this season.
- Army has had several successful head coaches over the years, including legendary Coach Jack Emmer, who led the program from 1972-2005 and amassed over 300 career wins.
Maryland’s motto BE THE BEST was ushered in under legendary Coach Bud Beardmore and they certainly have staked a claim to that moniker.
- The Terrapins have won four NCAA Championships, in 1973, 1975, 2017, and 2022. They have appeared in the championship game 16 times.
- Maryland has made 46 NCAA Tournament appearances, which is second to only Johns Hopkins in appearances. They have advanced to the quarterfinals 33 times, the semifinals 28 times, and the championship game 16 times.
- The Terrapins have won 37 conference championships across the ACC and Big Ten.
- Maryland has produced many All-Americans and legendary players, including Matt Rambo, Joe Walters, Frank Urso, and Bob Boneillo.
- Head Coach John Tillman has led Maryland to tremendous success since taking over the program in 2010. Under his leadership, the team has won multiple national championships, advanced to the championship game two other times, and won four conference championships.
NCAA Lacrosse First-Round Matchups, Sunday
Bryant at No. 6 Johns Hopkins – 12:00pm
The WE WANT MORE crew is back and looking to make a run this season as Johns Hopkins has had a resurgent 2023 campaign. Their first-round matchup is against the hardnosed Bryant Bulldogs, who had one of the more entertaining tournament selection celebrations in recent memory. Often hailed as the most storied lacrosse program in history, the Blue Jays hit a down cycle in recent years and have seemed to pull themselves out of it this year under Coach Peter Milliman. With alumni John Crawley running the offense and former Blue Jay Jamison Koesterer running the defense, the Blue Jays look more like their former selves.
- The Blue Jays have won nine NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Championships, with their most recent title coming in 2007. They have appeared in the championship game a total of 18 times.
- Johns Hopkins has made 48 NCAA Tournament appearances, which is the most of any program in Division 1 Lacrosse history. They have advanced to the quarterfinals 41 times and the semifinals 29 times.
- Johns Hopkins has produced many All-Americans and legends of the game, including Kyle Harrison, Paul Rabil, and Dave Pietramala.
Former Division 2 school Bryant is back in the NCAA Tournament and looking to play spoiler under first-year Head Coach Brad Ross.
- Bryant has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, all of which have come since 2012. They have advanced to the quarterfinals twice, in 2013 and 2014.
- The Bulldogs have won seven conference championships, including five in the Northeast Conference (NEC) and one in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) to go along with their first America East Crown.
- Bryant has produced multiple All-Americans, including Kevin Massa, Tom Kennedy, and Trevor Weingarten.
Michigan at No. 8 Cornell – 2:30pm
The Big Red Machine is back in the NCAA and looking to get back to Championship Weekend under second-year man Connor Buczek. Cornell stumbled in the Ivy League Tournament, but was rewarded with a home game against the red-hot Michigan Wolverine who could possibly be the upset special of the weekend. The Big Red have a long history of success and the mythical status of Schoelkopff Field could give them the magic needed to get to the quarterfinals.
- Cornell has won three NCAA Championships, with their most recent title coming in 1977. They have appeared in the championship game a total of ten times.
- The Big Red have made 30 NCAA Tournament appearances, and have advanced to the quarterfinals 22 times and the semifinals 14 times.
- Cornell has won 31 conference championships, including 19 won outright and 12 shared.
- The Big Red has produced many All-Americans and Tewaaraton Award winners, including Rob Pannell, Max Seibald, and Eamon McEneaney.
The Wolverines have been hanging tough all season and parlayed their regular season success into a magical run to win their first Big Ten Conference Championship. Kevin Conry and his staff finally got the team to break through by beating Penn State and Maryland on their way to the AQ.
- The Wolverines have produced several All-Americans, including Kyle Jackson, Ian King, and Brent Noseworthy.
- Michigan has competed in the Big Ten Conference since 2015 and has had some success in conference play, culminating with this season’s championship.
Delaware at No. 1 Duke – 5:00pm
Delaware’s reward for winning their first-round matchup against Marist? A date with the Dukies on Sunday. Coach DeLuca has the Blue Hens humming and they are looking to take down the No.1 seed. Delaware is no stranger to Championship Weekend runs and they are looking to tap into the magic they had in 2007 under legendary Coach Bob Shillinglaw.
- Delaware has made 8 NCAA Tournament appearances, with their most recent appearance coming in 2022.
- The Blue Hens have advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament four times, and have made it to the semifinals once in 2007.
- Delaware has won 27 conference championships dating back to 1961 including both regular season and tournament titles.
- The Blue Hens have produced many All-Americans, including John Grant Jr., Alex Smith, and Connor Fitzgerald.
- Head Coach Ben DeLuca, who has been with the program since 2017, has continued the team’s tradition of success, guiding them to back-to-back conference championships in 2022 and 2023.
John Danowski has brought the Blue Devils to new heights which include frequent trips to Championship Weekend and three national titles. This year has the Duke faithful thinking they can add a fourth banner to Koskinen Stadium behind the elite play of Brennan O’Neill.
- Duke has won three NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse National Championships, in 2010, 2013, and 2014.
- The Blue Devils have made the NCAA Tournament 25 Times.
- The Blue Devils have made 22 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1995, reaching the Final Four 13 times and the championship game six times.
- Duke has won 17 conference championships in the ACC including this year’s ACC Regular Season Championship.
Princeton at No. 5 Penn State – 7:30pm
Sunday’s nightcap gives us the surging Princeton Tigers fresh off their Ivy League Tournament Championship against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Both teams seem to be going in opposite directions as the Tigers seem to be trending up, while the Nittany Lions are coming off of a tough loss in the Big Ten Semis as the No.1 seed. The Tigers under Matt Madalon have seemed to find the sustainable success last seen under Bill Tierney and they are looking to ride their recent success all the way to Memorial Day.
- Princeton has won six NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse National Championships, in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2001.
- The Tigers have made 22 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1990, reaching the Final Four 11 times and the championship game 8 times.
- Princeton has won 27 Ivy League Championships, including ten in a row from 1995-2004.
- The Tigers have produced many All-Americans, including Jesse Hubbard, Jon Hess, Ryan Boyle, and Michael Sowers.
Penn State is back on the map after a down period after the graduation of their remarkable class that brought them to Championship Weekend in 2019. Jeff Tambroni has brought Penn State to another level since coming over from Cornell. Prior to Tambroni coming in, the Nittany Lions only had one conference championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances. The WE ARE crew is feeling rejuvenated and looking to get back to the Final Four after they had a great run in the regular season that saw them crowned as Big Ten Regular Season Champions.
- In 2019, Penn State had a historic season, winning the Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament titles and reaching the NCAA Championship game for the first time in program history. They finished the season with a 16-2 record.
- Penn State has produced many All-Americans, including Grant Ament, Mac O’Keefe, and Chris Hogan. This also includes one of the greatest faceoff men to ever play the position in Greg Gurenlian.
- The Nittany Lions have won four conference championships with two of those coming in the Big Ten in 2019 and 2023.