Every college lacrosse season features a sneaky underdog team that overachieves what was expected of them that season. These underdogs are typically determined by where that team fell in the preseason rankings.
There is no denying that the purpose of preseason rankings will vary depending on who you ask. Some people take them as the rantings of clueless mad men, some as white board motivation, and others have a very different idea of their meaning.
Looking at Inside Lacrosse CEO Terry Foy’s reasoning for example:
I took a look at the preseason favorites in each division and picked one team that I think could knock them off. The only rule, I wasn’t allowed to pick the 2nd place preseason team.
Division One underdog
USA Lacrosse: (1) Virginia, (2) Maryland
My Underdog: (4) Georgetown Hoyas
Kevin Warne has done it. He completely turned around the Georgetown program and has turned them into a perennially relevant force. Virginia and Maryland may be the top dogs in the preseason rankings but if there is a division one underdog that can do it, it’s the Hoyas. If there is a year that they could go the distance, its this year.
They return graduate students and preseason All-Americans: Owen McElroy (G), Gibson Smith IV (D), while bringing in transfer Will Bowen (D) from UNC.
I’m convinced that Georgetown will be relevant every year but this is the best chance Warne has had of bringing a championship to D.C.
Division Two Underdog
USA Lacrosse: (1) Le Moyne, (2) Lenoir-Rhyne
My Underdog: (8) University of Indianapolis
Midwest bias incoming.
The Greyhounds can play with any team in division two and they’ve proven it in recent years. With three preseason All-Americans, they have the potential to make some noise this year and we’ll get an immediate understanding of how good they are when they play No.2 Lenoir-Rhyne on February 5th. Keep a look out for attackmen Drew Billig to be one of the top scorers in D2 this season.
This team is the definition of a college lacrosse underdog to look out for this season.
Division Three Underdog
My Underdog: (3) Tufts
This is probably the least impressive pick on the sheet but I’m so invested in what Coach D’Annolfo is doing up in Massachusetts that I don’t really care. Having spoken with coach during the past year, I’ll be surprised if I ever see Tufts outside of the top 10. Playing one of the most difficult schedules in division three in one of the best conferences around, I’m confident that the Jumbos will be battle tested and ready for the NCAA tournament.
They return a ton of talent and are sure to fight RIT and Salisbury for the highest scoring offense in the country.
NAIA Ranking: (1) Reinhardt, (2) Indiana Tech
My Underdog: (3) Keiser University
Again picking the No.3 team to win isn’t a groundbreaking pick, but I honestly think that the Seahawks are underrated at No.3. Keiser has been on the edge of glory for many years now, but I think with all of the changes and turmoil in the NAIA this past offseason we could see a new champion crowned.
I’ve been a fan of how Coach Johnston runs the program for a while now and I think he has both the talent and the opportunity to make this the year.