Is this FINAL lacrosse poll serious? Welcome to the end of the season, where we rank the teams with ALL of the information available! You can only guarantee ONE team to be in ONE spot, but it’s an important spot; the one at the top. Denver is everyone’s clear cut #1 for once, so where do the REST of the teams stack up now that it’s all said and done?
My FINAL Lacrosse Poll Votes
1) Denver – Who else could you put in the #1 spot for the final lacrosse poll and live with yourself? NO ONE, that’s who. Denver won the title, showed their program is the stuff of legend, and amassed a 17-2 record while doing so. Until the second poll of the season (preseason is the first), they are also my number 1 team for 2016!
2) Notre Dame – At 12-3, ND has a strong record, and with an OT loss in the semis to Denver, they proved they belonged. If there had been two national champs this year, ND easily could have been the second, but there aren’t, so the Irish end the season at #2… again. 2016 really should be their year, right? If Denver is #1 (and they are), then by the transitive property of scoring, ND is #2. For me, anyway.
3) Maryland – I value late season wins heavily, whether they are lopsided blowouts or triple OT thrillers, and Maryland won plenty of late season games! It’s interesting that all three of my top teams in this year’s final lacrosse poll were control teams. I’ll get into this more later, and why I think it’s happening, but for 2015, control lacrosse is where it’s at!
4) Johns Hopkins – This is where I thought Hop might fall during the beginning of the year, and it took the entire season for them to find their way this high in my final lacrosse poll. As I said above, winning when it matters most impresses me, and Hop did just that. That was a huge win over Syracuse, and another Final Four for a control team in 2015. Crazy?
5) Syracuse – The Orange looked like one of the non-control teams that could make a big splash, but they fell in an epic game to Hop in the NCAAs. Cuse let it fly more than most, and put up goals like crazy, but couldn’t win when it counted most, and falls to #5.
6) North Carolina – A lot like Cuse, I loved UNC’s high flying offense for much of the season. Unlike Cuse, UNC lost 14-7 to Maryland (Cuse put up big goals in a loss to Hop) and this was surprising. To see an offense like that stall out in the NCAAs is always amazing. 2015 really was a control team’s year!
7) Albany – Albany played a tad erratic against Notre Dame (credit should rightly go to ND for this), and small plays made big differences for the Danes in the loss. Albany was not a control team, but they did dictate a high-paced tempo effectively, and were impressive for much of the year.
8) Duke – Duke did not put together the run I thought they might, but their season definitely followed Duke suit. They started out ok, lost a couple games, and then went on a tear at the end of the year. This one didn’t result in a title, but by the end of the season, Duke was a far improved team, and clearly worthy of a top 10 spot. Would I still rank them as my preseason #1? Did they win in 2014? Yes? Then yes, I would still rank them at #1. It’s a deserved honor for any champion! Denver gets it next year, no question.
9) Yale – Yale was SO close! SO CLOSE! They played control lacrosse, and almost made that Cinderella run people love to see. Yale could have fallen a lot higher in this final lacrosse poll with another win or two, but they had a heck of a season.
10) Cornell – Cornell was a little up and down for me, but at this point in the poll, that’s nothing new. Most teams in this final lacrosse poll from 10 on down had some bad losses, or a disappointing finish to the year. Cornell’s biggest problem on offense was that they were predictable, and in the end, it caught up with them.
11) Brown – The Brown Bears’ style of play bordered on reckless, and at times, it looked like the best lacrosse on the planet. At other times, it didn’t look so hot. But I was THRILLED to see Brown go this route, and I hope they refine it, but keep it up for next year. This was exciting lacrosse, and if they ball bounced the right way, control teams were in trouble. Brown could have staying power.
12) Ohio State – A couple bad games and OSU was out in many people’s minds. To be fair, they started strong, and ended strong, and I like their overall resume and NCAA success. If OSU can stay strong, it could do big things for the sport.
13) Virginia – You had to think Virginia was either going to A) amaze everyone and win a title, or B) run out of steam and lose big. Unfortunately for the Wahoos, it was option B this year, but this was definitely an impressive season for the Cavs. Players dropped left and right, but UVa kept at it. This speaks to the strength of the program, and the man leading it. They stay high in my final lacrosse poll.
14) Princeton – I am still curious as to what Princeton would have done in the NCAAs. When they were playing team ball, this group was phenomenal. When they didn’t… well, other stuff happened. Watching Princeton was kind of like watching Denver JR. Coach Bates and Sheridan might hate me for that, but it’s really the highest compliment one can pay right now.
15) Colgate – The Raiders didn’t look all that impressive early on, but they pulled a Duke and got better as the season progressed. They could be ranked higher than they are, but two losses to end the season and some rough games in the middle has me thinking they are spot on at #15.
16) Towson – When Towson held their opponents to 8 goals or less, they only lost two games. In low-scoring games, the Tigers were truly dangerous, and they had a lot of low-scoring games! A tight loss to Notre Dame proved Towson needed a little more offensive punch, but this program was for real all year.
17) Georgetown – Will I rank the Hoyas higher in next season’s preseason poll? You betcha! Gtown is looking up, looking to compete, and a program on the rise. Definite Top 20 material.
18) Stony Brook – Stony Brook is quickly becoming the new Hofstra of Long Island. Strong program, but not challenging for a title. Can the Sea Wolves take it to the next level and bring truly top level D1 lacrosse back to the Island? Hofstra will likely have something to say about that.
19) Navy – Looking back on this season in total, I think it’s only fair to rank Navy. A 9-5 record, wins over Towson, Army, and Colgate, and a solid campaign overall. No glory for Navy this year, but they were a solid team.
20) Marist – The Red Foxes showed fight, won a ton of games, and played hard-nosed, blue collar lacrosse. They might not be in my top 20 for the preseason next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in my final lacrosse poll again either!
Thanks to Inside Lacrosse for including me as a voter in this year’s Media Poll. HUGE move by IL to open up the voting to other outlets’ writers, so thanks to all of those guys for making it happen, and for bringing the Media Poll to the next level! From the preseason poll to this final lacrosse poll, it’s been a fun season of conjecture and rankings. Looking forward to next season already. Now I’m going to sleep for 3 days and dream about where I could have move teams in my final lacrosse poll, above.