Best NCAA Lacrosse Pairs of the Decade – Quarterfinals Match-Ups + VOTE!

And then there were eight.

Hundreds of people stepped up and voted for their favorite duo, and, with the first round over, it’s time to recap the matchups, preview the quarterfinals, and begin round two of voting for our Best NCAA Lacrosse Pairs of the Decade bracket. Let’s dive in.

ROUND ONE RESULTS + ANALYSIS

#1 Albany defeats #16 RIT

Look, it was asking a lot for the Tigers to pull the upset here. We won’t be getting another UMBC today. With all the love in the world to Ryan Lee and Mike Messenger, the latter of whom I was reminded scored one of the dopest goals ever for the Rush, this was always going to be Albany. The Great Danes are a powerhouse of star talent, and their duo features two of the top three points-getters of all time. Albany advances.

#2 Princeton defeats #15 Hofstra

Credit to Hofstra, who helped campaign for their guys and got them into this matchup. Their duo is really, really good. Josh Byrne is one of the most popular players alive right now, after what he did this summer in the PLL Championship Series. Still, when we’re talking about Princeton, we’re talking about the (dang near undisputed) best midfielder in the world right now, and one of the best do-it-all players in the world right alongside him. Schreiber and Currier are a hell of a pairing in field or box, and they continue onwards.

#3 Syracuse defeats #14 Yale

We were soooooo close to our first upset here. For much of the week, I legitimately thought that Syracuse was going to lose a lacrosse Twitter poll, which is something that could only happen in a year as crazy as 2020. Alas, the Orange faithful made a strong push late, narrowly defeating Yale by about four percent between Twitter and the LAS poll. Still, props to Yale, who made it this far, and made it really close with one of social media’s most popular programs. Here’s hoping we get to see TD Ierlan this spring, and also that the Waterdogs legitimately unleash Reeves in 2021.

#13 Penn State defeats #4 Maryland

Y’all crazy for this one. We perhaps underestimated the popularity of reigning PLL Rookie of the Year Grant Ament, or we just didn’t realize people really, really love scoring. And so it was that the 2019 PLL MVP and the 2018 Worlds MVP were upset in the first round, with the Nittany Lions sending the Terps packing early. In defense of this upset, Maryland was elite long before Rambo and Ehrhardt brought their talents to College Park, whereas Penn State has seen a massive rise in program strength after the successes of the Ament-O’Keefe duo. Keep on climbing, young guns.

#5 Cornell defeats #12 UNC

No magical upset run for Chris Cloutier this time around, as the Tar Heels were bounced by the Big Red in round one. Perhaps there’s some recency bias here, as Marcus Holman had a quiet summer in the PLL. Then again, the five seed is supposed to beat the twelve, and they did. Rob Pannell and Connor Buczek continue on.

#11 Notre Dame defeats #6 Duke

Our second upset of the first round! The Notre Dame faithful made an incredibly strong push on Twitter, managing to overcome Duke’s victory on the LAS site poll to take the overall victory. Matt Kavanagh has always been a clutch performer, and he does it here again. Unlike how this seems to always play out in real life, it’s the Irish taking the narrow victory over the Blue Devils, whose high-scoring pair of attackmen in Jordan Wolf and Justin Guterding can at least feel a little better knowing that they won one of the two polls, if not the overall popular vote.

#7 Loyola defeats #10 Rutgers

Really thought this one was gonna be closer, if I’m being honest. We all love Jules, and Joe Nardella just wrapped up a campaign that cements him as, at worst, a top three faceoff man on the planet right now, if not the top dog. Still, Loyola smoked Rutgers all around. Perhaps it’s the equally-popular Scott Ratliff carrying the Greyhounds, as he did on both sides of the ball in college and still as a pro. But I think this one might come down to the undying love that the lacrosse community has for Pat Spencer, the #2 leading points-getter of all-time. Please come back to us, Pat. We miss you.

#9 Denver defeats #8 Virginia

Put some respect on Zed Williams’ name. I mean, you can’t, it’s too late, but I’m still surprised that Zedzilla didn’t take this one home, after all he did this summer. Perhaps this comes down to the fact that many people seem to have forgotten Steele Stanwick’s dominance. Maybe this was, as the Pios themselves suggested, the west rising up to support its own. Regardless, Denver survives the first round.

QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS

#1 Albany vs #9 Denver

It’s a high-scoring duo vs a title-delivering duo in our first matchup of the quarterfinals, as we see Albany’s Lyle Thompson and Connors Fields going up against Denver’s Trevor Baptiste and Wes Berg. Albany is going to be a lot to overcome for the Pios, regardless of West Coast support, as the Great Danes, and Thompson in particular, remain one of the internet’s favorites. Any duo that can boast two of the top three points-getters all-time is going to be a lot to overcome.

Denver isn’t out of things yet, though. Baptiste remains an immensely popular player, one of the faces of the PLL. We can’t underestimate the love that Denver fans have for these two, after they helped deliver the first lacrosse title in program history.

#2 Princeton vs #7 Loyola

The best midfielder in the world takes on one of the best LSMs in the world, as the Tigers’ duo of Tom Schreiber and Zach Currier take on Loyola’s Scott Ratliff and Pat Spencer. Really, this one feels like it comes down to the goal scorers. While Currier and Ratliff are both immensely talented, well-liked players in their own right, the star power matchup here comes down to Captain America against the Tewaaraton winner.

Will Spencer’s absence from the lacrosse world hurt him here, or will it prove true that absence makes the heart grow fonder?

#3 Syracuse vs #11 Notre Dame

Two-straight ACC matchups for the Golden Domers. Fresh off upsetting Duke, we now get to see two of the most popular programs on social media going head-to-head. With the Orange having narrowly avoided upset in round one, are they looking at losing out early this time around?

We’ll see if the defensive-minded duo of John Galloway and Joel White can hold off how beloved Matt Kavanagh and Matt Landis are in South Bend. If there’s going to be an upset this round, this feels like the one.

#5 Cornell vs #13 Penn State

Grant Ament and Mac O’Keefe just took down a top-five seed in round one. Do you really think they’re scared of another? The Nittany Lions are one of the hottest programs in the country right now, and it’s possible that nobody is more popular among players/fans under 25 right now that Ament.

Still, Rob Pannell remains one of the most famous and successful players in the world, and Buczek is a foundational piece of the Cornell program. Penn State might be feeling another upset, but the Big Red remain a serious test for the young duo.

NCAA PAIRS OF THE DECADE – SECOND ROUND

Voting is now live on Twitter too. We’ll be compiling and sharing the results. The updated bracket, once voting ends. Good luck to all the programs (and their duos), and have fun picking the round one winners!

  • Question /

    #1 Albany vs #9 Denver

    • albany
      #1 Albany
    • #9 Denver
  • Question /

    #2 Princeton vs #7 Loyola

    • #2 Princeton
    • #7 Loyola
  • Question /

    #3 Syracuse vs #11 Notre Dame

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    #5 Cornell vs #13 Penn State

    • #3 Cornell
    • #13 Penn State

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