Two weeks ago was for the upsets, last week was for the close games and relative stability. This week was the “OK, let’s screw up everything” week. Lots of top 20 teams lost, many of those were to each other, and many teams with question marks now carry larger ones. Very few teams came out of this weekend making people feel confident about who they are and what they’re capable of.
For my personal ballot, we’re now getting to the point where I can start making some larger adjustments. I really wait for most teams to have five games under their belts. If you have 2 good games and 3 bad games, I’m not going to be optimistic. If you have 4 great games and 1 bad one, that’s also different. This is also a good time to overlook some bad opening game losses and see how teams are progressing.
So, here are my personal top 20 votes, some sort of description, and a note of where that team stands in the national media poll.
My Rank/Team/My Rank Last Week
Games this week
National Media Poll Rank
1 Albany LW: 1
Games: 19-8 W vs. UMass; 11-10 W vs. Maryland
National Poll: 1
The Danes definitely do look mortal after Maryland and Cornell. But, mortal may not really matter. It is entirely reasonable to think Albany could finish the regular season undefeated. With their schedule, they can afford many bad days. For a team that has never made a final four, they have a nice road to their potential first.
2 Maryland LW: 2
Games: 11-10 L vs. Albany
National Poll: 2
There is no real reason to drop Maryland after their loss to Albany, but a few voters did. It was a home game that they led for nearly the entire day. The Terps seemed to have counters for everything Albany could throw at them until the fourth quarter. A scoreless fourth was unlikely, but it happened. But this is still one of the top teams in the land without question.
3 Duke LW: 3
Games: 13-9 W vs. Loyola
National Poll: 3
Duke had a solid win over Loyola While their defense did a serviceable job at keeping pat Spencer limited to just three assists, what’s more impressive is that Duke was able to beat a great team with Justin Guterding having what will likely be one of his least productive days of the season.
4 Notre Dame LW: 5
Games: 11-9 W vs. Denver
National Poll: 4
Notre Dame did a pretty good job keeping Trevor Baptiste in check and used a huge first quarter to lock up the win. While the game did end on a 5-1 Denver run, only two of those goals were any closer than four and a half minutes apart. When you think of the words “Denver” and “run” together, you think quick goals fueled by Baptiste’s faceoff win. But credit to Notre Dame for finding a way to keep Denver in check.
5 Denver LW: 4
Games: 10-6 W vs. UNC; 11-9 L vs. Notre Dame
National Poll: 5
So far, my ballot still matches the national poll which is no surprise. Denver at this point has only lost to Notre Dame and Duke. Not too shabby. While they certainly do have things to work on before they even think about a championship weekend return, they will continue to be the team to beat in the Big East.
6 UVA LW:11
Games: 8-5 W vs. Manhattan; 15-14 W vs. Stony Brook
National Poll: 9
This is my first big break from the rest of the poll. Their last wins are not pretty, but they are wins. They also have the win over Loyola to start the year and their only loss is by a single goal. I don’t love them in this spot, even though that is what their state is for, but I don’t love the other options either.
7 Loyola LW: 12
Games: 13-9 L vs. Duke
National Poll: 8
The Hounds have only suffered losses to Duke and UVA at this point. It’s no surprise that they will be the official team to beat in the Patriot League, but their competition is building. Against Duke, they just couldn’t get anything going in the second or third quarter. That included faceoffs, shots on cage, and they went 0-3 on man-ups in the second half. All are things that can be improved upon going forward.
8 Villanova LW: 13
Games: 12-9 L vs. Brown, 8-6 W vs. Penn
National Poll: 6
Despite their loss to Brown, I still feel comfortable with Villanova up here at the moment. They have the win over Penn to go with previous wins over Penn State, Yale, Hofstra, and Delaware. That may be one of the best resumes in the country at this point to be totally honesty. The only reason I have them behind UVA & Loyola is their loss to unranked Brown vs. their losses to only ranked teams. Maybe not entirely fair, but it’s only 2 spots, so I won’t lose sleep over it.
9 Yale LW: 6
Games: 8-3 W vs. Fairfield
National Poll: 7
Yale’s only loss at this point was their opener to Villanova in overtime. They still lack any sort of quality win, but Cornell is an opportunity on Saturday. This was a somewhat low scoring game for them, so we’ll see if that’s the start of a new trend or a blip on the schedule.
10 UNC LW: 9
Games: 10-6 L vs. Denver; 12-6 L vs. Hofstra
National Poll: 14
The Tar Heels did not have a good week, but it is something we have seen coming. They have been flirting with a loss for a while and while the Denver one is excusable, the Hofstra loss was pretty ugly. I have them at 10 right now because neither of these losses are terrible, and inconsistency or weak schedules is the defining characteristic of the remaining teams here.
11 Hopkins LW: 18
Games: 18-7 W vs. Syracuse
National Poll: 10
Hopkins has been almost the definition of inconsistent. Big loss to Loyola, small loss to UNC. But then they have huge wins over Towson, Princeton, and then on the road in Cuse. It took them a little bit to really separate against the Orange, but once they did there was no turning back. Even though it’s not news, I’m still amazed by Joel Tinney. He’s just central to everything they do and was a major part of this win.
12 Army LW: 10
Games: 9-7 L vs. Lehigh
National Poll: 15
Army had another slip up against a surprising Lehigh team. It’s no surprise that they lose a game where David Symmes goes without a goal. While he did have two assists, Army needs more production out of him to be a consistent winner. Normally, that is not too much to ask.
13 Syracuse LW: 8
Games: 18-7 L vs. Hopkins
National Poll: 13
Cuse took a tumble and while this does match up with the national poll, it may not be far enough. There are some problems in Orange land. They definitely need Tyson Bomberry back ASAP. The top of the crease is wide open without him and Hopkins made a living there.
14 Rutgers LW: 14
Games: 15-14 L vs. Princeton
National Poll: 18
Rutgers is a team with “good” losses, but lack good wins. They may just be floating up here due to preseason expectations, but I do believe this is the right spot for them. They’ll be competitive with everyone in this range and are going to be a tough game.
15 Lehigh LW: UR
Games: 9-7 W vs. Army
National Poll: 16
I pulled Lehigh in to this week’s poll because their only loss is a narrow one to UNC in OT. Their win over Army is a great league win, and Colgate isn’t too bad. A win over Rutgers this week would really help alleviate concerns, but it looks like Lehigh may have turned the corner after a few disappointing seasons.
16 Penn LW: 19
Games: 11-3 W vs. Navy, 8-6 L vs. Villanova
National Poll: UR
Penn’s unranked in the national poll, but I’m not sure why. They’ve beaten a Navy team that looks to be on the way up, and DUKE. Their losses are a close one to ‘Nova, and then Penn State and Maryland. If they had Georgetown’s schedule, I guess they’d be a top 10 team.
17 Vermont LW: 16
Games: 17-14 W vs. Sacred Heart
National Poll: 12
Vermont’s defense is amazing. I’m not going to argue that in the least. They’re doing a great job and have the ultimate test coming up in Albany. But their best wins are Jacksonville and Sacred Heart. I’d like to see them within 5 of Albany. I’m not even talking about a win, but being able to contain the Danes would be a great nod to their ability right now. A blowout would file them into the “pretender” category in my mind. A win would change everything.
18 Ohio State LW: 7
Games: 7-6 L vs. Towson
National Poll: 19
I really dropped Ohio State because this was a big recalibration week for me. Once you remove their preseason expectations, they have only have wins over Jacksonville and Hofstra in terms of teams in or knocking on the door of the top 20. Their losses are to Marquette and Towson, both in OT. That puts them right around here if you have them ranked, but I can also see an argument for taking them out entirely.
19 Hofstra LW: UR
Games: 12-6 W vs. UNC
National Poll: UR
I had Hofstra in my ballot to start the year, took them out after they opened two losses and am not adding them back in. Why? Their loss to Villanova is looking better every week, their loss to Ohio State isn’t great, but the win over UNC is a good one. I really wish their Georgetown game hadn’t been moved because that would have been a big one for rankings purposes.
20 Georgetown LW: 20
Games: 13-6 W vs. Marist; 12-9 W vs. Hobart
National Poll: 11
Georgetown’s best wins are against Towson and Robert Morris. They’re worth having in the top 20, but unless they beat Loyola coming up, or make some serious noise in the Big East, they probably won’t be climbing too high. Their unblemished record is a little deceiving to me at the moment. I’m in the minority.
Dropped from my ballot: Penn State, Marquette
Dropped from national poll: Penn State, Penn
Also considered, but not in order: Brown, Towson, Delaware, Jacksonville, Michigan, Princeton, Cornell, Robert Morris.
Who did I leave out? Robert Morris and Towson. I really gave both of these teams a very hard look. Towson is a team that I’ve had in my poll in the past, but I didn’t feel that the Ohio State win was enough. Outside of that, their only wins are UMBC and Mt. St. Mary’s. For Robert Morris, they have wins over two teams I’m taking out of my ballot and losses to Georgetown and Rutgers. They’re on the radar, but I’m just not pulling the trigger yet.