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Ranking the Last 4 NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Championships

The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Division 1 Championship games have provided some of the most thrilling moments in the sport’s recent history. From nail-biting finishes to dominant performances, these games have showcased the pinnacle of collegiate lacrosse talent and competition. Here, we recap the best championship games over the past four years, highlighting the excitement and drama that each matchup brought to the field.

4) 2024 – (1) Notre Dame 15 – Maryland 5

Potentially one of the most boring NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Championships in recent history of the sport. There might be some recent bias involved as I did not go back to the record books. Moreover, outside of an explosive first quarter, this game was over mere minutes into the second quarter. Maryland struck first, making it seem like the Terrapins could keep it tight, and fans were certainly invested. However, any team that can score five goals in a quarter always has the upper hand at coming away with the victory, and Notre Dame had that they are remarkable at going on multiple goal-runs without hesitation. That is exactly what they did heading into halftime as the Fighting Irish led the Terrapins 10-4, and everyone could tell that the game was over.

Maryland was really fighting an uphill battle before the game even started, as this Notre Dame team will certainly be considered one of the best in all of Division 1 Lacrosse history once a few years have passed. Outside of the blowout, it truly was special to see this Notre Dame team go on a back-to-back run, which is truly remarkable. The final score saw Notre Dame taking out Maryland 15-5 in an utter blowout.

3) 2022 – (1) Maryland 9 – (7) Cornell

This was a crazy NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Championship for Cornell to even be a part of. Cornell’s first-round matchup was against Ohio State, who has not been relevant in the national tournament since their championship appearance in 2018. Delaware was able to pull off the upset against Georgetown Hoyas in their matchup, leading to a Cornell vs. Delaware second-round which was surprisingly enticing, but it was no Georgetown. This brought Cornell to a semifinal matchup against Rutgers, who certainly was talented but also had a relatively easy walk into Championship Weekend.

All that being said, Cornell had to go up against one of the best teams of all time, the 2022 undefeated Maryland Terrapins. The score line makes this look like a compelling game, but I can assure you that it was not. Going to halftime, the Terrapins led 7-2, extending their lead to 9-3 going into the fourth, where Cornell went on a four-goal run to Maryland’s zero to make the game look much closer than it was. This game was a bore from start to finish, but I do appreciate Cornell playing defense throughout the entire duration of the game and holding the Terrapins under 10.

2) 2023 – (3) Notre Dame 13 – (1) Duke 9

This game had so many stars scattered across the field such as Eric Dobson, Brian Tevlin, Chris Kavanagh, Brennan O’Neill, Jake Caputo, and Garrett Leadmon, to name a few. Anytime you get a one vs. three seed, expectations are high. It seemed like Notre Dame had run away with this game heading into halftime with a 6-1 lead over Duke. Within a blink of an eye, Duke was back in the game as Coach Danowski got the boys ready in the locker room heading into the second half.

A Fighting Irish 9-7 lead was a much better situation for the Blue Devils, considering their first half. Duke had mustered up enough momentum to really make it seem like this game was going to come down to the wire. While the fourth quarter was still very much exciting, Notre Dame was just too much to handle, outscoring the Blue Devils 4-2 to tally a final score of 13-9. Certainly one of the better championship games in recent memories, and the fact it was Notre Dame’s first title made it even more special.

1) 2021 – (4) Virginia 17 – (3) Maryland 16

This game is the epitome of everything that you look for in a championship game. Defensive battles are always fun for those who really like the game, but offensive shootouts are just more entertaining from a fan perspective. The Terrapins and Cavaliers traded blows throughout the entire game, with neither team drifting ahead of the other. It was all-star talent all over the field stepping up in big moments. It’s hard to go wrong in a matchup with names like Shellenberger, Wisnauskas, Moore, Bernhardt, DeMaio, Fairman, Cormier, Aitken, and many more. So much professional talent littered all over the field delivered in every aspect.

The 17-16 score line in favor of Virginia came down to the wire, with Maryland having a chance to tie up the game with mere seconds left off the faceoff. This is one of the best championship games of all time and certainly will not be forgotten for decades, especially by Cavalier faithful.