Grow the Game®

With the 2021 NCAA DI men's lacrosse season beginning to start, the weekly rankings are back, listing out the nation's top-20 teams.
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There’s a New Number One: NCAA DI Men’s Weekly Rankings Week 2 Ballot

The weekly rankings are back! The No. 1 spot has changed hands for the first time this season and Army made a massive jump, but the biggest shuffle this week was removing all the Ivies. As I noted last week, I was one of the few voters who still has some non-Yale Ivies ranked somewhere. There weren’t many of us, but it was still an option. But it was announced they would not be holding an Ivy season or Championship, so out they go.

This is also a weird time of the year where the poll is a little more volatile. For me, you need at least three games before we really know what team you are. Some teams have three or more, others have none.

If you’d like to see my previous polls or the national poll, you can find them here:

Week 0 | Week 1


My Rank & Team Name

My ranking last week

That team’s position in the national poll (#1 votes)

Results from this past week

2021 NCAA DI Men’s Weekly Rankings – Week 2 Top 20

Now, without much further ado, let’s dive into my ballot:

1 Virginia (3-0)

Last Week: 6

National Poll: 2 (8)

Results: Defeated Loyola, 15-12

I made a big jump with the Cavaliers in my weekly rankings for a few reasons. One is they are truly a complete team right now. Their opening win with Towson isn’t too different than how Duke handled the Tigers, but their game against Army is looking significantly better after how Army handled Syracuse. And while Loyola stayed with Virginia for most of the game this weekend, we still were able to see how UVA was never rushed and kept playing its lacrosse. Its starting six on offense is as good as any in the country, but its defense is looking like the best in the ACC so far, which is what gives this team the final nod for me.

2 North Carolina (4-0)

Last Week: 2

National Poll: 3 (4)

Results: Defeated High Point, 17-15 | Defeated Richmond, 14-9

Things seemed a little shaky for a bit when UNC was playing High Point, but the way it responded was what you expect from a top team like this. It was the first game where the Tar Heels were really being pressured, and their offense found ways to score when it was needed. Then, it happened again when they went up to Richmond, as the Spiders kept it close for most of the game. But the Heels took over in the second half, and the best chances Richmond had were usually tied to a North Carolina penalty.

3 Duke (4-0)

Last Week: 3

National Poll: 1 (10)

Results: Defeated Towson, 19-7

This was the best defensive effort from the Blue Devils that we’ve seen all year. Following a season full of goalie rotation, Mike Adler got the start once again and responded by allowing just a pair of goals through the first three periods before Coach Danowski put Tuner Uppgren between the pipes. Brennan O’Neil also got to start at attack for this game, chipping in fourth goals to lead the team. The Blue Devils are definitely getting closer to being the team we thought they would be in the preseason.

4 Maryland (1-0)

Last Week: 5

National Poll: 4

Results: Defeated Michigan, 20-9

The debut for the Terps went as well as they could have asked. Ten goals from their starting attack, including four points via Jared Bernardt, after he spent the fall playing football, and five goals from sophomore Daniel Maltz. One concern for the Terps is goalie Logan McNaney allowed nine goals and made just six saves. This is only worth bringing up after a game like this, because their next game is against Penn State and Mac O’Keefe, who is not known for being very kind to opposing goalkeepers.

5 Army (1-1)

Last Week: 16

National Poll: 7

Results: Defeated Syracuse, 18-11

I moved Army way up in my weekly rankings this week, which I rarely do. But I felt it was warranted here. To start the season, I had the Black Knights at No. 16, where they also hovered after losing their opener to UVA. But the Army-Syracuse game is always a great litmus test for what this team can do. It’s usually one of the best, if not the best games they play all year. And if this is the best Army can play? Well, the Patriot League should be worried. Its defense was forcing the Orange into ugly turnovers all game.

6 Syracuse (0-1)

Last Week: 1

National Poll: 9

Results: Lost to Army, 18-11

In the first quarter, I was feeling pretty good about myself as one of the few voters with Cuse at No. 1 to start the year, but that quickly blew up in my face. When Syracuse controlled possession and it was its offense on the field, the Orange looked unstoppable. But as Army started earning more and more possessions of its own, the Black Knights exposed some serious weaknesses in the Syracuse defense. The biggest task for the Orange before their game with Virginia is figuring how to tweak things so they can defend GLE better and support their short sticks who are not named Peter Dearth.

7 Ohio State (1-0)

Last Week: 10

National Poll: 6

Results: Defeated Johns Hopkins, 14-8

I have the Buckeyes a spot lower compared to the national poll, but I’m okay with that. Ohio State started out incredibly well against Hopkins despite its lack of practice ability (it was noted several times in the broadcast that Ohio State had NO full field practice). Even so, this game should not have been as close as it ended. I’m fine with the 14 points; Ohio State took care of things very well offensively and created some great opportunities for itself. But the Buckeyes were giving Hopkins more chances than it really earned to answer back. But, it’s still early, and that’s okay!

8 Loyola (1-1)

Last Week: 12

National Poll: 12

Results: Lost to Virginia, 15-12

I have Loyola higher than the national poll, but in my case, that’s because of the gravity associated with moving UVA up to No. 1. I can definitely understand arguments for the teams I have behind, but after a few more games we’ll see how things play out. This is subject to change with each weekly rankings!

9 Denver (3-2)

Last Week: 7

National Poll: 11

Results: Defeated Marquette, 10-9

The Pios had a close, close game with Marquette in what was its opener. The big guns for Denver were held relatively in check for this one, but a troublesome pattern is emerging for Denver. Close loss to Duke, huge loss to Carolina, huge win over Air Force, and one-point wins over Utah and Marquette. So, who is this team? Is it more of an Air Force/Utah team? Or is it a lose-by-only-two to Duke team? That is a huge range for a side that has five games under its belt.

10 Rutgers (1-0)

Last Week: 18

National Poll: 10

Results: Defeated Penn State, 11-9

I agree with the national poll again! Rutgers has now taken the reigns of being the top NCAA men’s lax school in New Jersey. Next in its sites? The Big Ten. Topping Penn State was a monumental statement win for this team, but it has two big hurdles to clear with Ohio State and Maryland before it can start making that claim. Fortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Ohio State is their game this weekend, so they get a chance right away.

11 Notre Dame (0-0)

Last Week: 15

National Poll: 8

Results: Did Not Play

I do have Notre Dame a little lower in my weekly rankings that the national poll, but I did move the Irish up based on how others are playing. Fortunately, we finally get a chance to see this team on the field this week, and we’ll find out if I’m crazy or not.

12 Georgetown (1-0)

Last Week: 19

National Poll: 5

Results: Defeated Villanova, 13-1

So, Georgetown requires a big of an explanation, especially with the Hoyas at No. 5 in the national poll. Basically, I felt they would be good offensively but wasn’t as sure about their defense keeping pace. Did the single goal allowed from Villanova help things? Absolutely. But I’m still a little more skeptical and see this team as more of an 8-12 range through this season than a top five. As Georgetown keeps playing games, I’ll be more than happy to change course. It’s definitely a team to check out each week.

13 Penn State (0-1)

Last Week: 8

National Poll: 13

Results: Lost to Rutgers, 11-9

As with any early season loss, you’re left trying to figure out if this is a more serious issue or not. Penn State is already trying to figure out how to keep its offense producing at a high level without Grant Ament, and the results after this one are not encouraging. But if you are going to have any coach in the country try to get an offense on track, it’s good to have Jeff Tambroni. Certainly no panic button yet, but there is work to do.

14 High Point (1-1)

Last Week: 20

National Poll: 15

Results: Lost to North Carolina, 15-17

High Point may very well climb higher in my weekly rankings if it plays every game like this one. It stood toe-to-toe with UNC and looked excellent. Even though Asher Nolting gets the attention, High Point is not completely reliant on him to make things work. The Panthers fought with UNC as a complete team all over the field.

15 Lehigh (0-0)

Last Week: 9

National Poll: 17

Results: Did Not Play

I felt great about Lehigh in the preseason, but as other teams are taking shape, my original thoughts aren’t as lofty. I’m seeing some amazing things from others right now. This is definitely a group I want to see out on the field ASAP.

16 UMass (0-0)

Last Week: 11

National Poll: 14

Results: Did Not Play

When I was prepping this post on Sunday, I wrote: “UMass will finally see the field! Following a hiatus due to Covid on campus, the Minutemen get to face off against in-state foes UMass Lowell and BU this week.” That is no longer the case due to Covid cases on campus and within the program. The Minutemen are still not competing.

17 Richmond (0-2)

Last Week: 17

National Poll: 18

Results: Lost to North Carolina, 14-9

The Spiders had UNC on the ropes in the first half and kept it close after halftime, but they just could not keep pace with the Tar Heels. They came out of halftime by scoring three of the first four goals, pulling them back within two, but could only muster a pair of scores for the rest of the game while UNC notched another five. What hurts is two of those Richmond goals were EMO chances. This is still a team to take very seriously, but it’s just outside of being a top-10 team at the moment.

18 Stony Brook (2-0)

Last Week: Unranked

National Poll: 16

Results: Defeated Bryant, 14-8

While Stony Brook’s opening win against Sacred Heart was good, this win over Bryant was excellent. The reason why is how spread out its scoring was and how it scored in bunches. Bryant came out and scored four quick goals in the first five minutes of the contest. But Stony Brook closed out the first with four of its own. The second half was all Seawolves: seven of the eight goals in the second half, all scored by six different shooters, with three different feeders.

19 Jacksonville (2-1)

Last Week: Unranked

National Poll: Unranked

Results: Defeated Mercer, 12-11

I moved Jacksonville up in my weekly rankings while the national poll has Navy in this spot. Think of that as a way of indicating who we think will win when they play each other this week. I say Jacksonville. Could I be wrong? Sure! But I really like the look of the Dolphins early in the season despite the close game with Mercer.

20 Albany (0-0)

Last Week: Unranked

National Poll: 20

Results: Did Not Play

This is a rough one. I don’t really LOVE any of the options for the No. 20 team. I looked at Marquette, Bryant, and Providence as the other options. The downside is all three of them have losses, including Providence to Bryant. Marquette and Bryant are at least top-20 losses. I’m not enamored with Albany here, but based on last year’s limited schedule, it definitely shows more potential, so I’ll give the Great Danes the nod here.

Dropped out:

Cornell (4), Penn (13), Princeton (14)

Next teams in:

These are the ones with the best shot at making my weekly rankings in the coming weeks, not in order:  Marquette, Bryant, Hobart, Providence.

Who did I leave out?

Navy (19)

I feel a little justified, which is always nice at this point in the season. Last week, I didn’t list Stony Brook, Hopkins, or Villanova in my top 20 while all three appeared in the national poll. The only team I missed on last week compared to the other voters that stayed in the top 20 this week was Stony Brook. Hopkins and Villanova both dropped out of the top 20 in favor of Navy and Albany. The receiving votes section is insane now. Seventeen different teams are listed vying for that No. 20 spot.