Who Has the Most Women’s College Lacrosse Championships?

Since 1982, the NCAA has crowned a women’s college lacrosse national champion almost every year. The format has changed quite a bit over the years, with the invitations expanding as time as gone on to reach a 28-team field in 2019.

There was no champion in 2020 because of COVID-19 cancelling the tournament, the first time since the NCAA began sponsoring women’s lacrosse that no crown was offered. But we still have plenty of years and championships to look back on.

Who Has the Most Women’s College Lacrosse Championships?

It’s Maryland, and it’s not particularly close.

1. Maryland

National Championships: 14 (1986, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019)

Championship Game Losses: 8 (1984, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2011, 2013, 2016)

Title-Winning Coaches: Sue Tyler (1986), Cindy Timchal (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), Cathy Reese (2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019)

Maryland is who has the most women’s college lacrosse championships.

The Terps are, far and away, the most dominant program in NCAA Division I women’s college lacrosse. No one comes close to the number of national championships Maryland boasts, with the 2019 title doubling up on second place. Maryland has the most NCAA tournament appearances (35), won the most tournament games (73), and made the most NCAA championship game appearances (22). The seven-year title streak from 1995-2001 is the third-longest women’s title streak in NCAA history, and during that span, the Terps lost just five games.

It will be a while until anyone can touch what has been done in College Park.

2. Northwestern

National Championships: 7 (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)

Championship Game Losses: 1 (2010)

Title-Winning Coaches: Kelly Amonte Hiller (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)

No one can touch what has been done in College Park, but Northwestern is trying.

The Wildcats had zero championships or title-game appearances in their history before 2005. Now, Northwestern is comfortably in control of the second-most women’s college lacrosse championships in NCAA Division I, and before Maryland added a few more to its tally in the last handful of years, the Wildcats were hot on its Terrapin tail. Northwestern mounted a run that rivaled Maryland’s seven-straight championships with five of its own and seven in eight tries while reaching the final game eight-consecutive seasons.

Since 2012, Northwestern has been good, but not as dominant. Three Final Four runs (2013, 2014, 2019) are great, but no championships have been added in that time, giving Maryland opportunities to pull further ahead. Still, the Wildcats have a good cushion before they have to worry about relinquishing the second spot.

T-3. Princeton

National Championships: 3 (1994, 2002, 2003)

Championship Game Losses: 4 (1993, 1995, 2000, 2004)

Title-Winning Coaches: Chris Sailer (1994, 2002, 2003)

Tons of NCAA tournament appearances and several national championship game runs are good for a claim of the third spot on this list for Princeton. The Tigers took a few years to get their legs under them once the NCAA began sponsoring women’s college lacrosse, but three years into Chris Sailer’s now-very long tenure, she had them 14-3 and in the national semifinal. It would take three more years to reach the Final Four again, another one to get to the championship game, and one more to taste triumph in 1993.

Since, Sailer has had Princeton in the NCAA tournament almost every year and plenty of Final Fours to boot. It has been a while since the Tigers got to the national semifinals since last appearing there in 2004, allowing Northwestern to pass and others to inch closer. Still, though, this is one of the most success women’s college lacrosse programs of all time, and you have to think that eventually, that fourth title will come.

T-3. Virginia

National Championships: 3 (1991, 1993, 2004)

Championship Game Losses: 6 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007)

Title-Winning Coaches: Jane Miller (1991, 1993), Julie Myres (2004)

When Princeton defeated Virginia, 8-7, in overtime in the 2003 national championship, the Tigers surpassed the Cavaliers on the national championships list. One year later, Virginia got its revenge, topping Princeton, 10-4, in the 2004 national championship to pull itself even with the Ivy League program. Neither have climbed the mountaintop since, though Virginia got close a couple times in the years immediately after 2004.

The Hoos have played in every NCAA tournament since 1996, though harder times have befallen the program since winning its third championship. Virginia has reached the Final Four once since falling in the national championship game in 2007, and its last ACC crown came in 2010. As such, a few programs have begun nipping at Virginia’s heels in the past decade, coming close to equally its title total. But at least for now, the Cavs are tied for third.

The Rest

T-5. North Carolina

National Championships: 2 (2013, 2016)

Championship Game Losses: 2 (2009, 2015)

Title-Winning Coaches: Jenny Levy (2013, 2016)

T-5. Penn State

National Championships: 2 (1987, 1989)

Championship Game Losses: 2 (1986, 1988)

Title-Winning Coaches: Susan Scheetz (1987, 1989)

T-5. Temple

National Championships: 2 (1984, 1988)

Championship Game Losses: 2 (1983, 1987)

Title-Winning Coaches: Tina Sloan Green (1984, 1988)

T-8. Delaware

National Championships: 1 (1983)

Championship Game Losses: 0

Title-Winning Coaches: Janet Smith (1983)

T-8. Harvard

National Championships: 1 (1990)

Championship Game Losses: 1 (1989)

Title-Winning Coaches: Carole Kleinfelder (1990)

T-8. James Madison

National Championships: 1 (2018)

Championship Game Losses: 0

Title-Winning Coaches: Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe (2018)

T-8. Massachusetts

National Championships: 1 (1982)

Championship Game Losses: 0

Title-Winning Coaches: Pamela Hixon (1982)

T-8. New Hampshire

National Championships: 1 (1985)

Championship Game Losses: 0

Title-Winning Coaches: Marisa Didio (1985)

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