On Sunday, the lacrosse landscape got a sizable shake-up: No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Albany both fell on the same day, just a couple hours apart.
With the regular season winding down and the postseason just around the corner, the potential for drama was high, and everyone delivered.
Albany fell first, taking on No. 5 Yale in what had potential to be the game of the year before the Danes’ Connor Fields left the game with an injury. Albany is great, but its greatness is thanks in no small part to Fields’ talents.
The Bulldogs dominated en route to a 14-8 victory over the former top team in the nation.
Then, in the second upset, Ohio State fought tooth-and-nail against Maryland, going back and forth for 30 minutes before a strong start to the second half and a defensive-minded fourth quarter lifted the Buckeyes to a 12-10 win. This marked a bit of revenge for Ohio State, who lost to Maryland in last year's national championship game.
It was all pretty wild. (Elsewhere on Sunday, No. 10 Rutgers beat No. 11 Penn State, fairly soundly, to snap the Scarlet Knights' recent skid). This all means we’re going to see plenty of movement in both this week’s Inside Lacrosse poll and the NCAA committee’s Top 10 rankings.
With both No. 1 and No. 2 falling today, who will rise to the top of the men's lacrosse rankings tomorrow morning?#NCAALAX— NCAA Lacrosse (@NCAALAX) April 22, 2018
Let’s dive a little deeper for each team involved in Sunday’s madness.
What does this mean for…
The Buckeyes are still alive. A win against Rutgers would put OSU at 8-6 on the season (3-2 in the conference) and into the Big Ten conference tournament. From there, the Buckeyes can theoretically play their way into the NCAA tournament.
And in a season filled with upsets and undulations, don’t be surprised if the Buckeyes find a way to sneak in the field.
The Elis might be the best team in the country right now. They’ve lost just once since their season opener, dropping an overtime decision to Bucknell (the other hottest team in the country) on April 4.
Since then, Yale has reeled off four straight dominating wins, outscoring its opponents 72-32 along the way. They’re 11-2 now, and absolutely rolling heading into their season finale against Harvard.
The likely Yale-Cornell Ivy League championship should be incredible. First to 25 wins.
The Terps’ quest to go undefeated in the Big Ten for the second time in three years fell just short, but they shouldn’t be too concerned.
This is still an excellent lacrosse team, replete with experienced players and led by one of the best scorers in the nation in Connor Kelly, who scored four times Sunday.
What it does mean, though, is they’re worth studying, because they can be beat. Half of Maryland’s 10 wins have come by either one or two goals. They’re not bulletproof, even if they’re great.
The Danes are probably in trouble if Connor Fields is out for an extended period of time, but that’s obvious. He’s one of the best players in the nation, far and away the engine that powers Albany’s insane offense.
Albany is still the best team in the America East without him, though, and even if they fall to Vermont in the conference tournament they’ll receive an at-large bid.
What happens once they’re in the tournament, then, all relies on Fields’ availability.
Nothing but fun, as always.