Commentary

Win over Syracuse lifts Princeton

Tigers replace Orange as No. 2 team in lacrosse Power Rankings

Updated: April 6, 2009, 12:31 PM ET
By Quint Kessenich | ESPN.com

Quint's Power Rankings

1. Virginia Virginia
Record: 12-0
Previous ranking: 1
The Cavaliers beat North Carolina 11-10 on Saturday in the Big City Classic. They received stellar efforts from Mike Timms, Shamel Bratton, Chad Gaudet and Danny Glading. The Wahoos trailed 7-3 in the second quarter before Bratton got hot, scoring three prior to the break. Virginia's defense rarely slides to their poles, and Carolina's Billy Bitter feasted upon his one-on-one matchup. The Cavs played much smarter defense in the second half and shared the ball on offense. Virginia faces Duke in Durham on Saturday (ESPN2, 4 p.m. ET).

2. Princeton Princeton
Record: 8-1
Previous ranking: 6
The Tigers were motivated by the courage displayed by Connor McKemey, a 14-year-old lacrosse player from Fort Hill, S.C., who is battling third-degree burns on 87 percent of his body. Connor's nickname is "Bear," and the Princeton players wore a helmet sticker in his honor: "Bear Down." The orange and black were led to a 12-8 win over Syracuse by Jack McBride's three goals; senior midfielder Rich Sgalardi also had a pair, lefty Mark Kovler had three and goalie Tyler Fiorito was superb. The Tigers played their first midfield 85 percent of the game. Their big weakness Saturday was their clearing game. Princeton's win over Syracuse may ultimately benefit the entire Ivy League. The Tigers have wins over Johns Hopkins, UMBC, Albany and SU. They play Penn on Tuesday.

3. Syracuse Syracuse
Record: 7-2
Previous ranking: 2
How does Otto the Orange not make the trip down to Giant Stadium for the Big City Classic? Syracuse shot 3-for-23 in the first half and never seemed to find its stride. Did the Orange generate any 4-on-3 fast breaks? Bright spots for Syracuse were Matt Abbott and Pat Perritt -- that's about it, and that's why they lost. Most concerning to me is the Orange's settled offense -- there was too much standing around at times and it had a tentative approach to dodging. They underestimated Jack McBride's speed and paid the price. They allowed Mark Kovler to get to his left hand and set his feet, and they misplayed some ball picks both behind and in front of the goal. There is much to improve. SU faces Cornell on Tuesday.

4. Cornell Cornell
Record: 7-1
Previous ranking: 3
The Big Red beat Harvard 13-12, erasing a four-goal deficit. Cornell has wins over Army, Duke and Harvard.

5. Hofstra Hofstra
Record: 7-1
Previous ranking: 5
The Pride handled Delaware 10-8 on Saturday at Giants Stadium. Their bandwagon is overflowing. Hofstra's victory over Princeton just gained a lot of value. It is the clear-cut favorite in the CAA. Hofstra has wins over UMass, Brown, Princeton and Army. The Pride play Drexel and Towson this week.

6. Notre Dame Notre Dame
Record: 8-0
Previous ranking: 4
The Fighting Irish have beaten North Carolina without Ben Hunt and Loyola without Shane Koppens. Notre Dame downed Air Force over the weekend behind a Dave Earl hat trick. The Irish haven't given up more than nine goals in any game this year. They are at Denver on Saturday.

7. UMBC UMBC
Record: 8-2
Previous ranking: 7
UMBC has wins over Maryland, Ohio State and Colgate. The Retrievers are at Albany on Saturday.

8. Brown
Brown
Record: 9-1
Previous ranking: 9
The Bears got a win over Yale, scoring seven unanswered goals in the third and fourth quarters. Brown has won eight games in a row. Its lone loss is to Hofstra in two overtimes. The Bears have beaten UMass and Denver.

9. UMass UMass
Record: 6-3
Previous ranking: 10
The Minutemen doubled-up St John's, 12-6. They've won three games in a row in the ECAC. UMass has wins over Harvard and Loyola.

10. Duke Duke
Record: 8-3
Last week: 11
The Blue Devils had a bye -- an ideal siesta before their game Saturday with No. 1-ranked Virginia (ESPN2, 4 p.m. ET). Duke is readying for a late push with tilts against UVa and Army and the ACC tournament. Duke has given up double-digit goals only twice this year. Its offense has come up short in losses to Maryland, Cornell and Harvard.

11. North Carolina UNC
Record: 8-4
Previous ranking: 12
UNC fell short to Virginia 11-10 on Saturday in the Big City Classic. Carolina has now lost 21 consecutive ACC games, but the Tar Heels played their guts out and gave a great effort in the face of adversity. They may have lost starting goalie Grant Zimmerman for the year with a knee injury, and freshman defender Charlie McComas left the game early with a shoulder injury. Billy Bitter scored five goals in the loss and put on a display of quickness, flying by his man. Defender Ryan Flanagan was everywhere in a valiant effort. The Heels have beaten Denver, Navy, Colgate and Hopkins.

12. Johns Hopkins JHU
Record: 4-4
Previous ranking: 13
The Blue Jays were in a must-win scenario against Albany on Saturday and got the victory, 14-9. Chris Boland scored five goals and Matt Dolente and Michael Powers went 8-for-8 facing off in the third quarter.

13. Navy Navy
Record: 8-3
Previous ranking: 18
The Midshipmen were fired up Friday night, toppling Maryland in front of 15,000 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Tommy Phelan made a career-high 17 saves and defender Andy Tormey ate up Maryland's Grant Catalino. Navy has wins over Ohio State, Georgetown and Maryland and may be gaining momentum after a 2-2 start.

14. Harvard Harvard
Record: 5-3
Previous ranking: 16
The Crimson lost to Cornell by one Saturday, their second one-goal loss of the year (Georgetown).

15. Maryland Maryland
Record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 8
The Terps have wins over North Carolina, Towson and Duke but losses to Georgetown, UMBC, Navy and Virginia. Maryland has been held to single digits on offense in five of its past six games, averaging 8.3 goals per game in that stretch.

16. Loyola Loyola (Md.)
Record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 15
The Greyhounds ran down Rutgers. They have four challenging games left with Georgetown, Fairfield, Hobart and at Hopkins.

17. Colgate Colgate
Record: 7-3
Previous ranking: 17
The Raiders beat Lehigh 10-8. They've won six straight games. Colgate has wins over Fairfield, Navy, Ohio State and Army.

18. Georgetown Georgetown
Record: 5-5
Previous ranking: Not ranked
The Hoyas had eight different goal scorers in a well-balanced win over ECAC foe Fairfield. Georgetown still has a shot to win out and make the NCAA playoffs. It is clinging to wins over Harvard and Maryland as ammunition.

19. Bucknell Bucknell
Record: 6-5
Previous ranking: Not ranked
The Bison beat Army 8-6 over the weekend. They have wins over Navy, Denver and Army.

20. Albany Albany
Record: 6-3
Previous ranking: Not ranked
The Great Danes' losses are to Denver, Princeton and Hopkins. They play UMBC and Princeton over the next two weeks.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN. He can be reached at quint@insidelacrosse.com.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN.