As the college lacrosse regular season comes to a close, the Maryland men’s and women’s teams prepare for this week’s Big Ten Tournament, with the NCAA Tournament not far in the future.
Both teams are ranked No. 1 in the nation now.
The women’s team has been ranked No. 1 since crushing North Carolina in the third game of the season, and the Terps have overcome every obstacle in their path en route to a 17-0 record. Four members of the team were named to the 25-player Tewaaraton Award watch list over the weekend, more than anyone else in the country.
The men’s team, however, jumped from No. 5 to the top spot after curb-stomping longtime rival Johns Hopkins on Saturday. Maryland grabbed the Rivalry and Big Ten regular season trophies with the win, and although a No. 1 ranking doesn’t come with a trophy, it’s another feather in the Terps’ cap.
This is the team’s first time alone atop the rankings all season. Maryland had previously shared the No. 1 spot with Denver early in the year, but the Terps immediately dropped back-to-back games to Notre Dame and Villanova and fell all the way to No. 10. They climbed back up to third before dropping their third one-goal contest of the season (and second in overtime) at Ohio State, which dropped them to fifth last week.
The Terps don’t exactly have a stronghold on that top spot—they’re ahead of Denver by a whopping three points—but if they can beat Penn State and the Ohio State-Hopkins winner for the Big Ten title this weekend, there’s no reason they won’t keep it. The women’s team has six wins over the rest of the current top 10, so they might stay No. 1 even with a home loss this weekend.
Maryland was in this exact same position last year, as both teams were the top overall seeds in the NCAA Tournament. But they both lost in the national title game to UNC after knocking off the Tar Heels in the regular season. It’s possible this spring meets the same bitter end, but Maryland has put itself in two optimal positions. At this point, there’s nothing more to ask for.