Lacrosse. America’s original sport.
Lacrosse was started by the Native American Indians and was originally known as stickball. The game was initially played in the St. Lawrence Valley area by the Algonquian tribe and they were followed by other tribes in the eastern half of North America, and around the western Great Lakes.
Lacrosse has obviously changed a lot and the Big Ten is pretty good at the modern version of it. Since officially adding lacrosse to its sports line up in 2015, the Big Ten has had major success with such a young league. There are six teams which compete in Men’s Lacrosse: Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and... Johns Hopkins. They are an affiliate member of the Big Ten’s little lacrosse league.
How good at lacrosse is the Big Ten? Well, all six teams are in the most recent Inside Lacrosse Top 20 ranking (Week 6). Four of these six are in the Top 10, and three in the Top 5. I break them down below.
Big Ten Lacrosse, Week 6: Ranked Lowest to Highest
#20, Michigan Wolverines
Michigan has scooted up to #20 with a not too shabby 7-1 record with its only loss coming to Notre Dame, currently ranked #2. Can’t blame Michigan for that, and they have some decent wins, including over Penn. I expect Michigan to win its next game against UMBC, however, after that, Big Ten play starts for them on April 1st against Maryland. It’s definitely a tough league this year, but I think Michigan can make its mark in the conference. They have solid players to look out for including Senior Ian King and Sophomore Nick DeCaprio and Head Coach John Paul has definitely made Michigan into something formidable in his 6 seasons.
Next up for Michigan: vs UMBC, Saturday March 25th
#17, Johns Hopkins Blue Jays
Next up in the poll is Johns Hopkins sitting at #17 after a 3 spot fall from #14 on Week 5, and a 4-3 record. Their four wins are over Navy, UMBC, Loyola, and North Carolina. The latter two are ranked. A tough 7-8 loss to #6 Syracuse this past weekend ensured their ranking decline. Their preseason ranking was 12, but is unfortunately not living up to it. Hopefully, Johns Hopkins can right the ship and gain some confidence by beating (in what would be an upset) #15 Virginia, their last non-conference game because things are only going to get tougher when conference play starts up for them.
Next up for Johns Hopkins: vs Virginia (#15), Saturday March 25th
#10, Maryland Terrapins
Moving upward in the rankings we have Maryland at #10 and they experienced one of the furthest drops from Week 5 to Week 6 from #4. At 4-2, Maryland’s first loss was to Notre Dame, but what really hurt them was a heartbreaking loss in overtime to unranked Villanova. Maryland’s preseason ranking was #3 and like the Blue Jays, they also haven’t been able to live up to their hype. Still though, every team has bad games. Matt Rambo is a goal making machine and overall, I think Maryland is a very solid team that may have an upset over one of the three B1G teams ranked above them.
Next up for Maryland: @ North Carolina (#14), Saturday March 25th
#4, Ohio State Buckeyes
We have Ohio State sitting pretty at #4 after shooting way up from #17. Yes, you read that right, I had to triple check my sources. Ohio State is currently 9-0 with an impressive upset win over Towson, but what really propelled them into the Top 5 was a win over previously #1 ranked, Denver. Ohio State wasn’t even ranked in the preseason, so this comes as a very big surprise and point of pride, I’m sure, for Buckeye fans. Ohio State seems to be very cohesive and are going to do just fine in their conference play— assuming they can get past Notre Dame.
Next up for Ohio State: @ Notre Dame (#2), Saturday March 25th
#3, Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State is solidly ranked at #3 for the third weak in a row and are 8-0. I’d say that aside from record, Penn State’s only majorly impressive win is over in state Ivy-League rival, Penn. Still though, Penn State is historically good at Lacrosse under Coach Jeff Tambroni, so I’m definitely anticipating some great in-conference match ups for them.
Next up for Penn State: vs Cleveland State, Saturday March 25th
#1, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Big Ten currently has the #1 ranked team in NCAA Lacrosse and that team is Rutgers. With a genuinely impressive 8-0 record including a win over Army, and for the first time since 2005, a win in the icy cold over Princeton to take home the Meistrell Cup, Rutgers Lacrosse is finally a Rutgers team that the Big Ten can be proud of. Preseason #19, to #1 in Week 6. The NJIT win was a little close for comfort though, so Rutgers really has to keep it tight to maintain this success which hasn’t been had at this level since 1955 (being 8-0).
Next up for Rutgers: @ Delaware, Saturday March 25th
Well there you have it. This is the last non-conference play week for our teams, so things are going to get interesting soon enough. Stick around on Off Tackle Empire for (hopefully weekly) Big Ten Lacrosse talk from Zuzu.
Anyway, ahhh yes, now it all makes sense why the Rutgers writer is writing up this article. I’m not just here to brag about Rutgers, I genuinely think lacrosse is a cool sport. So I get to talk about a sport that I like AND I get to brag about Rutgers.