Best Teams No One's Talking About, Take Two
Eleven days ago, I started a top-five-teams-no-one's-talking-about list. On it were Rutgers men, Albany women, Dartmouth men, Bucknell men and UMass women. All of these teams remain viable, but the shine has worn off on Rutgers (two losses in last three games) and, to a lesser extent, Dartmouth and UMass.
Albany's women continued to defy the limits of their injury-hampered roster, picking up a strong, 10-8 non-conference win over that same UMass team. Bucknell's men are on a tear with four straight wins, and their early-season triumph of Villanova (No 7 in this week's USILA poll) looks even more impressive today. People are going to start talking about the Bison, now that they have entered the top 20 rankings at No. 17.
Meantime, other surprises have surfaced in the Division I men's and women's lacrosse ranks. Here's my latest rendering of the best teams no one's talking about.
The Cardinals are 6-0 and yet received no votes in this week's IWLCA coaches poll. (They did come in at No. 19 in Inside Lacrosse's media poll.) They have feasted on weaker opponents. But you have to think with the nation's leaders in goals per game (Bergan Foley), assists per game (Katie Oliverio) and draws per game (Emily Dashiell), Louisville is ready to give No. 7 Stanford a run for its money Thursday.
The Crimson, ranked No. 18 this week after improving to 5-1 under first-year head coach Chris Wojcik, has averaged 14.5 goals per game during its current four-game winning streak.
The Raiders (5-3) have won five of six games, including a clutch win over Fairfield following a somewhat puzzling loss to Binghamton, a team suddenly embroiled in controversy.
Ohio State women
The Buckeyes are sizzling hot and likely got a nice confidence boost from the win over Notre Dame, in which Brittney Zerhusen had eight points. They've won five of six entering ALC play, starting Saturday at No. 9 Florida.
How can a 2-3 team be one of the five best no one's talking about? Consider that the Crimson lost by just one goal to top-10 teams Stanford and Penn, and that the Ivy League appears ripe for the picking, and you'll smell what's cooking.