A week of mayhem: Ivy League lacrosse is reclaiming its glory with a record year

With one final week for most college lacrosse programs, we’re approaching do-or-die for many. But one thing is for sure: Maryland is the team to beat. The Terps are steamrolling everyone in their path, and they grabbed a Triple Crown of sorts by garnering three of the sport’s most prestigious awards. Fifth-year senior Logan Wisnauskas took home Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Brett Makar grabbed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and Luke Wierman was tabbed as the Big Ten Specialist of the Year.


But this story isn’t about the Terps. Or Georgetown, their main challenger, who seems to be running away with the Big East. Or Boston University and their historic year trying for an undefeated Patriot League slate, or Jacksonville’s jump from 7-7 to 13-2 in less than 365 days, or Duke’s tumble from #2 to #10.


It’s about the league that only had one contest…yes, just one…in 2021. And they’re roaring back like they never left.


The Ivy League was one of the first conferences to shut down in early March of 2020, and many were quick to criticize. But, given what happened next, it was more than likely the right call. But the hiatus from sports went on longer than 2020, as the Ivy League’s leadership made a bold move to cancel all contests in the 2020-21 season. As 3 other Boston-area schools returned to action, Harvard was on the sidelines. As Fairfield, Sacred Heart, and Quinnipiac began training for 2021, Yale’s face-off specialist T.D. Ierlan transferred to Denver, where he’d have a guaranteed season in the Big East. As Bryant and Providence laced up their cleats for a year which they’d both be expected to compete, Brown landed a game against BU in the last week of the year; the Terriers needed an opponent and the Bears were cleared as a program that “met protocol.” That proved to be the only Ivy League contest last year…and, for the record, Brown won 12-5.


Now, just one year after Brown became the lone school in the conference to play a lacrosse contest, the Ivy League has silenced even its most harsh critics. Six of its seven teams are ranked inside the Top-15 in this week’s Inside Lacrosse National Media Poll. And with just one week left to go, the mayhem is only picking up.


There are seven different scenarios that the Ivy League Championship bracket can shake out to. Five different teams can grab first place. It’s a nuance that, although far-and-few-between, is equally as astonishing every single time it happens: there is a chance that a team might not qualify for the conference tournament, but still makes the field of 18 selected to the NCAA Tournament in May.


Let’s break down this upcoming week on the Ivy League circuit.

Firstly, allow me to indulge in a gut reaction: are you kidding me?!


No, actually...are you kidding me?


There is no error in this table; every single team that is 1) in contention for the Ivy League tournament, and 2) playing this weekend is 3-2 in Ivy League play. The evenness has simply never been greater.


This weekend’s matchups:

#14 Cornell @ #7 Princeton

Dartmouth @ #5 Brown

#12 Harvard @ #9 Yale


And, the tiebreakers for each scenario:


If Brown beats Dartmouth, Harvard beats Yale and Cornell beats Princeton:

No. 1 Brown, No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Harvard, No. 4 Yale


If Brown beats Dartmouth, Yale beats Harvard and Cornell beats Princeton:

No. 1 Brown, No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Yale, No. 4 Harvard


If Brown beats Dartmouth, Harvard beats Yale and Princeton beats Cornell:

No. 1 Harvard, No. 2 Princeton, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Penn


If Brown beats Dartmouth, Yale beats Harvard and Princeton beats Cornell:

No. 1 Princeton, No. 2 Brown, No. 3 Yale, No. 4 Penn


If Dartmouth beats Brown, Yale beats Harvard and Princeton beats Cornell:

No. 1 Yale, No. 2 Princeton, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Penn


If Dartmouth beats Brown, Harvard beats Yale and Princeton beats Cornell:

No. 1 Harvard, No. 2 Princeton, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Penn


If Dartmouth beats Brown, Harvard beats Yale and Cornell beats Princeton:

No. 1 Cornell, No. 2 Harvard, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Yale


If Dartmouth beats Brown, Yale beats Harvard and Cornell beats Princeton:

No. 1 Cornell, No. 2 Yale, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Harvard


Big takeaways:


Cornell-Princeton should be one for the history books. It’s fairly simple: this is the elimination game among all elimination games. You win, you’re in. You lose, you leave it up to the selection committee in 2 weeks. If I’m Harvard, I am praying for a Cornell victory, as there’s only one scenario that leaves both the Crimson and Tigers in the bracket. It’s worth noting that FIVE TEAMS can grab the one-seed; the winner of this game is guaranteed the two-seed at worst.


Yale’s talent is a force to be reckoned with. I had the pleasure of broadcasting a Yale-BU game a few weeks ago, and the Bulldogs took an 18-6 lead into the locker room. Not too often you get that high of an advantage in a single game…let alone at halftime. Watch out for attackman Matt Brandau, as the Bulldogs have seemed to go as he goes.


Brown’s new goalkeeper is making his mark. Connor Theriault made his mark on the world last week when he won Inside Lacrosse’s Prime Time Player of the Week after a brilliant showing against Cornell. He went 75% in between the pipes, and held the Big Red to only 8 goals after a career-high 24 saves; that made it 3 straight top-ten wins for the Bears. The big fella had gargantuan shoes to fill after All-American goalie Phil Goss graduated last year, and he’s now up to eleven games with over 10 saves.


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