National champion Maryland held steady through a season of upsets and tops the final Inside Lacrosse/Cascade Women's Division I Media Poll while Navy soars to No. 4, the highest ranking ever for the Midshipmen.
The Terps (23-0) polished off the fifth undefeated season in program history with Sunday's national championship 16-13 victory over Boston College at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. They reigned at No. 1 through the final 12 polls of the season after defeating 2016 national champion North Carolina, 13-10, on Feb. 25.
The Terps fought off several upset bids in the playoffs, including those from Stony Brook -- 13-12 in the quarterfinal -- and from Boston College which was within two goals with nine minutes left in the title game.
They escaped the trend plaguing No. 1 seeds across women's Division I sports this school year. Among those that fell short of the title -- Connecticut basketball, Nebraska volleyball, Duke field hockey and Stanford soccer.
The bigger surprise, however, was Navy's exceptional run through the NCAA tournament to the final four. The Mids had not been ranked all season. They started their playoff run with their first-ever win over Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League championship, 15-5. That earned them the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
They headed to Penn and beat the seventh-seeded Quakers, 11-10, before knocking off Massachusetts, 23-11. That earned a quarterfinal date with second-seeded and defending national champion North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Mids won 16-14 to earn their first trip to the final four in the 10th year of the program.
Cindy Timchal, who had taken Maryland to eight national championships before departing to start the Navy program, took the Mids within a goal of the championship game as they fell to Boston College, 16-15 in the national semifinal.
Navy and Boston College were both unseeded in the tournament. Former Terp Acacia Walker's Boston College team rose from No. 12 to No. 2 in the final poll.
Stony Brook took the No. 3 spot. Penn State, which fell to Maryland 20-10 in the national semifinal, finished at No. 5, up one spot.
There were so many upsets in the tournament that only five Top 20 teams retained the same ranking as in the last poll, which came out before the NCAA tournament.
Towson, which fell in the first round of the tournament, and Johns Hopkins, which did not make the tournament, also received votes.
Final Inside Lacrosse Cascade Women's Division I Media Poll
Rank School W-L Pv.
1. Maryland 23-0 1
2. Boston College 17-7 12
3. Stony Brook 20-2 4
4. Navy 18-5 --
5. Penn State 17-4 6
6. North Carolina 17-3 2
7. Princeton 15-4 5
8. USC 18-4 8
9. Florida 17-3 3
10. Syracuse 15-7 7
11. Cornell 13-6 9
12. Penn 13-4 10
13. Northwestern 11-10 13
14. James Madison 14-7 15
15. Massachusetts 17-4 --
16. Virginia 12-9 16
17. Colorado 16-4 11
18. Albany 12-6 17
19. Notre Dame 11-8 14
20. Elon 13-7 20
Receiving votes (most votes to least): Denver, Louisville, High Point, Towson, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Canisius