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Upsets show shift among Top 20 teams in Division I

Upsets show shift among Top 20 teams in Division I

Last weekend featured three upsets among Top 20 teams in Division I women's lacrosse, but one stood out — fourth-year program Southern California's 11-5 win over perennial contender Duke on Saturday.

In the past few years, the sport has begun to show the parity it's been promising with the emergence of new teams from some of the top athletics programs in the country, the latest at USC. Now, what a team did last week, last year, the last few years or for it's storied history doesn't mean a lot.

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"A long time ago, it was the Top 5 and within the Top 5, they could beat each other but nobody else could," Halley Quillinan, women's editor for Inside Lacrosse, said. "Then after a while, it became that Top 10 and outside of Maryland, everyone was beating everyone else. Now, it's extending to the Top 20. You saw it last year — an undefeated Maryland team can lose to an Ohio State team."

Over the weekend, another relative newcomer, Florida, in its seventh season, edged last year's national finalist No. 2 North Carolina, 16-15.

The third upset involved two of the most storied programs in Division I as No. 12 Princeton won 14-7 over No. 5 Virginia, which had beaten then-No. 5 Northwestern the previous week.

For USC, the victory over Duke was a signature win. The Trojans were ranked No. 18 and Duke, a final four team last season, was No. 7. With that kind of quick success, USC is following the example set by Florida, which reached the final four in its second season, and Northwestern, which won the national championship it its fourth season and has seven titles in 14 years.

"I just think it's the growth of the game," Quillinan said. "The top recruits are not just all going to Maryland, Carolina, Syracuse. When a program like Florida, like USC adopts lacrosse as a varsity sport, they invest wholeheartedly. Look at the facilities that USC has at their disposal, and they went after top coaches to get them to Southern California. I think with the means these programs have, it's only a matter of time before they're going to be successful."

Two of they key players in the Trojans' win were from the San Francisco area: Kylie Drexel and Michaela Michael. Now, coach Lindsey Munday, who helped Northwestern win its first national title, has reeled in Inside Lacrosse's No. 1 player in the Class of 2016, Under-19 veteran Kerrigan Miller from Blue Point, N.Y.

Lightning does strike twice: Weather delays are nothing new when Loyola Maryland travels to Johns Hopkins. The two teams waited out a 2 hour, 5 minute interruption in the middle of Wednesday night's double-overtime thriller won by the Greyhounds, 8-7.

In 2012, when the two renewed their rivalry after 30 years, they sat through a lightning delay of 1 hour and 19 minutes. That time, the delay came at the beginning of the game, but the result was the same. The Greyhounds won 11-7.

Although the casts were different, both games were won with defense. Bryn Mawr graduate Molly Wolf made five saves in overtime Wednesday and finished with 10 to secure the win. Her save with a little more than a minute left in the second overtime led to red-shirt freshman Sabrina Tabasso's game-winning goal.

The No. 20 Greyhounds and No. 15 Blue Jays did not test the new rule that makes overtime sudden death from the start. They played through the first six-minute overtime without a goal and Tabasso scored with 56 seconds left in the second overtime, which is still three minutes.

Three Maryland games to be shown on BTN: Two-time defending national champion Maryland will have three games aired on the Big Ten Network this spring and seven more streamed online.

Two Big Ten showdowns will be featured — the No. 1 Terps vs. No. 7 Northwestern on March 31 and the Terps at defending Big Ten champion and No. 3 Penn State on April 28. One of the Terps' longest rivalries will also be aired when Virginia comes to College Park on April 20.

BTN Plus will stream the Terps vs. Hofstra on March 5, vs. James Madison on March 26, vs. Cornell on April 2, vs. Johns Hopkins on April 6, at Rutgers on April 9 and vs. Ohio State — which upset the Terps in the Big Ten Tournament last year — April 16. Maryland at No. 2 Syracuse on March 12 will be streamed on ESPN3.

The Big Ten Tournament, May 5-8, also will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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Quick hits: Loyola Maryland freshman Taylor Van Thof won six draws in the 8-7 double-overtime win over Johns Hopkins — double the number the Greyhounds team controlled in a 17-6 loss to No. 2 Syracuse 10 days ago. … Maryland leads the Top 20 teams in scoring offense averaging 18.5 goals in its first two games. … Towson is tied for third in Division I in scoring defense, allowing 4.67 goals through its first three games. … Navy's Jenna Collins (River Hill) has scored at least a point in 15 straight games. … There are 25 Division I teams still undefeated.

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