The decade is coming to an end and with that means discussing the best that was for the 2010’s. That includes in college lacrosse, and with this we introduce the College Crosse All-Decade Awards. Over the next few weeks we will be releasing articles and podcasts breaking down the best of the decade in men’s lacrosse. These will include: The All Decade-Team, Program of the Decade, Games of the Decade, Coach of the Decade, Moments, and Individual Team. We’ll choose our best, a runner-up, and an honorable mention. We start out with programs, choosing which program was the gold standard for the previous 10 years in men’s college lacrosse. If you prefer to read, here’s our written portion of our choices, and if you prefer to listen, the podcast where Ryan and I discuss it is embedded below.
Program of the Decade: Duke
- 3 National Championships
- 4 National Championship game appearances
- 7 Final Fours
- 22 NCAA Tournament wins
- 5 conference championships
- 10 NCAA Tournament appearances
The Blue Devils accolades speak for themselves, best in class with more national championships than anyone else through the decade and before this year the only program to win multiple national titles in the 2010s. 4 title game appearances is 2nd only to Maryland, 7 Final Fours is matched with the Terrapins for the best, as is there 22 NCAA Tournament wins. They never missed a tournament and they’re one of only two programs this century to win back to back national titles. They defined the early period of the decade with three titles in five years, five consecutive Final Fours as part of an eight consecutive Final Four stretch, and 78 wins, along with a litany of exceptional offensive attackmen and offensive players that exceeded anyone else in the country. Even as they fell back to the pack in the final half of the decade, they still finished as national runner-up in 2018 and made another Final Four in 2019 to make it 7 in 10 years. Others may have matched or surpassed their regular season success but when it came down to the business end no one reached the heights the Blue Devils did, either in a peak run or over the whole. They are the College Crosse Men’s Program of the Decade.
If there was any program that could match the Devils and maybe even surpass them, it’d be Maryland. The program that became the gold standard in the country over the second half of the decade; no one won more NCAA Tournament games, made more Quarterfinals, made more national title game appearances, or made more Final Fours than the Terps. No one matched their run of three consecutive #1 overall seeds from 2016-18, nor an incredible run of 47 games in a row from mid-2016 to 2018 where their only losses were either by one goal or in overtime, in addition to 50 games in a row without losing by more than two goals. Their incredible consistency in both the regular season and tournament was unparalleled only to Duke and their ability to year in and year out reach Memorial Day Weekend at a period when the game was more competitive than ever was a testament to their greatness. As was this: No ACC, Big Ten, or Ivy League team had a higher winning percentage in the 2010’s than Maryland’s 76%, which they did across two conferences, while playing in the arguably the best conference in the country every year.
Honorable Mention: Denver
The team that hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game before the start of the decade ascended to heights beaten by only two. A National Championship goes with 5 Final Fours, the third most this decade, a 76.3 winning percentage unsurpassed by any team this decade, and 14 NCAA Tournament wins that ranks 4th among all teams. A 52-5 conference record is as good as there’s ever been in the conference era of the sport, and until 2019 they had never lost a regular season conference game in Big East play. Backed by the best coach ever, Denver became the third best of the 2010s.
Listen to the episode as we discuss our top 10 and teams that could have made the cut in the player below, or head over to Podomatic to listen to it. You can also, as usual, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and our Spotify account.