In just five days, college lacrosse fans can finally awaken. In just five days, college lacrosse will be playing real games again. The beginning of the NCAA lacrosse season is always a special day for the lacrosse community, but in 2021 it will be even more special than ever. After losing the 2020 NCAA season and championship, it should be one of the most memorable seasons in a long time. And hopefully, will culminate with a memorable 2021 Championship Weekend.
But as we sit and wait for the 2021 season to faceoff, it's a good time to remember some of the greatest championship games of all time. So in honor of the five days left until the 2021 season, here is our list of the five best championship games of all time.
5. 2005 - Johns Hopkins beats Duke 9-8
Johns Hopkins entered the 2005 Championship game with a perfect 15-0 record. Seeking to become the third team since 1971 to complete a perfect season.
Kyle Harrison, in his senior year, had just won the Tewaarton Trophy and was seeking the first championship of his career. Harrison's senior class entered the game with a 54-6 record across the course of their career but had yet to win a championship.
Duke, led by Matt Danowski, nearly dashed Hopkin's hopes. Duke led by two goals late into the third quarter before Johns Hopkins, led by Paul Rabil and Kyle Harrison, staged a dramatic comeback to tie the game at eight. Midfielder Jake Byrne played the hero for Hopkins' burying what would prove to be the game-winning goal early in the fourth quarter.
A dramatic series of saves by Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman and a dominant performance by the Dave Petriemala coached defense held Duke to only one goal in the last 30 minutes of the game.
4. 2016 - North Carolina Defeats Maryland 14-13 in Overtime
The most recent game on this list, the 2016 championship game is known to all lacrosse fans. North Carolina entered the tournament unranked, but behind the tournament performance of Chris Cloutier, who scored a tournament-record 19 goals, North Carolina pulled off the upset of top-seeded Maryland. With the win, North Carolina became the first unranked team to win the championship.
The game was a dramatic back and forth affair. Maryland appeared to take control of momentum when the score sat at 13-11 with just over eight minutes to play. But a man-up goal from Luke Goldstock and another goal by Patrick Kelly 30 seconds later were enough to send the game into overtime.
Despite Bernlohr's heroics, Cloutier would score the game-winning goal 30 seconds later. Bernlohr and Maryland would win the championship the next season. But in 2016, the day belonged to Chris Cloutier and Maryland.
3. 2004 - Syracuse Takes Down Navy 14-13
The 2004 Syracuse squad was led by the final member of the Powell Brothers, Mikey. With the win, Mikey joined his two older brothers as the third Powell brother to win a championship at Syracuse.
Playing against the second-seeded Naval Academy, the game proved to be one of the most exciting of all time. Powell had five assists but was held to only one goal. That goal just happened to be the game-winner. Which he scored with just over one minute left in the game.
The goal came after Syracuse outscored Navy 3-1 after Navy had gone up 12-11 in the fourth quarter. Navy had a chance to tie the game with 15 seconds left, but they were unable to get a shot off in those final 15 seconds.
2. 1973 - Maryland Takes Down Hopkins 10-9 in Double Overtime
In just the third championship game of the modern era, Maryland won their first championship in school history. Maryland and Hopkins were the two top-seeded teams in the tournament and became the first teams to need overtime to decide the National Champion.
Maryland was led by legend Frank Urso, who scored the game-winning goal in double overtime. At that time, overtime was not sudden-win, so Maryland's defense had to clamp down for the final three minutes.
Hopkins challenged Maryland for most of the first half. They used a slow, limited shot, high possession offense to limit the Terp's top-rated offense. The strategy worked in the first half, as Hopkins held a 5-2 lead at the half. Maryland would outscore Hopkins 8-4 the rest of the way.
1. 2009 Syracuse Holds Off Cornell 10-9
Cornell's tough defense dominated Syracuse for the first three-quarters of the 2009 NCAA Championship. The Big Red led by three goals with just over five minutes to go.
What followed, was among the most dramatic moments in college lacrosse history. Syracuse scored two quick goals but found themselves down one goal with under five seconds to play. What happened then has to be seen to be believed.
Thanks to Nim's heroics in the dying seconds of regulation, and then Cody Jamieson 80 seconds into overtime. Syracuse captured their 10th official title and vaulted this game to the top of the list.
What did you think of this list? Let us know your favorite games in the comments!