NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse used to be about succession, as well as success. There was a period of several years when the team losing the title game one year would win the title game the next.
But in the mid-1990s, the layout changed. Thanks in large part to dominant programs at Maryland and Northwestern, there were rwo races for the national championship. There would be one dominant program, and everyone else was competing for the second-place trophy.
Then, came the events of May 30, 2010. That game featured Maryland and Northwestern, the two teams that came to define the game for the previous decade and a half.
Since then, women’s lacrosse seems to have developed a duality at the top. Over the las five years, that duality has been Maryland and North Carolina. One of these two teams has been the No. 1 team in the IWLCA poll, and these two universities have split the last four NCAA titles.
Yet, a month ago, the margin between these two teams was three.
There is plenty of time between now and the conference tournaments to figure out where the slices in the layer cake are at the top of Division I. A further determination will occur this Wednesday when No. 1 Maryland takes on No. 3 Florida. But if the Gators are able to come into College Park and get a result, it could be the single most disruptive event coming out of a regular-season game in some time.