Tufts is unanimous men's No. 1
The NCAA championship finals brought the 2018 season to a close on Saturday. After over 4,000 men's matches, including conference tournaments and the ECAC and NCAA tournaments, it was time for our panel of voters to evaluate the men's teams one last time and submitted their final ballots. Three teams entered the tournament still undefeated, but just one remained so when the dust had settled. With an undefeated champion and our pre-tournament No. 1 team finishing as runner-up, the top two spots were not in doubt. But the rest of the rankings were completely up for grabs with tournament results leading to an even bigger re-shuffle than usual.
Tufts (18-0-3) is the unanimous No. 1 men's team for 2018 after claiming their third title in five years. No. 2 on everyone's ballot was runner-up Calvin (22-2-0) who makes way for the champions atop the rankings. The top five is rounded out by a pair of favorites for the title, UAA champion and semifinalist Chicago (18-3-1) and one-loss Messiah (19-1-3), and the remaining semifinalist Rochester (16-3-2) who reached their first-ever Final Four by handing the Falcons their lone loss.
Case Western Reserve (16-4-2), one of this season's surprises, climbs eight spots into the Top 10 on the back of an Elite 8 run. The biggest gains due to tournament performance, however, go to Eastern (18-3-2), Amherst (14-5-1) and Luther (19-4-1), the later two unranked entering the tournament. Eastern jumps from No. 24 to No. 12 after squeezing by ranked Mary Washington and Franklin & Marshall to reach the Sweet 16 where they battled Rochester tough. No. 13 Amherst dealt St. Joseph's (Maine) their first loss of the season before falling to NESCAC rival and eventual champion Tufts in the third round while No. 15 Luther reached the Elite 8 where they took Chicago to overtime.
The aforementioned St. Joseph's (21-1-0) falls nine places due to the nature of their first and only loss—three goals conceded in first 25 minutes before their comeback attempt fell short. No. 17 North Park (16-3-0) and No. 23 Lynchburg (13-2-2), who missed out on the NCAA tournament, remain ranked but fall eight and sevens spots, respectively. Penn State-Behrend's unexpected run to the Sweet 16 wasn't quite enough for them to get ranked. After beating then-ranked Lycoming and host John Carroll, the Lions were still tied 1-1 with Calvin in the 70th minute of their Sweet 16 encounter before being overwhelmed.
|December 4, 2018
Through games of Sunday, December 2, 2018