Lax Winning Streak Piques Interest

The DU men’s lacrosse team recently extended their winning streak to an impressive 20 games (National Championship included). This streak begs the question: where does this rank among other notable NCAA winning streaks?

In Basketball, UCLA reeled off 88 straight games during the John Wooden era. UConn women’s basketball won 90 in a row to break UCLA’s overall basketball record. Stanford beat the Huskies in December of 2010 to end the impressive streak. The Oklahoma Sooners ripped off a 47 game winning streak in football (1953-57).  Less-remembered though still incredible is North Carolina’s women’s soccer unbeaten (ties included) streak of 103 games from September 30, 1986 to September 17, 1990. Penn State women’s volleyball won 109 straight games from  Sept. 21, 2007 to Sept. 10, 2010. Trinity (Conn.) College reeled off 252 consecutive wins in squash from 1998-2012 – the longest winning streak in varsity collegiate sport. Their run included a whopping 13 national championships.

Lacrosse records are more difficult to follow because most of its rich history came before it become a D1 NCAA sport in 1971 (the “modern era”). While Johns Hopkins has won 44 championships, just nine of those came after 1971. Syracuse actually has more championships (10) in the modern era. Princeton has 6 while Virginia has 5.There have been 13 undefeated national champs in the modern era. Three teams have gone two straight seasons without a loss: 1976-77 – Cornell- 16-0/13-0 = 29. 1981-82 – North Carolina – 12-0/14-0 = 26. The strangest ‘streak’ is Syracuse three-year National Championship streak (’88, ’89, ’90), with the middle year’s championship revoked (1989: 14-1), due to NCAA rules violations. So, they show as undefeated in 1988 (15-0) and 1990 (13-0) with no championship awarded in 1989.

Salisbury University (Division III) lacrosse had a 105-game conference winning streak and enjoyed 5 perfect seasons from 2004-2008. They  strung together an 87 game regular season winning streak  (4/17/03-3/28/09) during this stretch of lax excellence.

Earlier this month, the Onondaga Community College men’s lacrosse team lost at Nassau Community College. That loss snapped an OCC winning streak of 107 games, a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) record established during their 7-time national championship run.

Despite some of these gaudy records, DU’s success this year has been impressive against some of the country’s best collegiate lacrosse programs.

While winning streaks are interesting to follow, conference championships and national championships will always be the gold standard for measuring a team’s excellence and DU is well on its way to establishing itself as the current gold standard in collegiate lacrosse.