What Are the Best Lacrosse Colleges You Can Enroll in 2023?

Lacrosse Runner is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Are you a high schooler looking to pursue an athletic scholarship for the lacrosse team?

Many excellent universities and colleges in the U.S. offer impressive lacrosse team programs. However, deciding which college or university you should attend can be overwhelming, especially when there is so much choice within this highly competitive sport.

This blog post will look at the best lacrosse colleges of 2023 and what makes each school stand out from its competitors.

With all of these considerations in mind, narrowing down your list to find the perfect fit for your lacrosse journey will be easier!


Take Away Key Points:

  • Look for schools with a strong history of success and multiple NCAA National championships.
  • Check out the roster of current players and coaches at each school and their individual records - this will help you get an idea of who the team is heading into the season.
  • Look for schools with the experienced coaching staff and sophisticated facilities.

College Lacrosse Levels of Competition

College lacrosse offers a range of competitive levels synonymous with different divisions. Division I, Division II, Division III, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) all offer competitive pathways for individuals looking to compete at a collegiate level.

Finally, the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), an umbrella entity for non-varsity or club-level teams competing in regional and national tournaments, rounds out the available options for committed lacrosse players.

These divisions are designed to equip student-athletes with ample opportunities to develop personal character and achieve their maximum athletic potential in varying competitive environments.

which college has the best lacrosse team

Best NCAA Division I: Best Lacrosse University USA

At the highest level, there is Division I college lacrosse which consists of many NCAA Division I-only teams and some conferences that sponsor multiple divisions and allow DI and DII schools to compete against one another.

Men's lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., and most universities now have Division I lacrosse teams that compete at the highest level.

There are currently 70 schools with men's lacrosse teams and over 80 schools with women's lacrosse teams in Division I.

The top ten Division I best colleges in the U.S. are:

1. Duke University 

2. Princeton University

3. Syracuse University 

4. Johns Hopkins University- Blue Jays

5. Rutgers University 

6. Army West Point

7. University of Virginia 

8. University of Notre Dame

9. Ohio State University

10. Northwestern University

Division II (Top 10 Lacrosse Schools)

Division II lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing college sports in the U.S., with 70 men's lacrosse schools currently competing at the Division II level.

While there are fewer teams than Division I, the Division II teams still compete for championships and provide their players with excellent opportunities to learn the game and develop their skills.

These schools offer some of the most competitive play in Division II lacrosse and attract some of the best talents from around the country. Through rigorous practice and competition at this level, players can gain valuable experience that can be used later on at higher levels.

The top Division II best colleges in the U.S. are:

1. University of Tampa 

2. Le Moyne College 

3. Mercyhurst University 

4. Dowling College 

5. Limestone College 

6. Adelphi University 

7. Newberry College 

8. Queens University of Charlotte 

9. Seton Hill University 

10. Lake Erie College

Division III (Top 15 Lacrosse Schools)

Division III lacrosse is one of the most competitive levels of collegiate men's lacrosse teams. It is composed of over 200 schools from around the country, with many teams competing for championships regularly.

Division III schools are known for their intense competition and for being great incubators for future professional and elite-level players.

These colleges are highly coveted by players looking to develop their skills while still receiving an excellent education.

Division 3 colleges provide the most opportunities to play for a men's lacrosse team beyond the Northeast region, with programs located in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and other regions of the Midwest and South.

Although Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships, they do not lack talent. The majority of NCAA lacrosse teams are made up of Division 3 players.

The top 15 Division III best colleges are:

1. Salisbury University 

2. Dickinson College

3. Tufts University

4. Lynchburg College

5. Middlebury College

6. Amherst College

7. Roanoke College

8. RIT

9. Gettysburg College

10. Wesleyan University

11. Denison University

12. Hampden-Sydney College

13. Cabrini University

14. Stevens Institute of Technology

15. Mary Washington

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

what is the best college lacrosse team

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is a college athletic association that allows student-athletes from affiliated colleges and universities to compete in sports.

The NAIA is one of the oldest intercollegiate athletics governing bodies in the United States. The NAIA offers a wide range of sports for its student-athletes, including football, baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, and men's lacrosse – among many others.

The NAIA also provides educational opportunities for athletes through its academic achievement awards program and scholarships for its members. Currently, the NAIA has 33 schools reserved for men's lacrosse. With over 300 schools and universities participating, the NAIA continues to provide students with an opportunity to excel athletically and academically.

The top 15 NAIA best colleges for lacrosse are:

1. Lindenwood University

2. Reinhardt University

3. Missouri Baptist University

4. Bethesda University Of California

5. The Master's University

6. Sterling College

7. Ottawa University-Arizona

8. Webber International University

9. Davenport University

10. Concordia University-Ann Arbor

11. William Jessup University

12. Taylor University

13. Mount Vernon Nazarene University

14. Warner Pacific College

15. Benedictine

The Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA)

Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) lacrosse is an organization that offers college-level men's lacrosse competitions but is not connected to the NCAA.

The MCLA mostly comprises club teams from universities without varsity programs. While these teams may not have the same competitiveness and resources as NCAA squads, they still present chances for students to participate in college men's lacrosse.

Notable MCLA teams include Texas, West Virginia, Clemson, Stanford, and Boston College.

The Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) oversees competitions between club teams on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, allowing students to continue playing once they finish their undergraduate curriculum.

The Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) is an organization that governs the sport of men's lacrosse at the collegiate level. The MCLA provides high-level competition for college athletes looking to compete beyond the high school and club levels.

Whether at the upper echelon or within one of the three other divisions, men's college lacrosse remains an exhilarating option for those looking to further their education while competing in athletics.

The top 10 best colleges and teams in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) are:

1. Arizona State University

2. Brigham Young University

3. Colorado State University

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

5. Grand Canyon University

6. Liberty University Flames

7. Michigan Wolverines

8. University of Pennsylvania-University Park

9. Stanford Cardinal

10. Texas Longhorns

The Big 10 Lacrosse Schools

1. Princeton

Princeton University is renowned for its excellence in academics and athletics. Under the guidance of Bill Tierney, the Princeton Tigers won six NCAA championships from 1988-1998, including three consecutive titles from 1996-1998.

The school's lacrosse program is no exception – Princeton is an Ivy league school that offers one of the country's most competitive and sought-after collegiate lacrosse experiences.

Additionally, an impressive defense came into its own throughout the late '90s. Despite formidable competition in each round, Princeton ultimately prevailed against Towson, Syracuse, and Virginia in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before blowing out Maryland 19-7 in 1997 and 15-5 in 1998 to complete their perfect season.

Princeton continues to be a powerhouse in college lacrosse, with a top-level coaching staff, excellent facilities, and a passionate fan base.

what are the best d1 lacrosse schools

2. Hobart

The Hobart College lacrosse programs are among the most successful and storied in NCAA history. Founded in 1890, the Statesmen have amassed 8 NCAA Division I national championships and been crowned Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) champions 25 times.

The lacrosse programs are known for submitting teams to the NCAA tournament most years and consistently producing teams capable of making deep runs into post-season play.

From 1980 to 1994, the Hobart Statesmen created a lacrosse dynasty that has yet to be surpassed in any sport. They won twelve consecutive DIII national championships from 1980-1991 before claiming victory in 1993 and reaching the final four in 1992 and the championship game in 1994.

Led by Dave Urick and B.J. O'Hara, Hobart was an unstoppable force during their reign as NCAA champions. It will likely go down in history as one of the most impressive dynasties ever seen by college athletics.

3. Johns Hopkins

The Johns Hopkins lacrosse programs boast an impressive roster of NCAA tournament appearances, championship wins, and alumni who have become some of the most influential sports figures.

From 1978 to 1980, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays became the first team to complete a remarkable three-peat in NCAA lacrosse history.

Despite losing the fourth championship game against North Carolina in 1981, Johns Hopkins had a tremendous run during those three years with an incredible 40-2 overall record - including an undefeated 13-0 season in 1979.

Highlighted by legendary coaches like Henry Ciccarone and Dave Pietramala, who have led the Blue Jays to 15 national title awards between them, John Hopkins University continues to be a powerhouse university for lacrosse players and fans alike.

4. Navy

With a proud tradition of excellence in lacrosse, Navy University boasts one of the most successful programs in NCAA history.

From its first championship win in 1974 to more recently, the Midshipmen have earned seven national titles and have consistently been ranked near the top of Division 1 lacrosse.

Its alumni roster consists of some of the sport's most influential individuals, such as Bill Tierney, who led the Navy to two national championships during his tenure.

5. Duke University

With an impressive legacy of championship-caliber lacrosse, Duke University has become a powerhouse in NCAA Division 1 play.

With five national championships under its belt, the Blue Devils have been a significant force in collegiate lacrosse for many years.

Since 2010, the Blue Devils have gone to the final four of the tournament seven out of nine times - most recently winning it all in 2018 - exhibiting their dominance on the field.

Notable alumni include Matt Danowski and Ned Crotty, who have been inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and helped lead Duke to some of its most memorable victories.

As one of the premier college lacrosse programs in the nation, Duke continues to set an example for what it takes to be an elite team year after year.

6. Maryland

With an impressive and storied history of NCAA lacrosse, the Maryland Terrapins have consistently been a juggernaut in the sport.

With three national championships in 2001, 2005, and 2017 as well as numerous regular season wins, the Terps are one of the most successful programs in Division 1.

Boasting an impressive roster of alumni such as Joe Walters, Ryan Cranston, and Matt Rambo, who have all gone on to successful professional careers, Maryland is a program that consistently produces top talent.

On top of their on-field success, Maryland has also produced individual Tewaaraton Award winners eight times since its inception in 2001, more than any other program.

The Maryland Terrapins remain a top NCAA lacrosse program with loads of championship pedigree and tradition.

7. Syracuse

With an impressive legacy of success in NCAA lacrosse, Syracuse University has cemented itself as one of the premier programs in Division 1.

With eleven national championships and numerous regular season wins, the Orange have been a consistent force in collegiate lacrosse for decades.

Notable alumni include Gary Gait, Roy Simmons Jr., and Paul Carcaterra - all former or current National Lacrosse Hall of Fame members whose feats on and off the field have profoundly influenced the game of lacrosse.

8. Cornell

With one of the longest and most storied histories of NCAA lacrosse, Cornell University stands out as a premier Division 1 program.

With five national championships, the Big Red has consistently been a top finisher in college lacrosse since its inaugural season in 1896.

Notable alumni include Rob Pannell, Mitch Belisle, and Mike French, who have all gone on to successful professional careers and are members of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

On top of producing some of the best players in the game, Cornell has also produced 19 individual Tewaaraton Award winners, more than any other school.

9. North Carolina

With an impressive history of success and NCAA championships, the University of North Carolina is a top-tier lacrosse program in Division 1.

The Tar Heels of North Carolina have nine national championships under their belt and countless regular season wins.

The North Carolina women's team also has a long history of excellence, most recently winning the national championship in 2016.

As one of the premier programs in college lacrosse, UNC continues to showcase why they're one of the best teams year after year.

10. Virginia

The Cavaliers have won an impressive six national championships and consistently finish at the top of their conference.

UVA has also produced a litany of individual award-winners and All-Americans over the years, making it one of the best teams in college lacrosse.

From their perennial success to their star-studded roster, the Cavaliers continue to be a force in NCAA lacrosse.


Who is the #1 lacrosse college?

According to the NCAA, Maryland-College Park is the best lacrosse college.

The school's men's division program has been incredibly successful since its inception, winning 17 NCAA championships, the most out of any college in the country.

The women's lacrosse team has also earned accolades, claiming nine NCAA national titles since 1981.

What state is best at lacrosse?

New York is a true lacrosse powerhouse, boasting top-tier teams at all levels of play.

The Long Island and Westchester County areas are mainly known for being rich in talent, but talented players from all over the state also enjoy high-level competition.

what are the best college lacrosse teams

What are the top 10 best women's lacrosse colleges?

The top 10 women's lacrosse colleges are:

1. University of Maryland

2. James Madison University

3. Northwestern University

4. Boston College

5. Syracuse University

6. North Carolina University At Chapel Hill

7. Penn State University

8. Duke University

9. Virginia Commonwealth University

10. Towson University

What are the best lacrosse colleges in California?

The best lacrosse colleges in California include the University of Southern California, Stanford University, the University of California Los Angeles, Chapman University, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. These schools all have successful men's and/or women's lacrosse programs that are highly ranked nationally.

Do colleges give full scholarships for lacrosse?

Yes, some colleges offer full lacrosse scholarships.

NCAA Division I and Division II schools generally provide full athletic scholarships for lacrosse players, while Division III schools do not provide scholarships. Scholarships can cover tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses related to the college experience.

Do colleges recruit for lacrosse?

Yes, many colleges and universities recruit athletic talent for their lacrosse teams.

NCAA Division I and II programs often actively recruit lacrosse players through camps and tournaments.

Some schools also offer recruiting visits to prospective players and may provide financial aid packages to attract top athletes.


In conclusion, lacrosse is a popular and competitive sport that requires great skill. Therefore, many colleges and universities offer full or partial scholarships for talented players.

Additionally, many schools actively recruit lacrosse players through camps and tournaments. With the proper knowledge, preparation, and hard work, aspiring athletes can find the college of their dreams with one of these scholarships in hand!

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here