Final Four Foes
Of Middlebury’s fellow 2018 NCAA Final Four contenders — Tufts University, Rowan University, and Johns Hopkins University — only Tufts was ranked in the preseason poll. The Jumbos started at No. 8, but quickly shot up to No. 3 where they remained for five weeks before finishing at No. 4.
Johns Hopkins and Rowan debuted on the poll in week one at No. 17 and No. 15, respectively. Hopkins had a breakout year under second-year head coach, Jane Wells — the Blue Jays finished 19-3, earning a Centennial Conference Championship, and a program-first appearance in the NCAA semifinals.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference Champions, Rowan, moved steadily up the poll, climbing each week until they settled at the No. 3 spot in week seven. Until meeting Middlebury in the NCAA semifinals, the Profs were undefeated, posting 22 victories in a row and claiming their program’s record for wins in a single season.
Vassar College — claiming Liberty League regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in program history — made the biggest move in the 2018 polls, climbing 15 spots from No. 20 in week one to No. 5 in week nine.