The Washington Times - April 12, 2009, 09:42AM

Filling out my Inside Lacrosse ballot this week was not an easy chore.

First of all, No. 1 lost after a series of near-misses. But Virginia was 12-0 before its loss at Duke, and still owns some nice victories.

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Meanwhile, No. 2 Princeton narrowly avoided losses to Penn and Harvard this week. And No. 3 Syracuse has already lost to both Virginia and Princeton.

So 1-2-3 remain the same, based on the assumption the orange-hued elite will be able to figure things out amongst themselves down the road.

After that, there’s a dozen capable teams, and then a next tier. There is a line of demarcation somewhere – probably between 15 and 17 at this stage.

The team that’s probably the most curious one floating around now is Duke, which has won seven of eight since a 2-2 start and is clearly playing exceptionally well after throttling Virginia yesterday. It should be curious to see how much the Blue Devils jump in the IL poll – and just how close they are to chasing down a top-four seed at this stage.

Onto the ballot:

1. Virginia (12-1)
2. Princeton (10-1)
3. Syracuse (9-2)
4. Notre Dame (10-0)
5. Duke (9-3)
6. UMBC (9-2)
7. Cornell (8-2)
8. Johns Hopkins (5-4)
9. Hofstra (9-1)
10. Navy (9-3)
11. North Carolina (9-4)
12. Maryland (6-5)
13. Loyola (7-4)
14. Colgate (9-3)
15. Massachusetts (7-3)
16. Brown (9-2)
17. Harvard (5-4)
18. Albany (6-4)
19. Georgetown (5-6)
20. Penn State (6-5)

21. Bucknell (7-6)
22. Bryant (8-5)
23. Stony Brook (6-4)
24. Ohio State (6-5)
25. Army (5-7)

Patrick Stevens