Towson State lacrosse coach Carl Runk was tickled when h heard the news, even though his team drew Virginia in the first round.
"We're ecstatic, totally pleased. Last year at this time, we were totally despondent," said Runk, whose team did not receive a bid in 1990 after an 11-2 season.
Towson State (9-3) was one of 12 teams, including four from the Baltimore area, that were chosen yesterday to play in the ZTC National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's tournament. The tournament will begin Wednesday and end with the championship game in Syracuse, N.Y., May 27.
As expected, North Carolina and Brown, with 13-0 records, were the two top-seeded teams. Johns Hopkins (8-3) was the fourth seed and will receive a first-round bye along with North Carolina, Brown and Princeton (12-2), which was No. 3.
Maryland (8-4) drew one of the best positions in the field as the No. 7 seed, and Loyola (8-3) was seeded No. 8. Towson drew the No. 11 position and will travel to Virginia (10-3) Wednesday.
The Cavaliers were a preseason pick for the final four, and some coaches have said Virginia has the most overall talent in the country.
"People have already asked me how I feel about playing Virginia," Runk said. "It doesn't matter. We're just glad to get in. We lost three games this season, and they were to great teams. I think we deserved to get in."
Towson, Duke, Cornell and Rutgers were challenging for the 10th and 11th positions. The final position was automatic for the Midwest representative, which is Michigan State.
Dave Urick, selection committee chairman, said the decision on the 11th spot took more than 2 1/2 hours. Rutgers (7-5) ended up as the No. 10 seed.
"Rutgers led because of its strength of schedule," he said. "It wasn't close between them and Towson State. We liked Towson State over Duke and Cornell, but it was a close and tough call.
"Towson's losses were all to tournament teams and highly regarded teams," said Urick, referring to losses to Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Loyola. "They had a win over Navy, a tough schedule and the fact that their schedule was all Division I."
Urick said Duke had wins over Hampden-Sydney and Roanoke.
There also was a lot of debate over the No. 7 position between Loyola and Maryland, two teams that did not meet this season.
Several coaches had coveted the No. 7 position because if their team got through the first round, the next opponent would be Brown. Even though Brown is seeded No. 2, the Bears have played a relatively easy schedule, with Princeton and Loyola the toughest opponents.
Maryland was given the No. 7 position primarily because it was 5-3 against teams in the tournament, compared with Loyola's 3-3. Another big factor was that Maryland beat Duke during the regular season, but the Blue Devils upset Loyola.
Maryland will play host to Rutgers Wednesday at Denton Field, while Loyola plays No. 9 Massachusetts (9-3). If the Greyhounds beat Massachusetts, they would get North Carolina in the second round.
"We were hoping for the seventh seed," said Loyola coach Dave Cottle, whose team lost to Brown this season. "We ended up just one game away. But it doesn't matter now, we've got a tough row to hoe."
There's a good chance Johns Hopkins could face three-time defending champion Syracuse (10-2) in the second round. The Orangemen will play Michigan State (10-4) in the opening round, and next up would be the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays beat Syracuse, 18-12, this season, but the Orangemen are considered by some to be playing the best lacrosse in the country.