Loyola women find beating No. 1 isn't good enough

The Inside Stuff

May 05, 1992|By Bill Tanton

In the athletic department at Loyola College yesterday, there was great anguish over the seedings for the upcoming NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament.

Not over the Loyola men's team, mind you -- over the women's.

Coach Dave Cottle's men finished their regular season 8-3 and are seeded No. 7 in the NCAA tournament. They'll play No. 10 Brown here Saturday.

But Diane Aikens, coach of the Loyola women, was upset after being told by the NCAA that her 11-4 Lady Greyhounds had been left out of the six-team field.

The announcement came as a shock to Loyola. Aikens' women beat the No. 1 team in the nation, Harvard, this year, 10-9. Last week Loyola played No. 2 Maryland and lost a 13-12 squeaker.

But the Hounds' season is over. For them, there will be no second season.

Going to the NCAAs are Harvard, Maryland, Penn State, Virginia, Princeton and Temple. Temple is the one that Loyola feels doesn't belong.

"Temple and our team finished with the same record," Aikens said, "but look at the comparative scores.

"Temple lost to Harvard by 11 goals, 15-4. We beat Harvard. Temple lost to Maryland, 9-1. Maryland only beat us by a goal. Temple even lost to an unranked team, Penn, by a 10-3

score. The only team in the field that lost to an unranked team was Temple."

A week ago, before the one-goal loss to Maryland, Loyola was ranked No. 4.

"It comes down to this," said Aikens. "I know we're one of the top six teams in the country. And look what they've got going to the tournament -- the same old crowd."

Actually, Loyola has been to the tournament three times. In 1990, the Lady Greyhounds went to the Final Four. In addition to Harvard and Maryland this year, Loyola was beaten by Virginia (11-9) and by William & Mary in a split of two games between the schools.

"I've just got to win a little bit more next year," Aikens said, "and take the decision out of the committee's hands. We lose three starters, but we have some good talent coming back."

Loyola's men will start tournament play against a Brown team it already has beaten, 17-12. If the Hounds win Saturday, they'll go to Chapel Hill the following weekend to play second seed North Carolina. Loyola beat Carolina here in March.

"We didn't lose a home game this year," said Cottle, whose team dropped three straight at midseason to Syracuse, Towson State and Duke.

"What we need to do in the playoffs is generate some offense. We only scored seven goals in beating Carolina. We have two outstanding attackmen in Jimmy Blanding and Kevin Beach. If they score like they're capable of scoring in the playoffs, we can go a long way. If they don't, we're going to have a hard time."

Cottle feels that No. 6 Maryland should have been ranked higher. says it's "a shame" that Duke (No. 11) has to play Maryland three times this year -- regular season, ACC tourney, and Saturday at College Park in the NCAAs. Maryland's two wins over the Blue Devils have been by a total of three goals.

Nobody seems to object to the top two men's seeds -- No. 1 Syracuse (11-1) and North Carolina (11-2). Some -- but not Cottle -- have questioned Princeton's being seeded No. 3.

"Princeton didn't do anything wrong," Cottle said. "Everybody else below Princeton lost some games they weren't expected to lose."

* Historical note on the Towson State-Johns Hopkins lacrosse series. Hopkins has beaten the Tigers 15 times. Towson has beaten Hopkins only twice, last Saturday, 14-13, and in a 9-8 double-overtime game in 1989. In both Towson victories, the winning goal was assisted by John Blatchley, now a senior attackman.

Blatchley fed Glenn Smith the first time, and Joe Genovese last week. That desperation goal with one second left has been compared to Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass to give Boston College a football win over Miami in 1984.

Towson State, seeded No. 4 in the NCAAs, has a first-round bye this weekend. That should help Blatchley, who's playing with bruised ribs.

* Drew Forrester, vice president of operations for the Blast, could be president of the Fred Funk Fan Club. Which means Drew is one happy golf fan this week after the win in the Shell Houston Open by the former University of Maryland coach.

"When you go from assistant pro at College Park to winning $216,000 last Sunday and earning a spot in next year's Masters," says Forrester, "you've done something.

"Fred didn't beat a bunch of nobodies either. Fred Couples, Davis Love, Payne Stewart and Curtis Strange were in the field."

What I liked was that Funk's fellow touring pros seemed happy to see Fred win one.

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