There is a packed schedule of postseason playoff events in Baltimore this weekend.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference holds its fall championships at Morgan State, with the two-day volleyball tournament at Hill Field House beginning Friday at 10 a.m. The championship is expected to be played Saturday at 1 p.m.
The host Bears were a surprise last year, when they took Howard to a fifth game in the championship, and coach Ramona Riley's program has improved. Morgan State is seeded third this time, behind Howard and Florida A&M. UMES is seeded sixth and Coppin State last in the nine-team field.
Kim Spotswood, a sophomore from Waynesboro, Pa., was the MVP of the MEAC tournament last year, and the 5-foot-4 setter is having another big season for the Bears.
Also on Friday, the MEAC cross country championships will be held at Herring Run Park, with the women racing at noon and the men at 1 p.m. Coppin State is the defending team champion in both races, and the Eagles' Courtney Bennett and Felisha Harris are back to defend their individual titles.
There's one other championship cross country meet involving state schools this weekend. The Middle Atlantic Conference runs at Rose Tree Park in Media, Pa., Saturday.
Five of the state's seven Division I men's soccer teams are in conference tournaments.
UMBC and Towson State are home today for quarterfinal matches in the Big South Conference. The top-seeded Retrievers play Charleston Southern (3 p.m.), and Winthrop is at No. 3 Towson State (2 p.m.), which can give Frank Olszewski the 100th victory of his 10-year career.
The semifinals and championship will be held this weekend, at Winthrop.
Navy sees an omen in the Patriot League playoffs of a year ago, when it earned the No. 1 seed, but lost to Army in the semifinals. This time, the Cadets are the regular-season champion and the Mids are the fourth and final qualifier. Army is the site of this weekend's championships, and Army plays Navy in the semifinals Saturday.
Loyola is expected to make it four straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles at Curley Field this weekend, but the order is a little steeper for Maryland. The Terps are the seventh and last seed for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at North Carolina, and they play North Carolina State, tied for No. 3 in the ISAA rankings, in tomorrow's first round.
Salisbury State was kept out of the Division III tournament despite a school-record 13 victories, while Frostburg State is making its fourth straight appearance in the ECAC South playoffs.
Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field will be the site of one of the four regionals in the NCAA Division III field hockey tournament. In Saturday's first round, the host Blue Jays play Salisbury State (11 a.m.), followed by Franklin & Marshall vs. Eastern Mennonite. The winners come back Sunday for the NCAA quarterfinals.
Salisbury State (10-5-1) is making its ninth straight NCAA appearance, a streak second only to two-time defending champion Trenton State. The Sea Gulls beat Hopkins, 2-1, in overtime Sept. 29. The Blue Jays (11-3) have gotten a school-record 15 goals from Beth Cariello, a junior from Hudson, Ohio.
Junior college soccer
Essex Community College has the home-field advantage and the top women's seed for the NJCAA Region XX tournament, which begins today with two men's first-round games.
The men from Allegheny-Pittsburgh (15-1-2) and Essex (13-3-1) drew first-round byes and advance directly to Saturday's semifinals. The Essex women (13-0-1) will play in Sunday's championship (11 a.m.) against the winner of Friday's first-round game between Anne Arundel and Catonsville. The men's title game follows at 1:30 Sunday.
The UMBC women's soccer team doesn't expect a difficult time in the Big South Conference Invitational tournament it is host for this weekend, since it has outscored the other three participants 21-1. . . . Loyola will be home for the MAAC women's championship Sunday (11:30 a.m.) against Iona. . . . Maryland's field hockey team plays Duke Saturday in the semifinals of the ACC tournament, which will be held at Wake Forest. . . . Navy's water polo team will be host to the Eastern Championships this weekend.