History on Loyola's side in CAA tournament bid

Greyhounds, Madison have taken title turns

Women's notebook

April 18, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

If it's an even-numbered year, it must be Loyola's turn to win the Colonial Athletic Association women's lacrosse tournament.

That's been the pattern since 1994. Last year, the Greyhounds were favored, but they lost, 6-5, to James Madison, which has beaten them in the final in each of the last three odd-numbered years.

The No. 5 Greyhounds (11-2, 8-0), who begin tournament action Saturday at 3 p.m. at Cary Street Field in Richmond, Va., are the top seed after a regular-season sweep. They open with the winner of tomorrow's game between William and Mary and George Mason.

No. 14 Old Dominion (12-4, 6-2) also earned a first-round bye, edging No. 11 James Madison for the second-seeded spot. The Dukes (7-8, 5-3) open with Hofstra tomorrow.

While Loyola likely could earn a bid to the NCAA tournament even without winning the tournament, the rest of the field is looking for the automatic bid that comes with the crown.

"Just because we're No. 1 [seeded], doesn't mean we're going to cruise," said Greyhounds coach Diane Geppi-Aikens. "Every single team that's there has a chance to win it. We just played Hofstra pretty close (10-7). George Mason, even though the score wasn't close (15-3), they're good. Every single game could be exciting."

A prime reason for the Greyhounds' superiority during the regular season has been their goalkeeping. Senior Tricia Dabrowski has the league's best goals-against average, 6.7, and best save percentage, .636.

Stacey Morlang, last year's CAA Player of the Year, ranks third in the league in scoring with 40 points, including 30 goals. Suzanne Eyler is sixth with 34 points, 27 on assists.

There is, however, one CAA pattern that the Greyhounds are looking to break. For the last three years, the team that won the regular-season meeting between Loyola and James Madison lost the tournament final.

Oh, so close

In its first season in the CAA, Towson's women's lacrosse team narrowly missed a berth in the tournament, which includes only six of the nine members.

The Tigers lost the final spot to Hofstra in a tiebreaker. Towson, Hofstra and Delaware all finished 3-5 in the league, but Delaware's loss to William and Mary and Hofstra's win over Towson combined to keep the Tigers at home this weekend.

Seahawks on a roll

St. Mary's comes into today's Capital Athletic Conference tournament as the top seed after completing its best regular season ever.

The Seahawks, who play host to Catholic in this afternoon's semifinals, have never before been 14-0, never before won the CAC regular season outright and never before been ranked as high as No. 4 in Division III.

All of those firsts come after a banner week in which the Seahawks defeated two of their biggest conference rivals, Goucher, 13-7, and Mary Washington, 12-11.

Against Mary Washington, which the Seahawks had never beaten during the regular season, St. Mary's squandered a three-goal lead, but Stacy Mann (Dulaney) scored her third goal of the game for the win.

Coach Robert Bray Jr.'s team has outscored the opposition, 214-78, thanks in large part to sophomore goalie Jen Chumley.

Chumley (Bel Air) has played every minute in the goal, allowing just 5.57 goals with a .656 save percentage.

With 53 goals and four assists, Meg McFall (Broadneck) leads a balanced attack, with five players contributing more than 40 points each.

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