Seeds to be planted based on geography

NCAA committee placing lesser priority on rankings

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

May 02, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When the NCAA women's lacrosse committee gathers Sunday to fill in the brackets for this month's national tournaments, location will take precedence over ranking.

After the committee seeds its top four teams, it will arrange the rest by trying to keep everyone as close to home as possible.

"With the 9/11 tragedy, the NCAA implemented these guidelines in the fall and winter and they carry over to spring," said Sue Scheetz, chair of the NCAA women's lacrosse committee and assistant athletic director at Penn State. "Because we only have 16 teams, we can only seed the top four and the others must be placed geographically."

The top four Division I seeds figure to be top-ranked Princeton, No. 2 Georgetown, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Virginia.

No. 5 Loyola qualified for the tournament as the Colonial Athletic Association champ, and UMBC is in, via the automatic bid as Northeast Conference champion. No. 7 Maryland, winner of the past seven titles, should get an at-large bid.

Where those teams end up in the bracket is anybody's guess, especially since the field is likely to be fairly evenly split between teams north and south of Maryland. Two teams not on the East Coast - No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 10 Vanderbilt - could make for some surprising pairings.

In Division III, No. 4 St. Mary's is likely to get a top-four berth, behind Middlebury, College of New Jersey and Amherst.

Ulehla leaving JMU

Jen Ulehla's resignation Friday after eight years as James Madison coach took most of the women's lacrosse world by surprise, but the Maryvale and Maryland graduate said there is nothing complicated about her decision to leave the Harrisonburg, Va., program.

"Everybody wants to know if there's an underlying meaning about this and there's not," she said. "It's just about where I am in my life and wanting a change."

Ulehla said she wanted to be closer to her brothers who live in the New York City area, so she plans to relocate farther north and seek a new coaching opportunity. She hopes to coach again at the Division I level.

At James Madison, Ulehla led the Dukes to six NCAA tournament appearances and three Colonial Athletic Association crowns.

"[Leaving] has nothing to do with this program," she said. "I love this program and the student-athletes and the support it receives. I'm just at a stage in my life where I need a new environment and a new challenge."

Retrievers honors

Not only did UMBC win the NEC championship and earn its first automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but the Retrievers swept postseason honors as well.

Jamie Gerhart, the top-scoring Retriever in UMBC's Division I era, was named NEC Player of the Year. The C. Milton Wright graduate has 172 points - 119 of them goals.

Stephanie Crouch (Fallston) came away as Rookie of the Year, the first Retriever so honored.

Monica Yeakel was named NEC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years.

Records fall

College of Notre Dame seniors Angela Ruocco (Loch Raven) and Erin Sturgis (Arundel) now have their own chapters in the Gators' record book.

Ruocco broke a 21-year-old record for most goals in a season. Her 71 goals bettered the mark (66) set by Lou Ann Jonske. Ruocco also holds career records for goals (245) and points (292).

Sturgis, who holds the career assist mark with 94, broke the single-season mark with 40, bettering the previous record of 37 set by Tinah Houck in 1995.

Not to be outdone, Gators coach Melissa Falen won the 100th game of her career in the season finale.

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