Maryland, Loyola really want to get home

Both teams contending for top-4 seeds in NCAAs

Women's notebook

May 06, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Maryland's women's lacrosse team likely earned more than bragging rights with Sunday afternoon's victory at Loyola.

The 12-7 win probably helped the Terrapins clinch one of four seeded spots for the NCAA Division I tournament, which begins next Thursday. Each of the top four teams retains home-field advantage through the first two rounds, before the tournament moves to Princeton, N.J., for the semifinals and finals on May 21 and 23.

In this week's coaches poll, the Terps and Loyola switched places. The Terps (13-4) moved up to a more secure No. 3 while the Greyhounds (13-3) dropped to No. 4.

Both were final four teams last year, and both could yet lock up top-four seeds by winning their season finales - Loyola vs. No. 15 Syracuse on Saturday and Maryland vs. No. 20 George Mason on Sunday.

Maryland coach Cindy Timchal said, provided the Terps beat George Mason, the win over Loyola should ensure them a top-four seed when the pairings are announced by the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Committee on Sunday night.

"Loyola had two respectable losses - one to the undefeated No. 1 team, Princeton [9-5] and one to the No. 2 team, Virginia, by a goal - so to come in here and make a statement was huge for us. I feel like we should be in the top four, but I don't know what the committee would feel," said Timchal, who has guided the Terps to 12 final fours and eight NCAA titles.

Two-time defending champion Princeton, which escaped with a 5-4 victory over Brown on Saturday, completed its first unbeaten regular season at 16-0 and is a lock for the top-seeded spot. Virginia, the Atlantic Coast Conference champion that has beaten Maryland twice this season, finished 15-3 and should be seeded second.

Tigers double win total

Towson's season came up a little short in the end, but losing in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals could not overshadow the turnaround orchestrated by first-year coach Missy Holmes, the CAA Coach of the Year.

The Tigers (14-4) not only posted their first winning record in seven years, they also set a school record for most wins in a season, doubling their total from last year's 7-9 finish.

Under Holmes, a former Maryland player who spent three years as a Princeton assistant, the Tigers went 6-1 in the CAA regular season. They had hoped to earn an NCAA tournament bid by winning the CAA tournament. Instead, they fell to William and Mary in the semifinals, dropping to No. 19 in this week's coaches poll and falling from tournament contention.

Goalie Jessica O'Connell finished fifth on the Tigers' career list for saves with 578. Sophomore Becky Trumbo (Liberty), last season's CAA Rookie of the Year and a first-team selection this season, already ranks eighth on the Tigers' career goal-scoring list with 84.

Gulls, Seahawks in hunt

Salisbury and St. Mary's advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament as expected when the pairings were announced Sunday. The Sea Gulls are ranked No. 4 nationally behind defending champion Middlebury, No. 2 College of New Jersey and No. 3 Amherst. St. Mary's is ranked sixth.

After winning its fourth Capital Athletic Conference championship in five years, Salisbury will serve as one of four regional hosts for the first two rounds of the tournament this weekend. The Sea Gulls (14-2) have won nine straight games and will meet Cabrini (14-4) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The winner will advance to Sunday's quarterfinal.

St. Mary's takes to the road for its early-round games, facing Colorado College at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at The College of New Jersey. The Seahawks (12-4) have beaten Colorado (12-1) in their past two meetings.

Sunday's winners will advance to the final four May 15 and 16 at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y.

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