Right mix fuels biggest step for Hopkins

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

May 12, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

In the past couple of years, Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker went into each season predicting that her team would break into the upper echelon of Division I women's lacrosse.

Although the breakthrough took a little longer than Tucker would have liked, it still didn't take that long.

Six years after the Blue Jays made the leap from Division III to Division I, they earned their first trip to the NCAA Division I tournament.

"It's a combination of some very talented young players - freshmen and sophomores - who have come into the program, and the upperclassmen, who are finally getting a taste of what it means to make the tournament as we've inched closer and closer," Tucker said.

"This year, the girls became a little more confident that they could hang with these better teams."

One of those freshmen, St. Mary's graduate Mary Key, with 59 goals and 19 assists, leads an attack that reflects that melding of classes. Senior Heidi Pearce is second in scoring with 38 goals and 17 assists, followed by junior Erin Riordan (19, 14) and sophomore Liberty graduate Meagan Voight (23, 2).

The Blue Jays, who travel to meet No. 7 James Madison tomorrow, are looking to recover from losing their final two games, to No. 11 Northwestern, 15-8, and No. 18 Penn State, 12-9.

"We kind of felt we let ourselves down at the end of the season with a couple losses in game we thought we should have won," Key said. "We wanted another chance to prove ourselves."

Giving thanks for Goetz

Salisbury has been one of the top-scoring Division III teams in the country, but when things aren't going the Sea Gulls' way, they usually can rely on goalie Ali Goetz to bail them out.

The Sea Gulls needed Goetz to save them in Sunday's national tournament quarterfinal. Gettysburg outshot the Sea Gulls, 43-21, but Goetz made 22 saves - 17 in the second half - to preserve an 8-5 victory and send Salisbury to the final four for only the second time in school history.

Goetz, a Fallston graduate, saved 17 of 22 shots in the second half. She also saved all eight free-position shots the Bullets put on goal.

"Ali's been playing phenomenally, just making big saves at big times in the game" said Salisbury coach Jim Nestor.

Heading into Saturday's national semifinal against The College of New Jersey, Goetz has a 5.95 goals-against average (fifth best in the nation) and a .622 save percentage.

Familiar scenario

Should No. 3 Maryland and No. 4 Loyola live up to their billings, they could find themselves facing familiar foes in the NCAA final four.

The Terrapins could draw No. 2 Virginia, the team they lost to, 9-8, in last season's semifinals and twice to this season, most recently in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Coach Cindy Timchal's Terps don't face an easy route to the final four.

They likely will get by first-round opponent Temple, a team they shelled, 26-6, in last year's tournament opener, but then they draw the Duke-Georgetown winner.

Maryland (14-4) lost to Duke, 9-7, in the second game of the season, but earned a surprisingly convincing, 13-8 win over the Hoyas in early April.

On the flip side of the bracket, Loyola (14-3) could meet two-time defending national champ Princeton in the semifinals. The Tigers beat the Greyhounds, 5-3, in last year's semifinals, and handled them, 9-5, in early March.

The Greyhounds would have to get past surging Vanderbilt today and the Johns Hopkins-James Madison winner on Saturday to reach the semifinals at Princeton May 21.

"It's a great draw for us," said Loyola coach Kerri Johnson. "Being No. 4, we're right where we should be, having lost to the top three teams. We are in Princeton's half of the draw, but you have to beat the top teams in order to win the whole thing."

Tournaments

(All times p.m. unless otherwise noted; *-approximate time)

Division I men

First round

Saturday Rutgers (8-5) at Princeton (9-3), noon Ohio State (12-3) at North Carolina (9-4), 1 Providence (9-7) at Johns Hopkins (11-1), 1 Hobart (9-6) at Cornell (8-4), 2 Army (10-4) at Maryland (12-2), 7:30 Sunday Penn (7-6) at Navy (12-2), noon Albany (10-5) at Syracuse (11-2), 1 Towson (11-4) at Georgetown (10-3), 1

Quarterfinals

May 22 At Charlottesville, Va. Army/Maryland winner vs. Rutgers/Princeton winner, noon or 3 Providence/Johns Hopkins winner vs. Ohio State/UNC winner, noon or 3 May 23 At Ithaca, N.Y. Hobart/Cornell winner vs. Penn/Navy winner, noon or 3 Towson/G'town winner vs. Albany/Syracuse winner, noon or 3

May 29 semifinals

At M&T Bank Stadium Providence/JHU-Ohio State/UNC winner vs. Towson/G'town-Albany/Syracuse winner, 11:30 a.m. or 2 Army/Maryland-Rutgers/Princeton winner vs. Hobart/Cornell-Penn/Navy winner, 11:30 a.m. or 2

May 31 final

At M&T Bank Stadium Semifinal winners, 2:30

Division II men

May 22 semifinals

NYIT (11-1) at LeMoyne (14-0), 1 Mercyhurst (11-1) at Limestone (14-1), 1

May 30 final

At M&T Bank Stadium Semifinal winners, 3

Division III men

Today's first round

Endicott (12-6) at Geneseo State (10-4), 4

Second round

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