Maryland picks right time for surprise, avoiding ACC play-in game

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 21, 2005|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

With its win over North Carolina on Saturday, Maryland not only pulled off its first upset of the season, but secured the third seed in next week's Atlantic Coast Conference women's tournament.

A loss would have sent the Terps to the tournament's first-ever play-in game against ACC newcomer Virginia Tech. Instead, Maryland will meet Virginia in the semifinals April 29 at M&T Bank Stadium, while North Carolina plays Virginia Tech in the play-in game April 28.

The 14-7 win over then-No. 6 North Carolina boosted the Terps to No. 7 in the latest Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll, which matches their highest ranking of the season.

The Terps have suffered some tough losses, including 13-12 to No. 10 Penn State and 8-6 to No. 8 Georgetown, but back-to-back wins over No. 11 Johns Hopkins and North Carolina just might mean Maryland is finally turning the proverbial corner that coach Cindy Timchal has been talking about for a while.

"Our season has been kind of a journey," Timchal said. "It's good that we had tough games, games that we felt put our season on the line. After coming up short with a couple teams that we normally take care of, it was good to see us respond and step up when it really counted."

Going straight to the semifinals gives the Terps (9-5) more time to prepare for one of their toughest rivals, No. 5 Virginia, the defending national champion that beat the Terps, 15-8, in Charlottesville on March 8.

"On the one hand, getting the ACC jitters out of the way [in the play-in game] might help your team," said Timchal, "but Virginia is a tough game to prepare for, so it's good that we know this is what's in front of us."

What's directly in front of the Terps, however, is Sunday's home game against No. 13 Syracuse (9-3), a team that has never beaten Maryland.

Paul bounces back

When Jocelyn Paul had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her left knee last November, California coach Jill Malko didn't expect the sophomore midfielder back until at least mid-March.

The Towson High graduate didn't wait that long. A lot of hard work in rehab brought Paul back for the start of the season.

Because of the injury, Malko said she has kept the 5-foot-11 Paul on the attacking end to limit wear on the knee. Paul has responded with 23 goals and 11 assists, ranking third in scoring for the Golden Bears (9-6). In an 11-9 upset of then-No. 14 Ohio State earlier this month, she had four goals and an assist.

"She has so many gifts," said Malko. "We have a lot of good attackers, but Jocelyn has the best placement. She can put that ball wherever she wants. Now that strength and explosiveness is back, and that's allowing her to get open and to get her power back."

Eder boosts Hofstra

Hofstra clinched the top seed for the Colonial Athletic Association tournament with a 12-10 win over George Mason on Sunday, thanks in part to a career day from defender Bridget Eder (Mount de Sales).

In addition to scoring her third goal of the season, the senior caused nine turnovers and won four draw controls and three ground balls.

The No. 12 Pride will play No. 17 Delaware in one CAA tournament semifinal April 30, while No. 16 Towson will meet George Mason in the other semifinal.

Quick hits

George Washington sophomore Laura Hostetler (River Hill) broke the school record for career scoring with her 126th point. ... Katie Chrest (Maryvale) set a school record for goals in a game with seven in No. 2 Duke's 14-10 win at Loyola on Saturday. ... George Washington freshman goalie Caitlin Garman (Friends) leads Division I with a 6.10 goals-against average, while Towson's Mandy Corry is tops in save percentage (.602). ... Big East Player of the Week Monica Joines (North Harford) leads No. 13 Syracuse with 32 goals. ... Johns Hopkins' Mary Key (St. Mary's) ranks second in Division I in points per game, averaging 5.09. ... Maryland's Delia Cox shared ACC Player of the Week honors with Chrest after recording four goals and an assist against Carolina.

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