Destination College Lacrosse

April 26, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

THE WEEK AHEAD

No. 3 MARYLAND (8-3)

The schedule -- Vs. North Carolina, Friday, 8 p.m.; vs. No. 1 Virginia, Sunday, 3:30 p.m. (if necessary).

The skinny -- In this year's three-team Atlantic Coast Conference tournament format, North Carolina (4-9) has nothing but pride to play for once again at M&T Bank Stadium. The Terps struggled offensively but still eased away to a 9-6 victory over the Tar Heels last month. Maryland is riding a two-game winning streak behind its great defense and is running better offense. And the Terps are getting a needed spark from senior midfielder Bill McGlone. They'll need more than Joe Walters and Xander Ritz to win this tournament.

Co-No. 6 NAVY (9-3)

The schedule -- Vs. Lehigh, Friday, 7 p.m.; vs. Colgate-Army winner, Sunday, noon (if necessary).

The skinny -- Following Saturday's loss to Johns Hopkins, if Navy is going to have a chance at a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, it needs to win this weekend's Patriot League tournament in Hamilton, N.Y. Navy has lost once in 24 tries against Lehigh, so the Mids could get a chance to avenge last month's 6-3 upset at Colgate, the top seed. Watch Taylor Harris this weekend. The senior backup already has started in place of poor-shooting junior attackman Ian Dingman once. Harris has scored 11 goals on sizzling 64.7 percent shooting.

Co-No. 6 JOHNS HOPKINS (6-4)

The schedule -- Vs. No. 12 Towson, Saturday, 2 p.m.

The skinny -- Hopkins has beaten the Tigers 10 straight times, leads the series, 30-3, and is coming off its biggest win of the season at Navy. But this shapes up as a stiff challenge. Towson has played solid lacrosse for the past month and is going into Homewood with much confidence. Hopkins is a more dangerous offense now that sophomore midfielder Stephen Peyser is back, and freshman attackman Tom Duerr is getting more comfortable.

No. 12 TOWSON (8-4)

The schedule -- At No. 6 Johns Hopkins, Saturday, 2 p.m.; vs. No. 3 seed, CAA tournament, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny -- The Tigers pushed a superior Hopkins team to the limit a year ago by going against their preferred style and playing a slow-down, ball-control brand of lacrosse. Will they do it again in a game that looks more winnable? The Tigers are 6-1 in their last seven games and have locked up the No. 2 in next week's Colonial Athletic Association. An upset at Hopkins not only would thrill Tigers coach and former Blue Jays coach Tony Seaman, it also would clinch an at-large NCAA tournament berth.

No. 13 UMBC (7-4)

The schedule -- Vs. No. 19 Stony Brook, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny -- The Retrievers have done so much right lately. Now, it's time to take down their nemesis and earn the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout next week's America East tournament. In three years since joining the league, UMBC has never beaten Stony Brook, while going 13-2 against the rest of the league.

No. 20 LOYOLA (5-5)

The schedule -- At Hobart, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The skinny -- As uplifting as its upset of then second-ranked Georgetown was 11 days ago, Saturday's 13-12 loss at Fairfield was equally damaging to the Greyhounds, who are trying to make their first NCAA tournament since 2001. Loyola probably needs to beat Johns Hopkins on May 6 to get in, but a loss at Hobart and the Greyhounds are 1-5 on the road would make a Hopkins victory an absolute must.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S (5-7)

The schedule -- At St. Joseph's, today, 7 p.m.; at Providence, Saturday, 7 p.m.

The skinny -- After sitting out last year for health reasons, coach Tom Gravante has the Mount sitting atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings with a 5-1 record. The Mount leads four other teams by no more than a game in a tight conference race, and it might need to win out this week to secure the No. 1 seed in next weekend's MAAC tournament, which yields an NCAA tournament automatic qualifier.

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