Destination College Lacrosse

May 03, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

No. 4 MARYLAND (9-4)

THE WEEK AHEAD

The schedule -- vs. No. 10 Penn, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The skinny -- The Quakers, 2-11 a year ago, have won 10 games for the first time since 1988 and are perhaps the game's best turnaround story in 2006. They are in good shape to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Maryland senior attackman Joe Walters was held to one goal in two games at last weekend's ACC tournament, but midfielder Brendan Healy and Bill McGlone finally have come alive. Maryland, going for a top-four seed in the NCAAs, beat Penn last year by 15 goals.

No. 7 JOHNS HOPKINS (7-4)

The schedule -- at No. 18 Loyola, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The skinny -- The Blue Jays have secured their 35th straight tournament appearance, have won four of their past five and have momentum going into May, even though their clearing problems persist. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Peyser has given them a lift scoring and facing off since rejoining the lineup. Hopkins will encounter a desperate Loyola team that is unbeaten at home. Don't be surprised if this one comes down to the last five minutes.

No. 11 TOWSON (8-5)

The schedule -- vs. No. 19 Delaware, Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals, tonight, 7:30.

The skinny -- The Tigers turned their season around by dominating Delaware on March 25 with an 11-7 victory at home. Before Saturday's near-miss at Hopkins, they had won six of their previous seven games. Towson probably needs a win tonight to secure an at-large NCAA tournament berth. Faceoff man Matt Eckerl had top gun Alex Smith's number the first time around. If he does it again, the Tigers should get another crack at No. 2 Hofstra on the road Saturday night, in a battle for an automatic bid.

No. 14 UMBC (8-4)

The schedule -- vs. Binghamton, America East tournament semifinals, Friday, 5 p.m.

The skinny -- The Retrievers have put themselves in great position to earn an automatic NCAA tournament trip by hosting their conference tournament as the top seed, after going through the league undefeated in the regular season. UMBC is 6-1 in its past seven games, continues to play fine defense and its offense is getting cranked up at the right time, having scored 20 goals on Saturday for the first time in seven years. Binghamton has lost four of five and is coming off a 20-9 loss at Albany.

No. 18 LOYOLA (6-5)

The schedule -- vs. No. 7 Johns Hopkins, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The skinny -- A win over Hopkins should erase a damaging loss at Fairfield 12 days ago and put the Greyhounds in their first national tournament since 2001, since Loyola already has beaten No. 5 Georgetown. Even though Hopkins owns a 40-3 advantage in the series, this shapes up as a battle. Loyola faces off well, has a dependable goalie in senior Michael Fretwell, and the Greyhounds are quick and unselfish on offense. Loyola is averaging 10.2 goals. Eighty of its 112 scores have been assisted.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S (6-8)

The schedule -- vs. Canisius, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament semifinals, Friday, 6:30 p.m.

The skinny -- The Mount earned the No. 2 seed in the MAAC tournament, which will yield an automatic qualifier and a likely, unpleasant date with top seed Virginia in the first round of the NCAAs. The MAAC tournament looks wide-open, as the Mount, top seed Providence and No. 3 seed Canisius each went 6-2 in league play during the regular season.

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