Terps women get NCAA bid

Hopkins out

Unseeded UM travels to No. 5 N. Carolina

College lacrosse

May 09, 2006|By KATHERINE DUNN | KATHERINE DUNN,SUN REPORTER

Maryland earned its 17th straight invitation to the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament, but Johns Hopkins slipped off the bubble as the field reached the West Coast for the first time.

The Blue Jays were left out of the 16-team field announced last night, as Stanford became the first West Coast team to earn a tournament bid.

Duke grabbed the No. 1-seed , followed by No. 2 seed Virginia, No. 3 Georgetown and No. 4 Northwestern, the defending national champion.

The Blue Jays had been on the bubble since falling to Penn State on April 29. They lost three of their last five games, and though losing to Northwestern and Georgetown during that stretch probably didn't hurt their chances to make the tournament, the loss to struggling Penn State surely did.

At the same time, the Cardinal finished with seven straight wins, including a victory over co-Ivy League champ Cornell.

When teams are still too close to call after evaluating Rating Percentage Index, overall winning percentage, strength of schedule and head-to-head competition, the selection committee looks to late-season performance among its secondary criteria, according to the selection criteria listed in the Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship Handbook.

Stanford's big finish certainly propelled the Cardinal into the tournament. Beating a top 10 team - Cornell was ranked No. 10 - was something Johns Hopkins hadn't done since beating Princeton in early March.

The Cardinal will travel to meet the only other tournament team from outside the eastern time zone, Northwestern on Sunday.

After the top four seeds, North Carolina was fifth, followed by Notre Dame at No. 6, Dartmouth at No. 7 and James Madison at No. 8.

The top eight teams will host first-round games on Sunday, except Georgetown, which will play at Monmouth, because the Hoyas men are hosting a first-round game.

Maryland boosted its NCAA record to 22 trips to the tournament, but the Terrapins did not receive one of the coveted eight seeded spots. They will travel to meet Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina on Sunday at a time to be set today.

Terps coach Cindy Timchal said she was surprised to see Dartmouth and Notre Dame in the top eight and not Maryland.

"I thought we deserved that based on strength of schedule, beating Dartmouth, beating Hopkins when they were ranked No. 2 in the country and not having one bad loss," said Timchal, whose team won the last of its 10 national championships in 2001.

As for playing North Carolina, which beat the Terps, 11-9, on April 15 in Chapel Hill, Timchal said it doesn't much matter which team you draw.

"They're a tough team, but when you get to that point where you're going to the tournament, [with a couple of exceptions] all the teams are so good," she said.

In the Division III bracket, which was announced Sunday, Salisbury earned a first-round bye and will play host this weekend to the winner of tomorrow's Springfield-Dickinson game.

The Sea Gulls (16-1) were national finalists a year ago, but will have to get past both defending champion College of New Jersey and 2004 champ Middlebury to reach the title game again.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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