No. 15 seed Towson, No. 5 Maryland get byes in NCAA soccer


After a regular season in which it absorbed only one defeat, the Towson men's soccer team might have hit the trifecta yesterday.

Not only were the Tigers seeded 15th in the 48-team NCAA Division I tournament field, but they also receive the companion rewards: a first-round bye and might host a second-round home game if Fairfield beats Connecticut in the first round.

They were one of four Colonial Athletic Association schools - tournament champ Hofstra, George Mason and Old Dominion were the others - to make the tournament. For Towson (14-1-3), this marks the second appearance in the field (2001).

"It's exciting because we were right on the edge," said co-captain Nigel Marples, an All-CAA first-team choice. "Now we'll get more rest and more time to prepare."

Defending NCAA titlist Maryland (15-4-1) was designated the No. 5 seed and will also sit out the first round while awaiting the winner of the Monmouth-St. John's contest.

"I was confident we were going to be there [in the tournament]," said Towson coach Frank Olszewski. "But I was very pleased with the bye. They [his players] worked hard to get that home game."

"We're relieved," said co-captain Andrew Marshall (Centennial). "We were kind of on the bubble. Towson deserves to have a home game. This is great for both us and the conference."

Towson had a 10-game winning streak broken in the CCA tournament semifinals when George Mason advanced by winning a shootout, 5-4. But the Tigers maintain a 13-game unbeaten streak dating to Sept. 16. The Tigers defense is ranked seventh in Division I with 0.58 of a goal per game.

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