UM women to open vs. Yale

Johns Hopkins to play at Hofstra due to conflict

May 08, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun reporter

The only suspense awaiting the Maryland and Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse teams in last night's announcement of the NCAA Division I tournament bracket was whom they would play and where.

Neither team was anywhere near the bubble this time.

Maryland (15-3), a 10-time national champion in its 18th consecutive NCAA tournament, earned the No. 5 seed and will play host to Yale in Sunday's first-round game.

The Blue Jays (11-7), in their third tournament appearance in four years, earned the No. 7 seed and will meet Hofstra.

Although they earned the home game, the Blue Jays must travel to Long Island on Sunday because Homewood Field will be undergoing its conversion for the May 17 commencement exercises.

Hopkins officials requested a waiver from the NCAA to play Saturday, but it was denied, so the team must take to the road.

"It's very disappointing, but quite frankly we can't worry about that," Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker said. "The girls earned a home seed and they know that, but we need to focus on the task at hand."

The Blue Jays, like the Terps, will be facing a team they don't know much about.

Tucker, however, saw Hofstra play Loyola earlier in the season and noted that they were very athletic.

Maryland coach Cathy Reese has never seen Yale. The Terps last met Yale in 1979 - 16 years before Reese arrived at Maryland as a player.

But Reese, in her first season as Terps head coach, said facing a new opponent isn't a problem.

"Sometimes you have thoughts and things seem predetermined when you play these other schools that you play all the time," Reese said. "You're sort of expecting something, but we're going in not expecting anything. We're going to focus on Maryland and make sure our team is prepared to play."

This season, the Terps played only one of the teams in their half of the bracket - Northwestern (17-1).

The Wildcats, of course, earned the No. 1 seed. The two-time defending national champions were a shoo-in at the top after winning 17 straight games since a season-opening 9-8 overtime setback to North Carolina.

Duke takes the No. 2 seed and Virginia is No. 3.

The No. 4 seed, Pennsylvania, was the fastest rising team of the season. The Quakers, who will play host to the final four May 25 and 27 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, started off ranked No. 19 and were picked to finish fourth in the Ivy League. Instead, they went 14-1 and swept their Ivy competition. A 10-8 win Sunday over Big East Conference champion Syracuse cemented their high seed.

A year ago, Johns Hopkins was sitting on the bubble and it burst, a heartbreak that Tucker said likely came because the Blue Jays didn't finish the season strong enough. With that as motivation, the Blue Jays won five of their last seven games, losing only to Northwestern and beating Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia.

Last night's disappointed bubble teams likely were doomed by last-minute losses: Georgetown after falling to Princeton, 12-11, Sunday; Denver, losing to Stanford, 12-11, Sunday; James Madison, losing to Hofstra, 15-13, in the Colonial Athletic Association final Sunday; and Notre Dame, losing to Georgetown, 12-10, in the Big East semifinals April 27.

The field includes seven automatic qualifiers: Northwestern (American Lacrosse Conference), Penn (Ivy League), Syracuse (Big East), Hofstra (Colonial), Richmond (Atlantic 10), Boston University (America East) and Holy Cross (Patriot League).

Le Moyne, an automatic qualifier from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, defeated Monmouth, the Northeast Conference automatic qualifier, in Saturday's play-in game, 19-12, and will head to Duke for the first round.

In Division III, Salisbury (18-1) has a first-round bye and will play host to the winner of tomorrow's Washington & Lee-Wooster game Saturday at 11:30 p.m.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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