Terps seeded first for NCAA tourney

Towson, Navy also make the cut

Maryland takes top spot for first time since 2001

Northwestern No. 2

May 10, 2010|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

The last time Maryland was the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament, the Terrapins won their seventh straight national championship.

The Terps are on top again, earning the No. 1 seed in a 16-team field that also features Navy, making its first appearance in just its third season as a varsity program, and Towson, making its third straight trip.

"It's obviously a thrill to be the No. 1 seed," Terps coach Cathy Reese said. "I remember being [seeded] No. 1 when I was here [playing for the Terps in 2001], but it really doesn't matter. We're just excited we're going to be able to participate in the tournament. Obviously, you have to win every game to advance this time of year. It doesn't matter who you play."

Once again, everyone will take aim at Northwestern, the five-time defending champion, which picked up the No. 2 seed.

Since 2001, the Terrapins have been seeded second three times, including last season, but they have not returned to the title game. A year ago, they fell to North Carolina, 8-7, in the national semifinal. Northwestern then ripped the Tar Heels, 21-7, in the final.

The Terps, playing in their 26th NCAA tournament and going for an 11th national title, host Marist, the automatic qualifier from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, at noon Saturday at Ludwig Field.

Towson and Navy are among the eight unseeded teams and will be traveling — Towson to North Carolina on Saturday and Towson to Virginia on Sunday.

In Charlottesville, Va., the Tigers will face the Cavaliers in their first game since the death of senior Yeardley Love, the 22-year-old Notre Dame Prep graduate whose ex-boyfriend, a Virginia men's lacrosse player, was charged with first-degree murder a week ago in connection with the slaying.

The Terps are the only Atlantic Coast Conference team in the top half of the bracket. Northwestern's half includes No.3 North Carolina, No. 6 Virginia and No. 7 Duke.

The other seeded teams in Maryland's half of the bracket are No. 4 Georgetown, No. 5 James Madison and No. 8.Penn — all of which the Terps defeated around mid-season.

Georgetown, which opened the season 3-5, including a 20-11 loss at Maryland, boosted its stock with four close wins to end the season — two over Loyola and two over Syracuse, including the Big East tournament championship. For the Hoyas, Saturday's game will be a third meeting with Syracuse.

Navy was assured of its berth after winning the Patriot League and then knocking off Northeast Conference champ Sacred Heart in one of two play-in games. Cindy Timchal, who guided Maryland to eight NCAA championships, is coaching in her 22nd national tournament.

Towson's spot was not a sure thing after the team suffered an upset loss to Hofstra in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinal. The Tigers, however, slipped in past Loyola, which faded after early-season wins over Virginia and James Madison. It certainly helped that Towson beat the Greyhounds, 14-10, early in the season.

Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Boston University and Stanford, which defeated Massachusetts in the other play-in game, fill out the bracket.

The national semifinals will be held May 28, with the final May 30, all at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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