Women's notebook: Navy needs win to host Patriot League tourney

Severn grad Franke big in Princeton net; No. 1 Terps might have tough task in Chapel Hill

April 18, 2013|By Rich Scherr, For The Baltimore Sun | By Rich Scherr, For The Baltimore Sun

Navy coach Cindy Timchal isn't shy about her desire to have the Midshipmen once again host the Patriot League women's lacrosse tournament.

"It would be huge," Timchal said. "That was the goal from the beginning. We hosted it last year, and we just want to host it again."

A win Sunday in the regular-season finale at American would give No. 12 Navy (14-1) top seed in the tournament, which is scheduled to begin next Friday. The Eagles (7-8) also enter the game 5-0 in the conference.

Hosting duties agreed with the Mids last season, as they rolled to a pair of easy victories to earn a spot in the NCAA play-in game. There, they defeated Oregon before falling to North Carolina in the next round.

Now, Navy is looking for its fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament, and a victory Sunday would be a major step toward that goal.

"It's going to come down to that game, and we play well under pressure," senior Jasmine DePompeo said. "We need games like that to prepare ourselves for Patriot League and for what comes beyond that. I'm really excited and I know the girls are excited to see what happens."

A year ago, Navy easily topped the Eagles both in the regular season (19-6) and Patriot League tournament (14-7).

Severn's Franke leading Princeton

Former Severn goalie Caroline Franke had to wait more than two years to get her collegiate career on track at Princeton. As a freshman, she sat behind starter Erin Tochihara, then spent most of last season out with a concussion.

Now, after playing just 11 minutes during her first two seasons, the junior is back in the nets, and proving to be one of the top goalies in the Ivy League.

Since taking over the starting role in her team's fifth game, Franke has led the No. 13 Tigers to five wins in their past seven games; she entered this week ranked second in the league in both save percentage (.460) and saves per game (7.4).

"When I was able to get back into practice at the very beginning of summer, I had a lot of drive in me," Franke said. "I had been out for so long and I really missed it. I just wanted to put a lot of work into it."

She had one of her best games recently in a losing effort against top-ranked Maryland, making a career-high 13 saves to help keep Princeton within striking distance most of the way.

"I thought against some really high-power shooters she held her own," Princeton coach Chris Sailer said. "She's just getting better and better."

The 5-foot-10 goalie said her strength is her poise under pressure. The chance to finally put that on display is something she treasures.

"The coaches just decided to give me an opportunity, and I'm really grateful for that," Franke said.

Terps, Tar Heels could be on collision course

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game against Virginia Tech, top-ranked Maryland will be the No. 1 seed in next week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Chapel Hill.

With North Carolina also locked in as the No. 2 seed, that means if the Terps advance to the finals, they could end up meeting the Tar Heels on their home field — a place where they haven't won since 2008.

"It is a tough place to play," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "Being the No. 1 seed will give us an extra day of rest during the quarterfinals, but it is what it is. It's a fun time of year, and you've just got to show up at game time and play your best."

Maryland (16-0) will be in search of its fifth straight ACC tournament crown, having topped North Carolina in the finals each of the past three years. Earlier this month, the Terps held off a late rally to edge the Tar Heels, 14-13, in College Park.

Despite some hiccups with defensive assignments and draw controls earlier this season, the Terps might now be playing their best lacrosse, according to Reese.

"We've certainly had our ups and downs," Reese said, "but I feel good about the way we've been playing lately."

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