Top-Seeded Terps Will Meet Timchal as Foe
Laura Merrifield and top-seeded Maryland will host Navy in an NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday.
Defending national champion Maryland earned the top seed in the 2011 NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament, pacing five Atlantic Coast Conference teams to qualify.
Maryland (18-1), the ACC champion, will meet Patriot League champion Navy (15-5), an NCAA play-in winner over Quinnipiac, in a first-round game that will pit Navy head coach Cindy Timchal against the team which she led to eight NCAA championships. This will be Timchal's first jaunt to College Park since she left there to start the Navy program in summer 2006.
Northwestern (17-2), which rebounded from a rocky end of the regular season to capture its fifth straight American Lacrosse Conference championship, earned the tournament's No. 2 seed and will host Boston College (12-6), also of the ACC. The Eagles, an at-large selection, will make their NCAA tournament debut.
Two more ACC teams – third-seeded North Carolina (13-5) and at-large entry Virginia (9-5) – will square off in Chapel Hill.
The fifth ACC team, fifth-seeded Duke (13-4), will host Penn (11-5) in a rematch of the teams April 29 encounter, which the Quakers won 13-10. Penn has had an up-and-down season that saw its 34-game Ivy League win streak and conference champion reign end – both at the hands of Princeton.
Speaking of Princeton, the Tigers (11-6), despite defeating Penn twice and earning an Ivy League tournament championship Sunday with a victory over Harvard, did not earn a home seed. Instead, Princeton will travel to eighth-seeded James Madison (15-3), the Colonial Athletic Association champion, in a first-round game featuring two red-hot teams. The Tigers have won five of their six games; the Dukes nine of their last 10.
Another intriguing first-round matchup will feature two teams at geographic odds when Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion Stanford (16-2) visits ALC runner-up Florida (15-3). The Gators have come down a peg since rising to No. 2 in the national rankings, losing two of their last three, but they are undefeated at home.
Albany -- the only undefeated team in Division I, period -- earned the NCAA tournament's seventh seed. The America East champion Great Danes (17-0) will host Dartmouth. The Big Green (11-4) dealt Maryland its only loss of the season, but was stunned by Harvard in the Ivy League semifinals Friday.
Last but not least, Loyola (16-2), the Big East champion and NCAA tournament's No. 6 seed, will host Atlantic-10 champion Massachusetts (17-2), which won its NCAA play-in game Saturday against MAAC champion Canisius. It marks the Greyhounds' first NCAA tournament appearance since 2004.
NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Tournament First-Round Games
Saturday, May 14 (all times Eastern)
Navy (15-5) at No. 1 Maryland (18-1) – 12 p.m.
Princeton (11-6) at No. 8 James Madison (15-3) – 1 p.m.
Stanford (16-2) at No. 4 Florida (15-3) – 1 p.m.
Massachusetts (17-2) at No. 6 Loyola (16-2) – 1 p.m.
Virginia (9-8) at No. 3 North Carolina (13-5) – 12 p.m.
Boston College (12-6) at No. 2 Northwestern (17-2) – 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 (all times Eastern)
Dartmouth (11-4) at No. 7 Albany (17-0) – 1 p.m.
Penn (11-5) at No. 5 Duke (13-4) – 2 p.m.