Defending champs hope to repeat
Notes: Limestone's undefeated streak snapped
As the 2011 NCAA Championships in women’s lacrosse begin, last season’s NCAA Champions enter postseason play looking every bit the champions they were expected to be.
Maryland, Adelphi and Salisbury, who won last season’s NCAA Championship in Divisions I, II and III, respectively, lost a total of three games between them in the regular season. As NCAA tournament play began on Wednesday afternoon, two of those teams stood tall as the top ranked teams in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association polls, with a third in the top five.
The Terrapins, for all their success – Maryland won 18 games in the regular season – are likely to enter the tournament looking to erase the sting of defeat. Maryland was out of action last week, and Saturday’s tournament opener against Navy (15-5) will be the Terps’ first game action since a double-overtime loss to Dartmouth on May 1. Playing against a coach, Navy’s Cindy Timchal, who spent 16 years at the helm in College Park and coached Maryland coach Cathy Reese during her playing days with the Terps, it will certainly help the Terrapins to come in angry.
Adelphi, meanwhile, is the only one of the three teams to go through the regular season undefeated, and with a record of 18-0, the Panthers have been granted a bye to the Division II semifinals, which they’ll host along with the Division III semis next weekend at Motamed Field in Garden City, N.Y. The Panthers await the winner of Saturday’s game between Dowling and Le Moyne, while Limestone received the other bye and will face the winner of West Chester and Lock Haven.
Salisbury lost the most games of any of the three defending champions, but enters the NCAA tournament as the No. 5 team in the IWLCA Division III poll. Salisbury passed its first tournament test with a 10-6 victory over Rowan, and moves on to Saturday’s second-round game against ODAC winner Washington & Lee, which defeated Christopher Newport on Wednesday afternoon in the first round.
Need to Know
• The only undefeated team in the Division I tournament, Albany, is a victim of circumstances beyond the Great Danes’ control when it comes to reaping the rewards of their perfect regular season. With a record of 17-0, the No. 8 Great Danes earned the seventh seed in the Division I tournament and the right to host a first-round game, but the Great Danes’ field will be unavailable this weekend due to Albany’s commencement exercises. As a result, Albany’s first-round game against Dartmouth will be played on the Big Green’s home field in Hanover, N.H. No. 11 Dartmouth has not lost this season at Scully-Fahey Field, and beat Maryland there in the Big Green’s last home game.
• If familiarity breeds contempt, there’s likely to be a whole lot of animosity on the field in Saturday’s Division II quarterfinal game between Lock Haven and West Chester. The No. 4 Lady Eagles and the No. 6 Rams will be meeting for the third time this season when they play on Charlotte E. Smith Field in Lock Haven, Pa. The Rams, one of only two teams to score more than nine goals against the Lady Eagles this season, won a 13-12 nail-biter at Smith Field on April 15, while Lock Haven avenged that loss on West Chester’s home turf in the PSAC Championship game on April 30. Saturday’s game will be their third meeting in the space of a month.
• The College of New Jersey closed out the regular season undefeated, and entered the NCAA Division III tournament as the top team in the IWLCA Division III Poll, but it was No. 2 Trinity that was granted a first-round bye in the 31-team tournament. The Bantams, an undefeated team in their own right, will host two second round games and a quarterfinal at Robin L. Sheppard Field in Hartford, Conn., including their own second-round game against NESCAC rival No. 14 Middlebury. No. 10 Stevens will play in the other second-round game in Hartford, and was awaiting the winner of No. 11 Bowdoin and Babson at press time.
• Half of the bids in the 16-team Division I tournament went to teams from two conferences. The ACC is represented by Maryland, third-seeded North Carolina, No. 5 seed Duke, Virginia and Boston College, while Ivy League tournament champion Princeton is joined by regular-season champions Penn and Dartmouth in representing the Ancient Eight.
• After going undefeated through the first 17 games of the 2011 season, Limestone came up short in its final game of the regular season, falling to No. 9 Rollins by a 13-9 score. The Saints, however, can be confident that they are capable of winning against their second round opponent, as they beat West Chester on March 10 on a neutral site in Salem, Va., and defeated Lock Haven on the Lady Eagles’ home field on April 23.
• The College of New Jersey came into the NCAA Division III tournament with a 17-0 record, and moved on to the second round of the tournament by a 17-0 score. Ali Jaeger scored four goals and assisted on five more, pacing the Lions to a 14-goal first half en route to a commanding victory against visiting Gwynedd-Mercy.
• Princeton goalkeeper Erin Tochihara was named the Division I Defensive Player of the Week by Synapse Sports for her performance in the Ivy League Championship last weekend. Tochihara made a total of 19 saves in the Tigers’ wins over Penn and Harvard, and will look to backstop Princeton to a win over James Madison this weekend, avenging a 10-5 loss to the Dukes on March 16.
• LeMoyne enters the NCAA Division II tournament with two losses, but both of them came against the top team in the division, reigning NCAA Champion Adelphi. The Dolphins can get a third shot at the Panthers if successful in their NCAA Division II quarterfinal game against Dowling on Saturday.