Top-seeded Terps women will face Towson or High Point in second round of NCAA lacrosse tournament

Maryland's women's lacrosse team, the only undefeated team in Division I, earned the No. 1-seeded spot in the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year when the 26-team bracket was announced Sunday night.

Navy also earned a berth by upsetting three-time defending Patriot League champion Loyola in the conference title game. The Midshipmen return to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time and for the first time since 2013.

While Maryland (19-0) and Navy (15-4) were automatic qualifiers into the tournament field because of their tournament championships, Towson received one of 13 at-large bid and lands in Maryland's eighth of the bracket. The Tigers (12-6) return to the tournament for a second straight year and the ninth time in program history.

Eight teams were seeded and will host the first and second round games this weekend with the top six having byes through to Sunday's second round. The Terps meet the winner of Friday's game in College Park between Towson and High Point.

Defending national champion North Carolina is the No. 2 seed. Florida is No. 3 and Penn State is No. 4 followed by No. 5 Princeton, No. 6 Syracuse, No. 7 Penn and No. 8 Stony Brook.

Navy will play at Penn in Friday's night's opening round.

For the Terps, Sunday afternoon's 14-6 Big Ten Conference championship over Northwestern sealed the top spot. Last year, Maryland fell to North Carolina in the national championship game after winning titles in 2014 and 2015

This is their 28th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and they've won 12 championships plus one in 1986 before the NCAA took over women's lacrosse. The Terps have reached eight straight finals four and played in six of the past seven championship games.

Even with that track record, however, nothing was certain about this season as the Terps reloaded after a lot of top players graduated from last season.

"There were so many unknowns about this year," Terps coach Cathy Reese said. "This group went through 17 games and they did what they needed to do to come out 17-0. We went through the Big Ten season to earn the one seed in the Big Ten championship. We won that and now we're looking at NCAA championships, so for us ... to be able to come up and earn the one seed is just really a testament to our season so far. It's what these girls (have done), the work that they've put in, the effort they've put in to take things one game at a time and finish our regular season 19-0."

The Terps went undefeated in the regular season for the 10th time in program history. Each of the previous nine times, the Terps have made it to the national championship.

Maryland Navy are two of 13 automatic qualifiers as conference champions.

Other automatic qualifiers: North Carolina (Atlantic Coast Conference), Florida (Big East), Stony Brook (America East), Princeton (Ivy League), USC (Mountain Pacific), James Madison (Colonial Athletic Association), High Point (Big South), Canisius (Metro Atlantic), Bryant (Northeast), Massachusetts (Atlantic 10) and Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun).

Among the at-large selections, Colorado and Elon are in the tournament for the first time. Other at-large selections not seeded: Towson, Northwestern, Cornell, Boston College, Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville and Albany.

Johns Hopkins had hoped to earn an at-large bid with a high RPI, a top-10 strength of schedule and a strong showing in their 16-14 loss to Maryland in the Big Ten semifinal. However, the Blue Jays lost to Towson 18-5 in the regular-season finale and did not have a significant win which likely combined to lift several other bubble teams over them.

The national semifinals and championship will be played Memorial Day weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. with the semifinals Friday, May 26 and the title game Sunday, May 28.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun

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Schedule

 

First round

FRIDAY

>>at College Park

Towson vs. High Point

>>at Stony Brook, N.Y.

Northwestern vs. Albany

Bryant at No. 8 Stony Brook

>>at Princeton, N.J.

Cornell vs. Notre Dame

>>at University Park, Pa.

James Madison vs. Louisville

>>at Gainesville, Fla.

USC vs. Jacksonville

>>at Syracuse, N.Y.

Canisius vs. Boston College

>>at Philadelphia

Navy vs. No. 7 Penn

Colorado vs. UMass

>>at Chapel Hill, N.C.

Virginia vs. Elon

Second round

SUNDAY

Towson/High Point at No. 1 Maryland

Bryant/Stony Brook vs. Northwestern/Albany

Cornell/Notre Dame at No. 5 Princeton

James Madison/Louisville at No. 4 Penn State

USC/Jacksonville at No. 3 Florida

Boston College/Canisius at No. 6 Syracuse

Penn/Navy vs. Colorado/UMass

Virginia/Elon at No. 2 North Carolina

Quarterfinals

TBD

Semifinals

At Boston, May 26, times TBA

Championship

At Boston, May 28, TBA

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