Women's lacrosse notebook: Baltimore has been 'great place' for NCAA final four

The NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship weekend will return to Baltimore in 2019 and stay locally for four years, as Johns Hopkins will host the final four in 2019, 2020 and 2022 while Towson hosts in 2021.

Both universities have hosted before — Towson four times and Johns Hopkins twice. The last time Towson hosted, in 2014, a record 10,311 fans attended the title game.

Baltimore "has been a great place for us, for the women's lacrosse championships," said Mary Berdo, NCAA Division I associate director of championships and alliances. "Obviously we've broken attendance records at Towson in 2014, which they previously held in 2010.

"So, the [women's lacrosse] committee was very aware of the success we've had in the Baltimore footprint and with them being available and willing to host for four years between Hopkins and Towson, I think the committee was interested in getting back to that perfect venue size. The last three years, we've been in venues that have been 20,000-plus and so I think the opportunity to get back into that 8,500- to 10,000-seat venue is something the committee felt pretty strongly about as well."

While Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium seats just over 11,000, Homewood Field at Johns Hopkins seats 8,500 and would have been sold out in two of the past four women's Division I title games.

"That was one thing the committee looked at in terms of creating some demand around a ticket. We knew that 8,500 tends to be on our lower end of venue size," Berdo said. "However, I think that with messaging and marketing and letting people know this is what we are faced with at Homewood Field, we hope people will buy their tickets early and create a sellout."

Johns Hopkins also bid on this year's final four when the NCAA moved it out of North Carolina, but the event was combined with the men's championships and will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Next year, the women's final four will be held at Stony Brook on Long Island.

"To have it come back to Hopkins is extremely meaningful," Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker said. "We're very excited to do our best to put on the most wonderful and memorable event possible for everyone who's participating and I'm just really proud of our university for stepping up and saying we want to do this and we want to do it right."

The last time the championship was held at Homewood Field, in 2001, Towson coach Sonia LaMonica was playing for the Maryland team that won it's seventh straight national championship.

"I think it's a thrill," LaMonica said. "We've had such an outstanding reputation for hosting in the past. A lot of people have been talking about pushing to have it in nontraditional areas, but I think we have the perfect atmosphere and can continue to push the attendance numbers. We all strive to have the sport keep growing."

The women's final four is held on Memorial Day weekend with the semifinals Friday night and the title game Sunday.

The Division III championships will also be held at Johns Hopkins in 2020. The other three years they will be in Virginia.

Salisbury's streak ends at 132 games: Salisbury had not lost to a Capital Athletic Conference opponent in 15 years before York College (Pa.) ended the Sea Gulls' 132-game run against conference opposition last week.

York defeated the Sea Gulls, 10-6, on April 12, a victory that also ended a Division III record of 101 consecutive regular-season conference victories. Their last loss was to Mary Washington in the CAC semifinals on April 19, 2002 and their last regular-season CAC loss was also to Mary Washington nine days earlier.

Since then, Salisbury has won 14 straight CAC tournament championships and gone on to win three NCAA Division III national championships.

The No. 13 Sea Gulls will try to extend their streak of conference championships next weekend. They host Mary Washington in the semifinals Saturday at 1 p.m. with the title game on April 29.

Quick hits: Loyola Maryland's Taylor VanThof has 123 draw controls this spring, breaking the school single-season mark of 122 set by her sister Taryn in 2014. ... Maryland's offense has averaged 18.3 goals in its past six games. ... Navy's 14-13 win over Boston University featured 10 ties and six lead changes. ... Syracuse's 13-11 win over North Carolina Saturday ended an 18-game Tar Heels winning streak against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. ... Stony Brook has won 21 straight games against America East opponents. ... Kylie Ohlmiller became the first Division I player to reach 100 points (50 goals, 53 assists) when she led Stony Brook with five goals and six assists in a 20-6 win over Vermont last week.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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