Towson women roll into this weekend's CAA tourney

Towson's women's lacrosse team could not head into this weekend's Colonial Athletic Association tournament with much more momentum.

On Sunday, the No. 18 Tigers ended the regular season by rolling past Johns Hopkins, 18-5. With the win, Towson completed its second straight Greater Baltimore sweep — wins over Hopkins, Loyola Maryland and UMBC.

More importantly, however, the defending conference champs set themselves up for a strong showing in the CAA tournament beginning Friday at Johnny Unitas Stadium. The No. 2 seed behind James Madison — one of two CAA teams they fell to — the Tigers face Elon in the 6:30 p.m. semifinal.

"We had an outstanding performance across the board," Towson coach Sonia LaMonica said. "From top to bottom, they just executed at an extremely high level and were just very focused. It was senior day and we talked about the best way to honor the seniors is to give your best and they really displayed that. We're really coming into form at a time when you want to."

Against Hopkins, the Tigers (12-5) ran out to a 7-0 lead and led 11-1 at the half. Samantha Brookhart (Mount Hebron) had three of her four assists in the half as she went on to break the program's single-season record with 47. Kaitlyn Montalbano and Carly Tellekamp scored five goals each.

Even after such a resounding victory, the Tigers know Elon (12-5) is a dangerous first-round tournament opponent. Towson won, 19-7, during the regular season, but the Phoenix turned heads early with a win over Virginia, and leading scorer Stephanie Asher (Glenelg) has more goals (53) than any of the Tigers.

"They're going to give us a game and that's certainly how we need to look at it," LaMonica said. "We've had some great success here whether you're looking at our past Elon game or our game with Hopkins. ... It's easy to learn and grow from losses, and it's easy to sort of coast when you win, so it's really important that we keep trying to get better."

Greyhounds aiming to stay Patriot perfect: Loyola Maryland coach Jen Adams said she doesn't think perfect is quite the way to describe the Greyhounds in Patriot League competition, but it does describe their record.

The Greyhounds are 34-0 in the conference since joining in 2014 and will go after their fourth straight tournament championship this weekend at Ridley Athletic Complex.

"It's always tough. I think we've been anything but perfect in a lot of dips and peaks," Adams said. "But we've taken care of our business and we've won the games."

Adams said parity is growing in the conference and the Greyhounds have had to pull out some close games to keep their streak alive.

Lehigh especially has given the Greyhounds trouble the past two years, so they're happy to see the Mountain Hawks in the other half of the bracket where they will meet second-seeded Navy in the semifinals.

Last season, the Greyhounds needed overtime to beat the Mountain Hawks during the regular season and then topped them 13-8 in the tournament semifinals. Three weeks ago, they trailed Lehigh twice in the second half before pulling out a 12-11 win on the road.

To Adams, whoever the Greyhounds meet throughout the tournament will give them a good game. The past two years, they've defeated Navy in the title game. The Midshipmen won four straight Patriot League tournament titles before the Greyhounds came into the conference.

"Being able to go out against these teams and getting their best games is something that does prepare us for the tournament," Adams said. "Every Patriot League team we come up against wants to be the team that beats Loyola, so we're getting their best games and we're having to play our best games."

Adams knows something about how that feels as a player. When she played at Maryland, the Terps won seven straight national championships — the last in the streak when she was a senior Tewaaraton Award winner in 2001.

"It's not new to me, that's for sure," Adams said with a laugh. "I think in any circumstance as a coach when you can some way relate to the players on a level that they understand, I think it helps you. That's the one thing mentally I'm able to get on that same level with them and talk to them about coping mechanisms and ways that worked for myself and that worked for our [Terps] teams in going through that. So I think they do feel that sense of ease and calm knowing their coach has been in that boat as well and that you can still come out on top. The pressure can make you; it doesn't need to break you."

In the first round of the Patriot League tournament Friday, the Greyhounds host Boston University, a team they beat 16-11 during the regular season, at 5 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex. Navy faces Lehigh at 7:45 p.m. The title game is Sunday at noon.

NCAA tournament field revealed Sunday: All of the women's lacrosse conference tournaments will conclude Sunday afternoon, and the field for the NCAA Division I tournament will be announced at 9 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Two teams have already earned automatic bids — defending national champion North Carolina as the Atlantic Coast Conference champion and Southern California as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champ.

No. 1 Maryland, which fell to the Tar Heels in last year's final, is the only undefeated team in Division I, and with a win in the Big Ten tournament, the Terps should secure the top seed for the NCAA tournament, which begins next weekend and concludes Memorial Day weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The 26-team field includes 13 conference champions. The top six will be seeded and have byes in the first round.

Quick hits: Stony Brook junior Kylie Ohlmiller needs just 18 points to tie Adams' Division I single-season record of 148 set in 2001 at Maryland. ... Salisbury avenged a regular-season loss to York College to win its 17th straight Capital Athletic Conference title. ... Florida has won 20 straight Big East conference games and three straight conference titles. ... Navy tied the program record for goals scored in a 24-10 win over Lafayette. ... North Carolina scored nine straight goals to finish an 18-11 victory over Syracuse for the ACC championship. ... Robert Morris freshman Annie Sachs (Dulaney) broke program records for single-season points (73) and single-season goals (47).

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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