Maryland coach Cathy Reese wasn't upset about the Terrapins getting the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament. Sure a No. 4 seed would mean the home-field advantage in the second round if the Terps can beat Yale on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ludwig Field. If they beat Yale, chances are the Terps would have to travel to Philadelphia to play fourth-seeded Penn, and the Quakers are one of the hottest teams in the tournament.

Still, Reese likes the five-spot.


"It's the number I wore as a player, and it's my lucky number," said Reese, a former All-American at Maryland.

"Besides, who knows … if we were to win and BU beat Penn we could still play at home. That's the uniqueness of the tournament that any game can go any way. I just really want to get through one game first. We need to keep everyone grounded because it could be a long second season or a very short one."

Home-field advantage

No team has come further this season than Penn, but in the postseason, the Quakers won't go far -- from home, that is. The rest of their games will be at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the site of the final four.

The Quakers (14-1) earned the fourth seed in the tournament, assuring them of playing at home as long as they stay in the tournament. That could be a while.

This has been a banner year for the Quakers, who made the tournament for the first time since 1984. They also won their first Ivy League title since 1982. Until this season, they had never been ranked higher than No. 9. They finished 2006 at No. 20 -- their first ranking since 1994.

Three local women play for the Quakers -- sophomores Ginna Lance (Mount Hebron) and Katie Mazer (Bryn Mawr) and freshman Barb Seaman (Roland Park). All three saw action, and Seaman scored seven goals and had two assists.

If the home-field advantage provides that kind of motivation, we'll be watching Towson next season, because the Tigers will host the final four in 2008.

Don't forget Division III

Maryland's most successful Division III team, Salisbury, rolls into the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in nine years. The Sea Gulls (18-1) won their fifth straight Capital Athletic Conference championship to seal an automatic bid.

Baltimore-area girls flock to Salisbury, where the lacrosse is excellent, but the pressure isn't as intense as it is at Division I schools.

Coach Jim Nestor's Sea Gulls have 15 locals, led by top scorer Sue Ackermann, a junior attacker from Liberty, who has contributed more than 100 points this season -- 46 goals and 58 assists. Natalie Degele (Centennial) is second with 36 goals and 33 assists followed by Stephanie Shores (Old Mill) with 52 goals and 15 assists.

Natalie Pappas, a freshman goalie from McDonogh, has started 14 games and has a .503 save percentage. She is allowing just 6.51 goals per game.

One of four teams to host the regional championships, the Sea Gulls open play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of today's game between Washington & Lee and Wooster. If they win, the Sea Gulls would play again Sunday for a berth in the final four May 19-20 at William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y.


Ranked No. 2 in the latest Inside Lacrosse Division III poll, the Sea Gulls suffered their only loss, 8-7, on March 31 to Franklin & Marshall, which is now No. 1.

The Sea Gulls have beaten two of the tournament's most storied teams -- Middlebury, 11-10, on March 27 and the College of New Jersey, 13-12, on April 14. Both of those teams are in the Sea Gulls' half of the bracket, but they couldn't meet either one until the semifinal.

Most of Salisbury's other wins have come by significant margins. They average 17.4 goals per game and have beaten opponents by an average of 11 goals per game.

The Sea Gulls are no strangers to the final four. Two years ago, they reached the national championship game before falling to the College of New Jersey, 9-7.

Hardly rookies anymore

Baltimore-area players have always had an impact on the college women's game -- some of them immediately. Last year's All-Metro class stepped up quickly.

At Virginia, Brittany Kalkstein (Roland Park) earned Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year honors after finishing fourth (39 goals, 7 assists) on the Cavaliers' scoring chart. She proved equally valuable for her ability to win the draws, controlling 51.

At Johns Hopkins, Samantha Schrum (St. Mary's) became the Blue Jays' first Rookie of the Year, taking the honor in the American Lacrosse Conference. She was the fourth-leading scorer for the Blue Jays with 28 goals and 9 assists.

At Denver, Aly Flury (Broadneck) was the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Newcomer of the Year. She was the Pioneers' second-leading scorer with 59 goals and 13 assists.

The Centennial Conference doesn't have a newcomer award, but if it did, Lidiaµ Sanza (St. Paul's) likely would have taken the honor. An All-Conference second-team selection at Franklin & Marshall, Sanza was the only freshman on the first or second team. The goalie has a .567 save rate and allows only 5.62 goals per game for the Diplomats, who are the No. 1 team in Division III.