The biggest weekend on the college lacrosse calendar is here, with all but the already-completed Division II women's NCAA tournament to be decided by Memorial Day.
Six former county players are members of three teams still alive in their respective brackets.
In the Division I women's tourney, sophomore defender Alice Mercer (Century) and senior midfielder Amalie Trentzsch (Winters Mill) have helped the University of Maryland reach its sixth straight Final Four.
The top-seeded Terrapins (21-1) will face fifth-seeded Northwestern at 7:30 p.m. in the second semifinal on Friday at Towson. The game will air on ESPN3.
No. 2 Syracuse will take on No. 6 Virginia in the other semifinal at 5 p.m. with the two winners moving on to Sunday's national championship, which will be played at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Mercer was named an IWLCA third-team All-American after being a key member of the Terps' defense, one of the nation's best units. She has 28 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers this season.
In the Division III women's bracket, junior midfielder Bethany Baer (Westminster), junior attack Kate Haker (Westminster) and junior attack Shelby Nemecek (Liberty) have helped Salisbury University reach its 10th Final Four and third straight.
The Sea Gulls (21-1) will play Amherst at 4 p.m. Saturday in Gettysburg for a spot in Sunday's championship. SUNY-Cortland faces Trinity (Conn.) in the other semifinal.
Baer, already an all-region and All-Capital Athletic Conference selection, was named an IWLCA first-team All-American this week, her second straight nod.
Baer has led the offense in tournament play this season with a team-high 11 goals and three assists for 14 points through three games. She also has caused three turnovers, scooped up six ground balls and recorded a team-high 12 draw controls in the tournament.
Overall, she has 45 goals, 58 points, 34 ground balls, 56 draw controls and 24 caused turnovers this season.
Nemecek leads the team with 65 goals, 71 points and 26 caused turnovers while adding 23 ground balls and 45 draw controls.
Haker ranks among team leaders with 34 goals and 49 points.
Additionally, freshman long-stick midfielder Teddy Chase (Winters Mill) has helped the Salisbury men reach their 15th Division III national championship game. The Sea Gulls (21-1) will face Tufts on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Baltimore seeking their 11th national title.
Chase has two ground balls and two caused turnovers in five games as a reserve.
BULLETS FALL SHORT: With the Division III women's lacrosse Final Four set to be played at Gettysburg College, the Bullets fell a win short of reaching the tournament's last weekend.
Senior midfielder Kelly Spieker (Winters Mill) and senior attack Bailey Beardsley (Francis Scott Key) saw their careers come to a close with an 18-3 season.
Sophomore midfielder Amanda Borucki (North Carroll) and junior attack Mandy Buell (Winters Mill) also helped Gettysburg put together another strong season.
Spieker and Beardsley were a part of a senior class that helped the Bullets win their first NCAA championship in 2011 and tied the 2013 senior class for most wins in a four-year period (75).
"I think what we're going to remember are the leadership skills and the character those six women had," coach Carol Cantele said in a statement. "They were very reliable and extraordinarily helpful for the coaching staff. They head the pulse of the entire team and quickly mentored the first-years into the program. We're going to miss them."
Spieker had 30 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers. Beardsley recorded 15 goals and 21 points. Buell had 45 goals and 65 points. Borucki had 18 goals and 27 points.
ALL-DISTRICT SEAHAWK: Senior Andrew Gear (Winters Mill) of the St. Mary's College of Maryland men's tennis team was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Division III Men's At-Large Team for the second straight season. That advances him to the All-America ballot after he was a first-team All-American last season.
Gear, a team captain, a triple major and school co-valedictorian, was also honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association with the Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award for the Atlantic South region.
On the court, Gear leaves the Seahawks as the school's all-time leader in singles (69) and doubles (56) wins. This year's SMCM Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he was selected as the 2012-13 CAC Co-Player of the Year, the 2012-13 SMCM Male Athlete of the Year, the 2010-11 CAC Rookie of the Year, and the 2010-11 SMCM Rookie of the Year.
Gear finished his career as a five-time all-star.
HEADED TO LIMESTONE: A pair of Carroll graduates recently wrapped up their careers at Frederick Community College but Colin Mills (Francis Scott Key) and Cody Harman (Westminster) will continue to be teammates as they've both signed to continue their college careers at Division II Limestone College in South Carolina.
Mills went 9-1 with a 1.75 ERA, striking out 78 batters in 72 innings for the Eagles, who went 45-10 this season. He was usually pitching to Harman. The catcher batted .267 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 44 games, also getting a save in his lone pitching appearance. Mills was an all-countian at FSK and Harman was the Times' 2011 Baseball Player of the Year.