The NCAA's policy of considering geography for Division III championships could help Salisbury State, as the Sea Gulls' lacrosse team was placed in the half of the eight-team draw that doesn't include 12-time champion and top-ranked Hobart and second-ranked Nazareth.
Hobart (8-3) and Nazareth (11-1), its closest pursuer all season in Division III, are expected to meet in the semifinals. The Sea Gulls (12-1) get a rematch of their 1991 tournament opener next Sunday when they play at home against Ithaca (11-1), and, if successful, they would play the winner of the Gettysburg-at-Roanoke quarterfinal on May 17.
The time of Salisbury State's quarterfinal game will be announced today, and the Sea Gulls will learn later this week whether they would remain home for the semifinals. The Division III championship game will be played May 24 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, making use of the day off at the Division I Final Four.
Roanoke (10-4), No. 4 in the final rankings, handed Salisbury State its lone loss, 15-10, on March 8. The Sea Gulls since have won 11 straight. Salisbury State's only other defeat during the past two seasons came in the 1991 title game, when the Sea Gulls lost, 12-11, to Hobart.
Hobart heads the five New York schools selected, and Ithaca was chosen to head south.
"A good case for Hobart and Nazareth being in opposite brackets could be made," said Dave Urick, chairman of the NCAA lacrosse committee. "But in Division III, we're instructed to pair off geographically. This makes for great competition in upstate New York."
Absent from the field are two longtime Division III powers -- Washington College and Ohio Wesleyan -- who between them have reached eight championship games. The Shoremen (11-4) finished with losses to Salisbury State and Gettysburg. Ohio Wesleyan (9-6), No. 8 in the final rankings, also had problems against teams in the top 15.