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No. 1 Terps women will play Penn State No. 2 Loyola draws William and Mary

Loyola coach Diane Aikens didn't bother hoping for a good draw for the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament. She didn't think there was any such thing.

"This year's field is more even than it's ever been in women's history," Aikens said. "To me, it didn't really matter who we drew. I feel very strongly that no one can walk in saying, 'This is an easy team.' "

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Not even two-time defending champion Maryland, seeded first ahead of No. 2 Loyola, got a break in the pairings, which expanded from six to eight teams for the first time.

The Terrapins (18-1) play host to No. 8 Penn State (10-5) in College Park in Saturday's quarterfinals. The Terps did beat Penn State two weeks ago, but only 12-11.

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Still, the Terps certainly have tournament experience -- and history -- on their side.

Last year, they became the first Division I team to win back-to-back national titles. Since 1990, the Terps have finished no worse than third. They have won three of the past five national championships.

The Terps have a 6-1 record against the tournament field -- having lost only to Loyola, 7-6, in a game that ended Maryland's NCAA Division I lacrosse-record 50-game winning streak.

Loyola is looking for its first appearance in the title game. The Greyhounds (13-2) have reached the semifinals each time they have qualified for the tournament -- three of the past seven years.

The Greyhounds play host to No. 7 William and Mary (10-5) on Saturday at Curley Field. Loyola defeated the Tribe, 16-6, in March, but Aikens doesn't want the Greyhounds thinking this game will be similar.

"We can't take this team lightly," said Aikens, whose team has won its past two games over the Tribe by a combined 29-11. "We have to concentrate on the mental side of it now as opposed to the physical. We're really trying to focus on now. A lot of people thought we might have looked ahead to Maryland last year and not focused on Virginia."

Virginia, which edged Loyola, 9-8, in last year's NCAA semifinal, has been the Greyhounds' peskiest nemesis for a couple of years, and the two could meet again in the semifinals on May 17 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

The Cavaliers (14-4), who defeated Loyola, 7-6, in sudden-death overtime three weeks ago, are seeded third. Temple is fourth, and James Madison, which beat Loyola in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship, is fifth.

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The only newcomer to the field is North Carolina, a second-year program under Roland Park graduate and Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year Jenny Slingluff.

In Division III, Johns Hopkins received a bid and will play host to Roanoke in a quarterfinal game Saturday at noon.

For the Blue Jays (11-3), being host to a game seemed to be a long shot because they were ranked ninth in the last Division III coaches' poll.

"I was surprised," Hopkins coach Janine Tucker said. "I think our strength of schedule gave us that fourth spot. We won our conference, and we played a couple of Division I teams."

A blazing run through the past month helped. After starting 3-3, the Jays have won eight straight and finished unbeaten in the Centennial Conference.

The Blue Jays missed the NCAA tournament last year after three straight appearances.

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Pub Date: 5/06/97


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