Tough lacrosse decisions ahead UMBC among five seeking three berths


The final day of the regular season provided only more headaches for the NCAA men's lacrosse selection committee.

Several upsets and near-misses involving teams on the bubble have expanded the field fighting for three final tournament spots. The committee must weed out two from the list of UMBC, Harvard, Hofstra, Hobart and North Carolina.

The only teams assured of a bid will be the eight seeded teams: Princeton, Loyola, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Virginia, Duke and Georgetown. Butler, which probably won't be seeded, is in the tournament as a result of being the automatic Midwest selection.

"We felt coming into this game that winning this was like winning two games," said Loyola coach Dave Cottle after his Greyhounds defeated Johns Hopkins yesterday. "We know we're in the top four and have a week off."

With Maryland's upset loss to UMBC, Princeton is expected to be the top seed, with Loyola, Maryland and Hopkins rounding out the top four. Syracuse could make a case for itself for a top-four seed and a first-round bye, but a loss at home to Loyola and an upset defeat at the hands of Rutgers should have the Orangemen playing next weekend.

In this scenerio, Princeton and Johns Hopkins will play their quarterfinal games in Hempstead, N.Y., and Maryland and Loyola are headed for College Park.

In next week's first round, Syracuse and Duke will likely be the seeded teams in Amherst, Mass., while Virginia and Georgetown will probably be sent to Homewood Field. But determining who these four seeded teams will play in the opening round is nearly impossible, with five bubble teams in the mix.

UMBC (9-4), which lost to North Carolina last week, has the most quality wins among the remaining group. The Retrievers, who have won nine of their final 11 games, defeated Georgetown earlier this season and jumped back into the tournament picture with the upset of Maryland yesterday.

Another upset yesterday involved Hofstra, which fell to Notre Dame, 8-4. Once in contention for a top-eight spot, the Flying Dutchmen (10-4) have lost two of their final four and fell in both of their games against top eight teams.

Hobart (8-4) has also faded after an 8-0 start, losing its final four games, including a 13-9 loss to Princeton yesterday.

Harvard (11-3) has finished strong to hold the best record among the fringe teams, but doesn't have a victory over any of the teams still in the race for a tournament bid.

The Tar Heels (7-7) are the wild card for the committee. North Carolina, which has downed UMBC and Loyola, has seven losses and only reached .500 with the help of the late addition of Ohio State to its schedule.

Pub Date: 5/03/98

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