Maryland women earn 3rd seed In Division III, Hopkins seeded 5th, gets no bye


There were no surprises last night when the pairings for the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament were announced, but the Division III selections were a different story.

As expected, three-time defending Division I champ Maryland earned the third seed behind top-seeded Virginia and North Carolina. The Terrapins have a first-round bye.

Loyola, which lost last year's championship, 8-7, to the Terps, was seeded fifth and will play host to 12th seed West Chester Wednesday.

In Division III, however, Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker was surprised that her team was not among the top four seeds. A final four team last year, Hopkins was seeded fifth and will play host to Denison (Ohio) on Wednesday.

The top four seeds -- 1. College of New Jersey (12-0), 2. Williams (12-1), 3. William Smith (13-1) and 4. Middlebury (13-2) -- received byes as the fields were expanded to 12 for the first time.

"I'm very surprised that a team with one Division III loss -- against the top team in the country -- and with four Division I teams on its schedule was seeded [fifth]," Tucker said. The Blue Jays finished 13-2, losing only to New Jersey in overtime and to North Carolina.

"I'm not sure the committee knew how to factor in the Division I games, but this just gives a lot of incentive to my team," said Tucker, whose Jays will move up to Division I next year.

The Blue Jays have beaten Denison the only two times they have met, in the tournament in 1993 and 1994. A win Wednesday would send the Jays into a rematch of last year's semifinal against defending champ Middlebury in Vermont on Sunday.

St. Mary's (12-2) earned the ninth seed and will play at Washington & Lee on Wednesday. A win would send the southern Maryland team against New Jersey, which won six straight titles until Middlebury ended the streak last year.

In Division I, Loyola's 13-9 loss to Maryland yesterday erased any hope for a top-four seed. As the fifth seed, it plays host to West Chester, the top Division II team, which receives the first and only automatic bid in the women's tournament.

"We didn't win our last two games [Virginia and Maryland] and we needed to win them to get the bye," Loyola coach Diane Aikens said.

Instead, Virginia (15-2) North Carolina (14-2), Maryland (15-3) and Dartmouth (12-2) got the byes. James Madison, Temple, Princeton, Georgetown, Duke and William & Mary round out one of most competitive fields in tournament history.

"Any one of those teams could win this," said Aikens, a member of the Division I tournament selection committee. "There's more parity than in the past decade, and that makes for a fun tournament, because anything can happen."

While Aikens is ready to play again quickly, coming off two straight losses, Maryland coach Cindy Timchal welcomes a rest.

The Terps, who have been to the tournament a record 19 times and all eight years of Timchal's tenure, are off until Saturday, when they play host to the winner of Wednesday's James Madison-William & Mary game.

"Our last stretch of games [vs. six ranked teams] has been a tough haul," Timchal said. "We've been a little beat up and we'd like to take some time off, refocus, scout the game on Wednesday and look forward to next weekend."

The only team to win three straight Division I titles, Maryland has won four championships in the past six years and been to the final seven of the past eight years.

Women's pairings

Division I

Wednesday's first round

12. West Chester (13-4) at 5. Loyola (12-3)

William & Mary (8-7) at 6. James Madison (10-7)

10. Duke (10-6) at 7. Temple (13-4)

9. Georgetown (9-6) at 8. Princeton (11-4)

Quarterfinals (Saturday or Sunday)

8-9 winner at 1. Virginia (15-2)

7-10 winner at 2. North Carolina (14-2)

6-11 winner at 3. Maryland (15-3)

5-12 winner at 4. Dartmouth (12-2)

Division III

Wednesday's first round

12. Denison (10-5) at 5. Johns Hopkins (13-2)

Franklin & Marshall (12-4) at 6. Hartwick (16-2)

10. Ithaca (11-6) at 7. Trinity (11-2)

9. St. Mary's (12-2) at 8. Washington & Lee (13-2)

Quarterfinals (Saturday or Sunday)

8-9 winner at 1. College of New Jersey (12-0)

7-10 winner at 2. Williams (12-1)

6-11 winner at 3. William Smith (13-1)

5-12 winner at 4. Middlebury (13-2)

Pub Date: 5/04/98

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