Bye, not bye-bye, helps Loyola prep for Terps; NCAA bid expected, win or lose vs. No. 1 Maryland; Women's notebook


With the start of the NCAA women's lacrosse tournament less than two weeks away, No. 5 Loyola will try to gain some momentum--and possibly a first-round bye --against visiting, No. 1 Maryland at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Although the tournament field won't be announced until May 7, Maryland and Loyola will be among the final 12 teams.

The five-time defending champion Terrapins (16-1) have been ranked No. 1 all season and have run their winning streak to 15 games with Wednesday's 14-6 victory at No. 3 Princeton. The Greyhounds (13-3) earned one of two automatic bids by winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Until Wednesday's 9-8 overtime loss to No. 9 Virginia, the Greyhounds had won 11 straight, and they would like nothing more than to get back on the winning track heading into the NCAA tourney.

"Maryland's going to sit at No. 1 whether they win or lose on Saturday," said Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens. "If we win, we stand a good chance of getting a Top 4 bye, which is something for us to strive for. But if we lose, we're still in the tournament. That's the bottom line. There's no pressure for us."

The Terrapins lead the series 19-1, and the Greyhounds' only win was memorable. They broke a 50-game Terps in streak with a 7-6 victory during the 1996 regular season.

Dartmouth takes Ivy title

Second-ranked Dartmouth wrapped up the other automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning its fourth straight Ivy League championship in dramatic style, scoring the last six goals of. the game to take a 16-13 overtime victory at then-No. 2 Princeton on Saturday.

Dartmouth joins Loyola as the only teams guaranteed tournament spots after the NCAA instituted automatic bids' for the Ivy League and the Colonial Athletic Association winners this season.

With seven points against Princeton, including the game-winning goal 12 seconds into over-time, senior All-American Jaeque Weitzel (Garrison Forest) pulled to within nine points of becoming the Big Green's all-time leading scorer with 188 career goals and 47 assists.

Tigers roar

Towson University scored its first victory over a ranked team this season with Wednesday's 9-8 upset of No. 17 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field.

The Tigers (5-9) came close last-year, failing to the Blue Jays in overtime, 9-8. That was the only time the Tigers have ever lost to Johns Hopkins. Towson leads the series 6-1, but most of those wins came in the early 1980s.

Tigers freshman Kristyn Krastel (North Harford), who had a career-high four goals against the Blue Jays, continues to rank among Towson's top scorers with 18 goals and eight assists.

Kat Brady (Archbishop Spalding) leads the Tigers with 24 goals and 12 assists followed by Courtney Benner (Fallston) with 13 goals and 20 assists.

Cheryl Back has come on strong, winning a starting spot for the past seven games and delivering at least one point in each start. Through that stretch, the Sophomore has scored eight of her 10 goals and six of her seven assists.

Tigers goalie Jaequie Sica averages 16 saves and had 20 against Johns Hopkins. She has had five games with 20 or more saves, including a season high 26 in a 17-4 loss to Maryland.

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