Johns Hopkins got the first-round bye it was expecting, Loyola got the potential rematch it wanted, and Maryland is back in the hunt after missing the party a year ago.
The NCAA unveiled the 12-team field for the 30th annual Division I men's lacrosse championship tournament last night, and the selection commitee produced no surprises.
As the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Syracuse and Virginia were set on a course to meet in a rematch for the Division I crown on May 29 at Byrd Stadium, where Virginia beat the Orangemen to claim the championship in 1999.
Along with No. 3 Princeton, Johns Hopkins also earned a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed. Right behind the Blue Jays are Loyola and Maryland.
The Blue Jays, among the hotter teams in the country after whipping Loyola,16-12, in their regular-season finale on Saturday, will take a seven-game winning streak into the quarterfinal round, with home-field advantage to boot.
Homewood Field will be the site of the May 21 quarterfinals that will feature Virginia and the Blue Jays in their respective games. And if fifth-seeded Loyola wins as expected against Notre Dame in Sunday's first-round action at UMBC, the Greyhounds will have a chance to redeem themselves after falling two days ago against Hopkins and losing a shot at a bye.
"Hopkins showed us a lot of our weaknesses," Loyola coach Dave Cottle said. "Hopefully, we can work on those weaknesses and be more successful if we're fortunate enough to play them the next time."
Hopkins, which started the year at 1-3 with losses to Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia, rebounded to beat Maryland and Loyola handily during its seven-game streak. The Blue Jays, who played in the Final Four a year ago, are trying to get to the championship game for the first time since 1989.
"I don't think we've had a turnaround point. We've just continued to work extremely hard in practice, and the players have listened to what we've been saying from day one," Hopkins coach John Haus said. "Now we've got to play our best lacrosse. We've won seven in a row, now we can't lose any."
The Greyhounds, who have never won a national championship, are trying to advance to their second Final Four in the last three seasons. Last year, they lost to Syracuse in the quarterfinals after receiving a first-round bye as the tournament's top seed.
Loyola (11-2) had no trouble with Notre Dame earlier this season, scoring the first 10 goals and cruising to a 12-2 victory.
"Not thinking about Hopkins will be a big concern in practice this week," Greyhounds attackman Tim Goettelmann said. "We're not going to look past Notre Dame. We'll concentrate on giving Notre Dame a pounding, then we'll worry about Hopkins and getting some redemption."
Maryland coach Dick Edell was pleased to see the Terps (10-4) draw a No. 6 seed. The Terps, who lost twice to Virginia and once each to Hopkins and Duke, improved their standing by beating Duke in last month's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
The Terps open on Sunday against Hofstra at UMBC. With a victory, Maryland would advance to the quarterfinal round on May20 at Rutgers, where they would face Princeton.
"I'm happy with the attitude of our kids right now. We're pleased with what we've achieved so far, and we're anxious to take it forward," Edell said.
"I think we've played pretty solidly. I don't think we've had an off-night since that [20-11 loss to Hopkins] in Baltimore [on April 15]."
Edell has Maryland back in the tournament after missing the affair last year, which interrupted a run of eight straight postseason trips. The Terps have played in the national championship game three times since 1995.
"This was the most clean-cut, properly placed tournament," he said. "I don't think you'll hear a peep [of protest] about who's in and who's out."
The most notable adjustment in the pairings had Georgetown fall into a nonseeded spot, despite being ranked among the top five for much of the season.
The Hoyas (11-2), who advanced to their first Final Four last year, were penalized for playing a soft schedule and failing to beat any top 10 opponent. Georgetown lost high-profile games to Duke and Syracuse.
The Hoyas will open against No.8 Cornell at Hobart College in a first-round game.
Cornell, under the guidance of coach Dave Pietramala, is back in the NCAAs for the first time since 1995.