THE WEEK AHEAD
No. 3 Navy (9-2)
The schedule -- vs. No. 10 Johns Hopkins, Saturday, noon
The skinny -- Coming off a pair of one-goal victories over Maryland and Army, the Midshipmen are in good position to beat their ultimate nemesis. Hopkins has not lost to Navy since 1974, and after losing four of the past six meetings by one goal, including the last two in overtime, the Mids could finally do it against a young, struggling Blue Jays team. Losing senior midfielder Steve Looney to a broken collarbone until next month in the Army game does not help, but senior goalie Matt Russell keeps making clutch saves.
No. 4 Maryland (8-3)
The schedule -- off until April 28 vs. North Carolina in Atlantic Coast Conference tournament
The skinny -- The Terps should roll into the tournament title game with ease over a Carolina team with nothing to play for, although assuming anything with Maryland is tricky. Senior attackman Joe Walters is making a serious bid for Player of the Year honors with a late-season surge. But if the Terps meet Virginia again as expected, Walters will need plenty of help, and Maryland still hasn't shown it can provide it consistently in the big games.
No. 10 Johns Hopkins (5-4)
The schedule -- at No. 3 Navy, Saturday, noon
The skinny -- The only bright spot that emerged from an 11-4 rout by visiting Maryland was the return of sophomore midfielder Stephen Peyser, who made his debut on the second midfield by scoring a goal - one more than the team's leading scorers, Kevin Huntley and Paul Rabil, managed.
No. 12 Towson (7-4)
The schedule -- at Sacred Heart, Saturday, 1 p.m.
The skinny -- The Tigers, 5-1 in their past six games and just a one-goal overtime loss at Hofstra away from a six-game winning streak, are close to securing at least an at-large spot in the NCAA tournament. Senior attackman Phil Grillo (Loyola) is having an All-Colonial Athletic Association year with a team-high 23 goals. Eight Tigers have scored at least 10 points to give Towson the kind of balance it needs to make a postseason run.
No. 14 Loyola (5-4)
The schedule -- at Fairfield, Saturday, 1 p.m.
The skinny -- After upsetting then-No. 2 Georgetown for its biggest win since coach Dave Cottle left for Maryland in 2001, Loyola suddenly finds itself with a two-game winning streak and within reach of its first NCAA tournament appearance since that season. The Greyhounds can't afford a slip at 4-6 Fairfield, which is allowing 10.75 goals a game and has won just once at home.
No. 15 UMBC (6-4)
The schedule -- at Vermont, Saturday, 2 p.m.
The skinny -- Like Towson and Loyola, the Retrievers are playing strong lacrosse at a good time. UMBC is 4-1 in its past five games and is averaging 12 goals in those victories, despite a failure to control the faceoff game. Five players have scored at least 20 points this season, while freshman goalie Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall) is the America East Rookie of the Week for the third time.
MOUNT ST. MARY's (3-7)
The schedule -- vs. VMI, today, 4 p.m.; vs. Canisius, Saturday, 1 p.m.; at St. Joseph's, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
The skinny -- The Mount, 3-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, is averaging nearly 14 goals in its three league victories, and is positioning itself for a run at the MAAC tournament title and an automatic NCAA tournament berth.