The Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse programs knew they had earned berths in the upcoming NCAA Division I tournament, but on Sunday night, they finally got to see who they will meet in the first round.
The No. 1 seed Terps (12-3), the Big Ten's regular-season titlist for the fourth year in a row, will face the winner of Wednesday's play-in game between Robert Morris (12-4) and Canisius (8-8) on Sunday at noon at Maryland Stadium in College Park. The Colonials are the Northeast Conference tournament champions, while the Golden Griffins are the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament titlists.
The No. 5 seed Blue Jays (11-4), the Big Ten tournament champion, will welcome Georgetown (12-4) to Homewood Field in Baltimore on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Hoyas captured the Big East tournament crown.
Although Maryland men’s lacrosse lost to Johns Hopkins in Saturday night’s Big Ten tournament final, the Terps’ profile was strong enough to persuade the selection committee to award them the overall No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Division I tournament.
And the No. 6 seed Greyhounds (12-3), the Patriot League tournament titlists, will host Virginia (12-5) at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The Cavaliers advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship final.
Here are the three coaches' initial reactions to their teams' first-round opponents:
Maryland coach John Tillman on whether he was surprised to see Robert Morris in the play-in game instead of Richmond despite the Colonials having a stronger RPI rating than the Spiders: "I was only because — not being critical — I just typically work from the bottom up with the RPI. So as a creature of habit, I just went, 'All right, if Canisius is the lowest, Richmond was next,' and listen, there's probably a reason for that. Again, I kind of look and go, 'You're going to have to play good teams when you're in there, there's good reason for it.' We'll find out on Wednesday who we play, but we'll take what they give us."
John Hardt, who chairs the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee, explained what separated Villanova from three other contenders for the last at-large berth, how Syracuse ended up with the No. 8 seed over Cornell, and what factors helped Maryland earn the overall No. 1 seed.
Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala on his program meeting Georgetown for the first time since 2007: "We scrimmaged them [in the fall], and we know [Hoyas coach] Kevin Warne and his program. I had a chance to watch them play Denver [Saturday]. I watched them on TV. They're a hot team right now. They're terrific in the goal. Defensively, they put in a heck of a performance against a Denever offense that averages over 12 goals a game, and they've done that twice and held them below [seven] goals. Offensively, they've got some real nice athletes that can break you down in the midfield and some attackmen that can really shoot the ball. So we've got a very formidable opponent who we have great respect for and who we know is very well coached by Kevin Warne."
Loyola Maryland coach Charley Toomey on whether he has watched much film of Virginia since the teams' season opener Feb. 10 that the Cavaliers won, 13-12, in double overtime: "It's nice that the Patriot League is done as early as they are. So we were just watching games last week. We didn't watch the VMI game [on Tuesday], but we watched the ACCs and were able to kind of watch them play one time. It is nice to have some familiarity with our opponent. We have a scouting report that obviously we're going to go back and tweak and kind of move around knowing that they've changed and we've changed just a little bit. I do think that the main players are intact for both teams. You take [junior midfielder Ryan] Conrad out of the mix for them [due to a right knee injury], but I think that it's going to be an up-and-down game with very talented players on both sides. It's going to be a fun game, a fun game to coach."