If Maryland and Stony Brook win their conference tournaments this weekend, figuring out who should be the No. 1 seed for the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament won't be easy.
The Terps, the Seawolves and North Carolina, which has already won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, could each have an argument to claim the top spot if the Terps win the Big Ten tournament and the Seawolves win in the America East.
North Carolina's RPI soared after its win over previously undefeated Boston College in the ACC final, but the Tar Heels (15-3) have three losses.
Defending national champion Maryland's RPI is second and the Terps are 16-1 with 14 straight wins, but that one loss was to North Carolina.
Stony Brook (17-0) is the only undefeated team in Division I, but its RPI is sixth. While the Seawolves have been ranked No. 1 in the polls for the past 10 weeks, polls don't play into the criteria for selection.
"Really the NCAA [selection committee] doesn't stray too far from their RPI rankings," said Halley Quillinan Griggs, women's editor for Inside Lacrosse, "but there's a number of criteria also being take into consideration. One of them is head-to-head, so I think North Carolina's win over Maryland could certainly play a factor. It's just very interesting to see what the committee takes into consideration. North Carolina certainly has more losses than Maryland. None of them are bad losses though."
Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina scheduled strong nonconference competition, including Towson, Northwestern and Southern California — all ranked in the top six at some point this season — but playing in the America East keeps the Seawolves' RPI down. The second-seeded team in the America East tournament ranks 56th in RPI.
"Joe Spallina brought up a good point," Griggs said. "He said, 'We're not in the ACC. We're not in the Big Ten. We have to play in our conference. Our nonconference RPI is the strongest in the country,' so that's going to be interesting. Do I think they have a shot at No. 1? Sure."
The selection committee's decision will be announced along with the rest of the 27-team bracket Sunday at 9 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Many locals named to all-conference teams
Maryland landed six players on the All-Big Ten team — Megan Whittle (McDonogh), Jen Giles (Mount Hebron), Caroline Steele (Severn), Julia Braig (St. Paul's), Lizzie Colson (Manchester Valley) and Grace Griffin (Liberty).
Also named to the first team: Taylor VanThof and Kady Glynn, Loyola; and Blake Smith (Notre Dame Prep), Julia Collins (River Hill) and Kelly Larkin, Navy.
In the Colonial Athletic Association, Towson's Olivia Conti shared Defensive Player of the Year honors while Tianna Wallpher (Mount Hebron), Natalie Sulmonte, Emily Gillingham and Kiley Keating were named to the first team. Elon's Stephanie Asher (Glenelg) also made the first team.
James Madison's Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe (Loch Raven) was named Coach of the Year.
In the Northeast Conference, Mount St. Mary's goalie Jillian Petito was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Lauren Schwarzmann (Century) was named Coach of the Year.