The first round of the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament will have an overwhelmingly local flavor to it.
With UMBC’s 14-8 opening-round win at Marist on Wednesday, five Baltimore-area teams will compete in first-round action Saturday and Sunday, tied for the second most from the state in tournament history. A record six made the 2007 field, but only the Retrievers and eventual champion Johns Hopkins advanced to the quarterfinals.
Sunday’s matchup between No. 6 seed Towson and Maryland is the lone game featuring two in-state teams. Eighth-seeded Loyola Maryland and Johns Hopkins, in addition to UMBC, are also among the last 16 teams standing.
No. 1 seed Penn State vs. UMBC
When: Noon Sunday
Site: Panzer Stadium, State College, Pa.
Matchup: The Retrievers’ victory Wednesday is one more NCAA tournament win than the Nittany Lions (14-1) have in their program’s history, but UMBC (7-8) faces the longest odds of any underdog this weekend. Penn State has lost only at defending champion Yale this season and has outscored opponents by an average of seven goals per game.
No. 6 seed Towson vs. Maryland
When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium
Matchup: The Terps (11-4), who rose as high as No. 2 nationally before two straight losses to Johns Hopkins, received the last at-large bid in the 17-team field. They’ll meet a Tigers team that’s won four straight games, including the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final. Towson (11-4) has lost nine straight meetings in the series, but the teams last faced off in 2011.
No. 7 seed Notre Dame vs. Johns Hopkins
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Site: Arlotta Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
Matchup: The Blue Jays (8-7) needed a win in their regular-season finale at Maryland just to avoid falling below .500, a requirement for an NCAA tournament at-large bid, then won again before nearly taking down top-seeded Penn State in the Big Ten tournament final. The Fighting Irish (8-6) have had an up-and-down season, but are 5-2 at home.
No. 8 seed Loyola Maryland vs. Syracuse
When: Noon Saturday
Site: Ridley Athletic Complex
Matchup: The Greyhounds (11-4) nearly threw away a first-round home game after falling to Army West Point, 7-5, in the Patriot League semifinals, only the second time all season they haven’t reached double-digit goals. The Orange (9-4), who haven’t played since April 25, have made three straight NCAA quarterfinal appearances.