Lizzie and Beanie Colson were understandably enthusiastic about playing on the same field at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, in their respective teams’ first-round games of the NCAA Division I women’s tournament Friday. But their happiness may have been exceeded by that of their mother, Laura.
“My mom’s really excited about it,” said Lizzie, a redshirt senior defender for Maryland (9-6) which will open against High Point (10-7) at 7 p.m. “She’s excited that she doesn’t have to split up. So she’s excited that she’ll be in one spot all weekend. So that will be good.”
Added Beanie, a senior midfielder for Mount St. Mary’s (14-2), which meets the No. 7 seed Blue Devils (9-7) at 3 p.m.: “She’s excited, I’m excited, and I think my mom is the most excited that we’ll be together.”
The Colson sisters have not played competitively on the same field since they were teammates at Manchester Valley, helping their high school capture three consecutive state Class 2A-1A championships from 2014 to 2016. They thought they were going to play in the 2019 NCAA tournament, but Beanie Colson and the Mountaineers were upset by Wagner in the Northeast Conference tournament final.
“I just asked what hotel she’s in. So it’s funny,” said Lizzie, who sat out last season due to a torn left ACL. “It’s an opportunity I’ve never had before. … We kind of knew going into the Selection Show there might be a shot that we’d get to see each other. So it’s definitely going to be awesome, and it’ll be fun.”
While there is a chance the sisters could meet as opponents in Sunday’s second round, they are thankful they avoided a first-round meeting.
“It would be difficult,” Beanie said. “I think the hardest part would be staying serious against my sister because we like to goof around. It would be hard because there obviously has to be a winner and a loser. But it would be a great experience for the both of us.”
Another game involving sisters could be in store for the Terps, If Maryland and No. 7 seed Duke win their first-round games, that would set up a second-round matchup involving Terps fifth-year senior attacker Brindi Griffin (McDonogh) and older sister and Blue Devils offensive coordinator Brooke Griffin (South River), who was a two-time first-team All-American for the Terps from 2012 to 2015.
Benefit from the break?
When the Johns Hopkins women meet James Madison in an NCAA tournament first-round game Friday at 5 p.m. at North Carolina’s Dorrance Field in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, it will mark the Blue Jays’ first game since April 30. Only No. 7 seed Duke and Virginia will have longer delays between games among postseason participants.
While the length of the break might not be ideal, Johns Hopkins (8-6) did return from a 26-day layoff in March due to several coronavirus cases to go 6-2 with both setbacks occurring against Maryland. Coach Janine Tucker said the team tried to take advantage of the break by giving the players time off to rest and running them through a strength and conditioning regimen before diving back into preparations for the Dukes (11-4).
“I think the girls have recognized that any extra time that we get together, we are able to really dial in and focus on what we needed to focus on because we were able to catch our breath,” she said. “So if we can try really hard to repeat what has gone well for us over this really crazy season, those kinds of breaks served us well. We’re hoping to keep that going, and we’ll find out on Friday.”
Depending on depth
Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Jake Higgins will not be available for the No. 3 seed Maryland men in the tournament. The Hampstead resident and Gerstell graduate has not played since an 18-8 rout of Ohio State on April 18 due to an unspecified lower-body injury and recently underwent surgery.
The good news is the Terps have options for replacing Higgins (12 ground balls, one caused turnover, one goal and one assist) in the starting defensive midfield alongside senior short-stick defensive midfielder Roman Pugliese and junior long-stick midfielder John Geppert. Coach John Tillman can turn to senior Alex Smith (five ground balls and four caused turnovers) or juniors Joshua Coffman (13 ground balls, four caused turnovers, three goals and one assist) and Chase Cope (two ground balls and one goal).
“I thought Chase Cope gave us a lift this weekend and added some depth there,” Tillman said. “And I really like the way that Alex Smith has been playing. I think he’s done a good job. And Josh Coffman picked up some huge ground balls for us and just did some really good things defensively, but also in transition last weekend. So I think some other guys have stepped up.”
- The Terps’ first-round game against Vermont (9-4) will feature a brotherly affair as Maryland senior attackman Jared Bernhardt and defensive coordinator Jesse Bernhardt will welcome Catamounts offensive coordinator Jake Bernhardt to Maryland Stadium in College Park on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. All three Bernhardts declined to comment, emphasizing that the game was about the teams, not the brothers.
- Loyola Maryland men will see a familiar face on No. 7 seed Denver’s sideline in graduate student midfielder Logan Devereaux, who compiled eight goals and six assists in four years with the Greyhounds. Loyola (9-5) and the Pioneers (12-4) will meet Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
- Mackenzie Heldberg, a graduate student attacker for Johns Hopkins, and Nicholle Marshall, a freshman defender for James Madison, played at Smithtown West High School in Smithtown, New York. The Blue Jays (8-6) and Dukes (11-4) clash Friday at 5 p.m.
- Kaitlin and Kerri Thornton, senior and junior attackers for the Towson women, Madison and Hannah Hobbes, senior midfielders, and Kerri and Nicole Liucci, junior midfielders, played with Kristin Quinn, a freshman midfielder for No. 8 seed Stony Brook, at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York. And Emilee Downs, a junior defender for the Tigers, and Lindsay Rongo, a sophomore defender for the Seawolves, were teammates at Westhampton High School in Westhampton, New York. Towson (9-8) and Stony Brook (14-2) tangle Friday at 12 p.m.