The Loyola Maryland men’s lacrosse team’s bid to capture its fifth overall Patriot League tournament championship and the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA postseason ended Sunday before it even began.
The Greyhounds and the league announced Sunday morning that the team was withdrawing from the tournament final due to a positive test for the coronavirus within its Tier 1 personnel, a group that includes players, coaches, and medical and equipment staff.
However, the selection committee still gave a Loyola a spot in the NCAA tournament, with the Greyhounds taking on No. 7 seed Denver on the road next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round. Loyola has not missed the NCAA postseason since 2015.
Maryland earned the No. 3 seed behind No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 2 seed Duke. The Terps will host Vermont in the first round Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Loyola (9-5), the No. 2 seed in the league tournament, had defeated No. 3 seed Navy, 16-9, on Tuesday night and No. 1 seed Army West Point, 11-10, on Friday night to advance to Sunday’s title game scheduled for 12 p.m. Instead, No. 1 seed Lehigh (10-1) was declared the tournament champion and the conference’s representative for the NCAA postseason.
A team spokesman declined further comment.
The Greyhounds had won the Patriot League tournament in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Maryland, which captured the Big Ten tournament crown Saturday night with a come-from-behind 12-10 victory over Johns Hopkins, was poised to be the only representative from the state at the NCAA tournament before Loyola was granted a spot. It would have been the first time in the history of the NCAA postseason since the field was expanded to 16 teams in 2003 that only one team from Maryland had earned a spot.
Johns Hopkins was the only school from the state in 1971, 1980, 1984 and 1985 when the field included only eight teams. The Blue Jays were the only representative in the state in the 2002 NCAA tournament when 12 teams played.
UMBC shared the America East regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed and the right to host the conference tournament, but was upset, 14-12, on Thursday afternoon by No. 4 seed Allbany.
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Johns Hopkins, the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten postseason, upended No. 3 seed Penn State, 15-7, on May 1 and No. 2 seed Rutgers, 12-10, on Thursday night before being unable to finish off the Terps on Saturday night.