Among the many tasty first-round games of the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament is one that will have Baltimore-area fans salivating.
Towson earned the No. 6 seed and will host Maryland at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. This will mark the first meeting between the programs since March 12, 2011, and the Tigers have lost the last nine games and are only 5-28 overall in the series.
Towson (11-4) captured the Colonial Athletic Association tournament crown over the weekend. The Tigers are seeded for the first time since 2005.
The Terps (11-4) grabbed one of the final at-large berths and are unseeded for the first time since 2012. It is believed that they edged Cornell for a spot in the 17-team field.
The Terps have lost their past two games and split their last six, and coach John Tillman acknowledged that Maryland was at the mercy of the selection committee.
“You just never know,” he said. “You can’t take anything for granted. There are so many good teams now and there are so few spots, it seems like. The last couple games have not gone our way, and we kind of left it up to somebody else and didn’t keep it in our hands. There’s nobody else to blame but myself for putting ourselves in that situation. To know that we have another day together, it’s something that’s exciting, and I’m fired up for that. This weekend, you kind of had to sit back and wait and hope that things broke our way.”
Loyola Maryland (11-4) lost to Army West Point in the Patriot League tournament final Friday night, but still was awarded the No. 8 seed and a first-round game at home by the selection committee. The Greyhounds, who are seeded eighth for the first time since 1995, will welcome Syracuse (9-4) to Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday at noon.
Loyola has won only five of 24 meetings with the Orange, but coach Charley Toomey welcomed the program’s first crack against Syracuse at home.
“I wasn’t really sure that we would be at home,” he said. “I thought maybe we had put ourselves in a little bit of a pickle with that. I felt very good about our numbers. Going into the Patriot League tournament, I thought we should be a team under strong consideration. … I’m excited that we’re at home. I think the boys were excited that we’re still playing.”
Johns Hopkins (8-7) defeated Maryland twice in five days, but will have to travel to No. 7 seed Notre Dame (8-6) for their first-round game on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The Blue Jays are unseeded for the fourth time in the last six years.
Johns Hopkins owns a 4-1 record against the Fighting Irish with all of the games taking place in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Jays won the last meeting in 2007, 11-10 in overtime.
UMBC (6-8), the America East champion, will participate in the play-in game against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titlist Marist (10-6) in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Retrievers earned a trip to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.
UMBC is 5-0 against the Red Foxes.
The eight seeds are No. 1 Penn State (14-1), No. 2 Duke (11-4), No. 3 and Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia (13-3), No. 4 and Ivy League titlist Penn (11-3), No. 5 and reigning NCAA champion Yale (12-3), Towson, Notre Dame and Loyola Maryland.
This year’s national semifinals and final will be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, May 25 at noon and 2:30 p.m. The title game is scheduled for Monday, May 27 at 1 p.m.
NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament schedule
First round, May 11 or May 12 (all games televised on ESPNU)
» Marist/UMBC at No. 1 seed Penn State, Sunday, noon
» Syracuse at No. 8 seed Loyola Maryland, Saturday, noon
» Georgetown at No. 5 seed Yale, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
» Army at No. 4 seed Penn, Saturday, 5 p.m.
» Robert Morris at No. 3 seed Virginia, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
» Maryland at No. 6 seed Towson, Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
» Johns Hopkins at No. 7 seed Notre Dame, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
» Richmond at No. 2 seed Duke, Sunday, 5 p.m.
Quarterfinals, May 18 or May 19
» Penn State/Marist/UMBC vs. Loyola/Syracuse
» Georgetown/Yale vs. Army/Penn
» Robert Morris/Virginia vs. Maryland/Towson
» Johns Hopkins/Notre Dame vs. Richmond/Duke
Semifinals, May 25
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, noon and 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Championship, May 27
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ESPN2