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Terps are top overall seed in NCAA men's lacrosse tournament for second straight year

After going 29 years without earning the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I tournament, the Maryland men's lacrosse team has now grabbed that distinction two years in a row.

The Terps were awarded the top seed in the postseason as the 17-team bracket was unveiled Sunday night. The Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion will begin its campaign to capture the program's first national title since 1975 when it hosts the winner of Wednesday's play-in game between Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament titlist Monmouth (14-3) and Northeast Conference tournament champion Bryant (10-7) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Maryland Stadium in College Park.

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Saturday night's 10-9 win against Ohio State in Columbus in the Big Ten title game capped an eight-day stretch for Maryland (12-3) that included victories against the Buckeyes, Johns Hopkins and Penn State – three teams that earned top-eight seeds in the NCAA tournament.

"I think obviously the last eight days kind of looking back at everything and kind of looking at the selections tonight and kind of realizing that in the last eight days, we played three teams that are now hosting in the first round and are top-eight seeds, I think there was a lot that went into that," Terps coach John Tillman said. "I thought we could be in a lot of different places, but in giving credit to our guys, the ability to fight our way through it against some really good teams and to get those wins, I think that probably got us pushed up a little bit higher."

Despite losing to Ohio State in a Big Ten semifinal Thursday night, Johns Hopkins was bestowed the No. 6 seed and will welcome Duke (12-4) to Homewood Field in Baltimore on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. It will be the program's first home game in the NCAA tournament since 2012.

The Blue Jays (8-6) have dropped their past two games and three of their past five, but polished their profile with a Rating Percentage Index and a strength of schedule that ranked in the top 10 in the country.

"We felt like we had every opportunity to be a seeded team," coach Dave Pietramala said. "If you look at the numbers, that's the way the numbers bear out. So we thought we could and hoped we would, but you never know. … We're excited to be at home. We've been good at home, and we have not been quite as good on the road. But in this tournament, no matter what, to be able to get to the championship and win one, you've got to be able to win on the road. But we certainly have a tremendous challenge ahead of us with a terrific Duke team."

Loyola Maryland, the Patriot League's regular-season and tournament champion, will go on the road and clash with No. 3 seed Ohio State (13-4) on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Greyhounds (10-5) have not played since dismantling Army West Point, 13-4, on April 30, but will make their fifth appearance in the last six NCAA tournaments.

"We had an opportunity to watch Ohio State play a couple times over the weekend, and that's really been my first look at them," coach Charley Toomey said. "They're a very impressive team – big, strong, athletic. In my opinion, they might have one of the best freshmen in the country [in attackman Tre Leclaire]. We know we've got our hands full."

Towson also will travel, tangling with No. 7 seed Penn State (12-3) on Saturday at noon. The Tigers (10-4) added their third straight Colonial Athletic Association tournament crown to the regular-season title they had collected with a 9-4 defeat of Massachusetts on Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.

"We're excited that we've earned this opportunity to be in the tournament after winning the CAA championship," coach Shawn Nadelen said. "We knew we were going to have to face somebody. We're glad we don't have to hop on a flight, which we did the past couple of years. And Penn State's somewhat of a familiar foe being that they were in the CAA [as recently as 2014] and that we actually scrimmaged them in the fall. So we're excited about the opportunity."

Aside from Maryland and Johns Hopkins, the other six teams awarded seeds and home games in the first round were No. 2 Syracuse (12-3), No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Notre Dame (8-5), No. 5 Denver (11-3), No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 Albany (14-2).

edward.lee@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EdwardLeeSun

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