Maryland teams in the NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse tournament first round
Fairfield (13-6) at No. 8 seed Loyola Maryland (15-4)
When: Friday, 4 p.m.
Coaches: Laura Field, Fairfield; Jen Adams, Loyola
Players to Watch: Hannah Powers, junior, attack, Loyola; Brenna Connolly, senior, attack, Fairfield
Outlook: The Greyhounds return to the NCAA tournament after a year away and receive their first top-eight seed since 2012. Coming off a 17-10 loss to Navy in the Patriot League final, the Greyhounds received an at-large big while Fairfield automatically qualified by winning its third Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, 14-10, over Canisius. The Stags have never gotten past the first round. The Greyhounds, who played in the national final in 1997, reached the quarterfinals in 2015. The Greyhounds, whose RPI ranks 10th in Division I, have played a much tougher schedule than the Stags, 50th in RPI, who have not played a ranked team this season. This will be the teams’ first meeting.
Navy (16-3) vs. Johns Hopkins (10-8)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Loyola Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex
Coaches: Cindy Timchal, Navy; Janine Tucker, Johns Hopkins
Players to Watch: Jenna Collins, senior, midfield, Navy; Shannon Fitzgerald, senior, midfield, Johns Hopkins
Outlook: Navy, which reached the final four last season, made the tournament as the Patriot League champions. The Blue Jays received an at-large bid and return to the tournament after missing the cut last year. This will be the first meeting between the two. The Midshipmen are coming off a 17-10 win over Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League final. Navy is one of only two Division I teams with two players who’ve scored 100 or more points this season — Collins (River Hill) with 100 and sophomore midfielder Kelly Larkin with 103. The Blue Jays fell to top-seeded Maryland, 16-11, in the Big Ten semifinals. Four of their losses have come by one goal to NCAA tournaments teams — Towson, Northwestern, Penn and Penn State. The winner will take on the Loyola-Fairfield winner in Sunday’s second round at noon at Ridley.
Wagner (14-5) at No. 7 seed Towson (15-4)
When: Friday, 3 p.m.
Coaches: Katie Rowan, Wagner; Sonia LaMonica, Towson
Players to Watch: Lauren Ednie, senior, midfielder, Wagner; Olivia Conti, sophomore, defense, Towson
Outlook: Towson earned a top-eight seed and the chance to host the first two rounds for the first time in program history. The Tigers, who received an at-large big after falling to James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association final, will meet Wagner, a 13-9 winner over Mercer in Wednesday night’s play-in game. Wagner, the automatic qualifier from the Northeast Conference, had never won an NCAA tournament game until Wednesday and will meet Towson for the first time. The Tigers are in the tournament for the third straight year. Both teams’ defenses rank among the stingiest in Division I with the Tigers allowing 8.95 goals per game while the Seahawks give up 9.74. Both also boast one of their conference’s top players, Conti was CAA co-Defensive Player of the Year and Ednie was NEC Midfielder of the Year. However, Towson will be the first ranked opponent for the Seahawks this season. Wagner’s RPI is 58th in Division I while the Tigers rank seventh. The winner will meet the Northwestern-Richmond winner Sunday at noon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.