Monday, May 4, 2009

Hopkins, Navy, UMBC, Maryland in Men's Lacrosse NCAA Tournament

The selection committee has decided, and four teams from the state of Maryland will head to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament, Johns Hopkins, Navy, UMBC, and Maryland will compete. Loyola reportedly is the last team out of the equation.

With this tournament, the top-8 teams are seeded due to committee selections, then the other eight are filled in. Let's take a real early look at the first round matchups:

8-seed Johns Hopkins vs. Brown
Brown is a scrappy squad that recently defeated Cornell, the 5-seed of the tournament. They play nearly everyone close, and so does Hopkins, so this will be a close matchup that may go down to the wire. The Bears are 12-2 and led by Andrew Feinberg with 54 points including nine man-up goals. Homewood won't see many goals in its final game, but the offenses will both be tested.

Maryland vs. 7-seed Notre Dame
Well this is certainly the eye-opener. Not only is Notre Dame the last undefeated team in Division I, but this will be a homecoming for Will Yeatman, though I doubt he will enjoy it. The knock on the Fighting Irish is that they had a relatively easy schedule, but undefeated is undefeated. Five players have between 32 and 42 points and they only allow about six goals per game. This will be another close game, though Maryland is 9-6 they have taken many teams to the brink. Yeatman may not enjoy the homecoming, but this will be a big matchup to watch.

UMBC vs. 6-seed North Carolina
Don Zimmerman will go back to a place where he used to be an assistant. This is a great matchup for UMBC; their senior midfield against a backup goalie as UNC's Grant Zimmerman (no relation) is out with injury. The Tar Heels under new coach Joe Breschi are faster and more athletic. Sophomore Billy Bitter has 60 points and is a dangerous attack. This game may come down to time of possession, but both are strong and should be a good matchup.

Navy vs. 3-seed Duke
Navy will not enjoy this matchup; there was some talk about Duke being the one-seed of the tournament. Duke is led by Tewaaraton candidate Ned Crotty on offense, plus Max Quinzani. Navy is known for defense and Tommy Phelan and company will be tested against the strong offense. If the Mids can play their style, the game will be close, but it will be tough for them to compete.

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