Local Lacrosse Roundup: Maryland Hosting Cornell in NCAA First Round For Second Straight Year

In its final season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Maryland men’s lacrosse team tied with Duke for the best conference record at 4-1. The Terps went 11-3 overall, and finished the season ranked ninth by Lacrosse Magazine. Maryland lost in the ACC semifinals 6-5 to ninth-ranked Notre Dame in Chester, Pennsylvania on April 25. The Terps received a seventh seed for the NCAA tournament, and will play Cornell in the first round at 5 p.m. on May 10 in College Park.

Maryland was led this season by senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, who had 28 goals and 16 assists. Senior goalie Niko Amato had a 7.19 goals against average, which was fourth-best in the country. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Connor Cannizzaro scored 20 goals and added 6 assists in his rookie season, and was named ACC Freshman of the Year. Head Coach John Tillman was named Coach of the Year. The Terps outscored their opponents 163-97 this season, and went 3-1 against their local opponents: Mount St. Marys (won 16-3 on February 8), Maryland-Baltimore County (won 14-3 on February 15), Johns Hopkins (lost 11-6 on April 12), and Navy (won 12-8 on April 19).

Johns Hopkins went 10-4 on the season, including 4-1 against its in-state opponents (Towson, Maryland, Loyola, UMBC and Navy.) The Blue Jays received an at-large bid to make the NCAA Tournament for a record 42nd time, and will play at eighth-seeded Virginia on May 11. Their first-round matchup will be a rematch of a game they played in Charlottesville on March 22, when the Blue Jays lost to the Cavaliers 11-10 in overtime.

The Loyola Greyhounds lost to Virginia 14-13 in their season opener on February 6. They haven’t lost since, finishing the season at 15-1, including an 8-0 mark in the Patriot League. The Greyhounds beat number 18 and two-time Patriot League champion Lehigh 16-7 in the championship game at the Ridley Athletic Complex on April 27, and finished the season ranked number one in Lacrosse Magazine. Loyola is the third seed in the tournament, and will host the University of Albany (N.Y.) on May 10.

As for the Towson Tigers, they had a mediocre season that ended on a down note. The Tigers went 8-7 (2-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association) during the regular season, and lost to Drexel 11-10 in overtime in the CAA Tournament semifinals on May 1.

The Maryland women had another dominant season. The Lady Terps went 19-1, only losing at North Carolina 17-15 on April 5. Maryland rebounded from that loss by finishing the regular season on a six-game winning streak (including the ACC Tournament at Boston College), beating Virginia and Virginia Tech twice, and then defeating Syracuse 13-7 on April 27 to win its sixth straight conference championship. The Lady Terps are the top overall seed in the Women’s Division I NCAA Tournament, and will have a first-round bye. They’ll play the winner of Canisius and Penn in the second round on May 11 in College Park.

The Johns Hopkins Lady Blue Jays went 15-4 (3-3 in the American Lacrosse Conference) this season. They defeated Penn State 13-10 in the ALC tournament quarterfinals on May 1 before losing to Florida 11-6 the following day. Hopkins will play Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Division I Lacrosse Tournament on May 9 at the University of North Carolina. It’s the first time the Lady Blue Jays have made the NCAA tournament in seven years.

Loyola went 14-5 (8-0 in the Patriot League), winning 12 out of their last 13 games. They received an at-large bid, and will play number 14 Massachusetts at Boston College on May 9. Towson went 11-7 (4-1 in the CAA), but ended their season in dramatic fashion. In the CAA championship game on May 4 in Williamsburg, Virginia, redshirt freshman midfielder Michelle Gildea scored with 35 seconds left in overtime to give the Lady Tigers a 12-11 win over James Madison for their third straight CAA lacrosse championship. Towson will play Stony Brook at Syracuse University on May 9 in the first round of the tournament.

The men’s national lacrosse championships will be at M&T Bank Stadium during Memorial Day weekend. The Division I semifinals will be on Saturday, May 24. The Division III national championship game will be on Sunday, May 25, and the Division I national championship game will be on May 26. The women’s national championship will be at Towson University on Friday, May 23.

UPDATED MAY 11

Upsets abounded in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament this weekend. One local did the upsetting, while another got upset.

In a rematch of their season opener in February, Johns Hopkins upset eighth-seeded Virginia 14-8 in Charlottesville. Attacker Wells Stanwick scored five goals, and Brandon Benn added four of his own to give head coach Dave Pietramala his 158th win at Hopkins, tying Bob Scott’s record for most wins by a men’s head lacrosse coach in program history. Hopkins scored four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to put the game away, and will play top seed and defending national champion Duke in the quarterfinals on May 18 at the University of Delaware.

Meanwhile, third-seeded Loyola was upset at home by the University of Albany, 13-6 on May 10. Great Danes goalie Blaze Riorden made 13 saves, and the Albany defense gave up their lowest goal total of the season. Justin Ward and Pat Laconi each scored twice, and goalie Jack Runkel made 11 saves for the Greyhounds.

Seventh-seeded Maryland needed a goal by senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk with two seconds left in regulation to give the Terps an 8-7 win, thwarting an upset bid by the Cornell Big Red in College Park. Maryland will play Bryant in a quarterfinal game on May 17 at Hofstra University.

In the women’s tournament, top seed Maryland beat Penn 13-5 in College Park on May 11. Taylor Cummings had a hat trick, and won 10 draws, leading the Lady Terps to a 17-3 advantage on draws. Maryland will host Duke on May 17. Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Boston College defeated Loyola 8-3. Georgetown edged Hopkins 9-8 on an overtime goal by Kelyn Freedman on May 9. It was the Hoyas’ first tournament win since 2006.

#4 seeded Maryland dominates #13 Army 90-52; moves on to second round of NCAA Tourney

Head coach Brenda Frese proudly looks on as her team battles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
Head coach Brenda Frese proudly looks on as her team battles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

Sunday, March 23 at Comcast Center in College Park, MD, the #4 seeded Maryland Terrapins faced off against the #13 Army Black Knights in round one of the NCAA Division One Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Terps, who are hosting rounds one and two of the tournament, entered with a 24-6 overall record; 12-4 in the ACC. The Black Knights were 25-7 overall; 14-4 in the Patriot League. The Terrapins, who played their last game on March 7 during the first round of the ACC Tournament (in which they lost 70-73 to North Carolina), met Army, champions of their conference (winning 68-58 over Holy Cross on March 15), for the first time ever. Army was making their sophomore debut at the big dance; meanwhile Maryland, a veteran, returned for the 22nd time, and 10th under head coach Brenda Frese.

Terrapins forward Alyssa Thomas scored the first points, but Army’s Jen Hazlett quickly tied the game. Maryland was able to take back and maintain the lead until 9:42 left in the first half when a three-pointer by Army’s Jean Parker tied up the game again at 15. Another three-pointer by Kelsey Minato put Army up by three. A layup by Terps’ Lexie Brown set off a 29-2 run in which the Terps headed to the locker room at half time leading 44-20. Army’s Kelsey Minato said, “it’s like we woke up a beast.”

The Terps returned in the second half with the same veracity, with guard Katie Rutan scoring all of her 11 points in the second half. Army changed their strategy in the second half, which led to freshman center Briona Jones guarding Army guards, something she wasn’t familiar with, but ultimately Maryland’s size, defense, transition game, and speed was too much for them and the Terps dominated the Black Knights 90-52. Maryland peaked at 5:36 left in the game with a 41 point lead.

“After we got the jitters out to start the game and both teams were really fired up, I thought we were able to really show what separates us and make us special. Our defense and our rebounding really led to transition. We were really able to use our depth today. We really shared the basketball. We made really easy plays; we were really having a lot of fun and that was just a tremendous game for us to be able to come out in this first round,” head coach Brenda Frese said after the game.

Freshman Lexie Brown scored a team-high of 21 points with three three-pointers. Sophomore Tierney Pfirman also entered double digits with 10. Senior Alyssa Thomas’s 13 points secured her place as Maryland’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Juan Dixon’s 2,269 career points. Thomas currently has a career record of 2,271 points and added another double-double to her stats.

Lexie Brown pulls up for a jumper. (photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
Lexie Brown pulls up for a jumper. (photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

Coach Brenda Frese credited Thomas for the Terp’s late run in the first half. “She gave us a great, calming presence in the timeout and gave great confidence to the entire team. We changed our defense. I thought some of the switches that we made defensively really helped us and we were able to get going with our transition.”

Leading for the Black Knights was guard Kelsey Minato with 27 points, followed by guard Jen Hazlett with nine points. The sole senior was emotional during the playing of the team’s alma mater and said during the post-game press conference, “It’s been a very memorable experience. It’s something that doesn’t come very often and for me has only happened once in my career. Thankfully I’m going out on kind of a high note.”

The Terrapins’ win today advances them to the second round where they will face fifth-seeded Texas on Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN2 and on ESPN3.com. Tickets are still available to see the game in person at umterps.com.