- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2002

Coach Mike Lonergan received a jolt of good news yesterday after Catholic was awarded homecourt advantage in the NCAA Division III tournament this weekend.
The Cardinals (26-2) will meet Clark (Mass.) University in one of two Sweet 16 games at DuFour Center on Friday night. Elizabethtown (Pa.) and Cabrini (Pa.) will play in the other. The winners advance to the Elite Eight game the next night.
"It was one of the better phone calls I've received in my life," Lonergan said. "I'm pleasantly surprised, I'll say that. But I also think it was the right thing to do."
Lonergan feared the Cardinals would be dispatched to Elizabethtown despite the team's national championship last season and impeccable run this season.
"I thought we had only a small chance to host the Sectionals," he said. "I'm pretty happy, to say the least."
The Cardinals have a 17-0 record at home this season and drew considerable support from their boisterous throng in a second-round game against Hampden-Sydney on Saturday night. The Cardinals defeated the Tigers 74-68 after freshman point guard Bobby Henning made four free throws and stole the ball in the final 12 seconds.
"It might have been a different story if the game had been played at their place," Lonergan said. "They might have shot the ball better, turned it over fewer times, and we might have been a little shakier at the start."
The shakiness goes with the team's youth. The Cardinals do not have a senior on their 14-player roster. They start freshman Henning at point guard, juniors Craig Avallone and Kevin Wise on the wings and junior Matt Hilleary and sophomore Will Morley in the post positions.
"I told our guys at the beginning of the season that if we took care of business at home, we could get back to the Final Four," Lonergan said.
The Cardinals now have the chance to carry out that prescription. The Final Four is the following weekend in Salem, Va.


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