- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

Virginia and Georgetown collected two of the six at-large bids to the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, while Maryland and Navy were left out of the 12-team field, which was announced last night.
The Cavaliers (10-3), who were seeded third, earned a bye and will play the winner of No. 6 Cornell and Stony Brook on May 19 at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The fifth-seeded Hoyas (11-2) just missed a first-round bye after falling to Syracuse 15-14 on Saturday and will play Manhattan (11-5), the automatic qualifier from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, on Sunday at Delaware. Johns Hopkins (No. 1), Syracuse (No. 2) and Princeton (No. 4) also earned byes.
"This year it was pretty exciting to play our way in," said coach Dave Urick, whose Hoyas are playing in their sixth straight tournament. "Obviously we're all relieved. [Making the tournament] wasn't an assumption safe to make."
Maryland (9-4) failed to make the field for just the second time since 1991 after falling by one goal in each of its losses, including three in overtime. Navy (7-5) suffered one-goal losses against Johns Hopkins, Maryland and North Carolina and missed the tournament for the third straight season.
Meanwhile, the Maryland women's team, winners of the last seven national titles, earned a spot in the 16-team field. The Terps (10-9) will travel to Loyola for their first round game on Thursday. Virginia (14-3) will face visiting Temple on that day and 2001 national runner-up Georgetown (14-1) will play host to Lafayette.
The men's selection committee took Cornell and Duke, both of which had wins over top-five teams, as its final two at-large teams. The Blue Devils also beat the Terrapins twice but not Hofstra, which has the biggest reason to complain today. The Pride won their last nine and beat Carolina (12-7) and Duke (14-6) in the last two weeks. The Blue Devils, despite six losses, probably got in on the strength of their ACC championship run, which included a win against then-No. 1 Virginia. Duke coach Mike Pressler also served on the selection committee.
"We were unlucky most of the year," said first-year Maryland coach Dave Cottle. The former Loyola coach who saw his streak of 14 straight NCAA appearances snapped. "We did an awful lot of things right, but it's a crazy year with only six teams. We're gonna change our schedule it looks like you can get in playing five through 15, not one through four. We've added Georgetown, and we're looking at Hofstra and trying to add Syracuse."
With a 16-team field next season, there will be nine at-large bids, and all of the quality teams will advance. But not this season, when a team had to secure a big win to get in the tournament. Of the six-at large teams, the top-four seeds all had quality victories. Georgetown dropped Duke, Cornell and Loyola, while Cornell beat Syracuse.
"We kept trying to find a scenario to get ourselves in," Cottle said. "I believe we're one of the top six teams in country. We could win one or more games in the tournament. We play defense better than anyone else."
But the Terps defense, which returns its goalie and three close defensemen next season, will have to wait until next spring. Maryland's ACC rival Virginia, however, has all the pieces in place to make a run at the national title, which it won in 1999. If the Cavaliers do make a run, it will be without defenseman Mark Koontz, who will undergo surgery tomorrow on his left knee.
"I think we have a chance to be better. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "We're in position to compete, and I feel good about this team. I think we have pretty good energy. We've lost Mark, but we've got a realistic shot, and we'll try to take care of it."
Georgetown should get past Manhattan with ease but then will have to play the toughest tournament team of the last decade, Princeton. The Tigers, the defending national champions and winner of six of the last 10, will face the Georgetown-Manhattan winner May 18 at Hofstra in West Hempstead, N.Y.
"We have to stay focused on Manhattan," Urick said. "We can't look ahead to Princeton. We have enough good solid leadership at the top [to get it done]."


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