By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
11:26 PM EDT, May 5, 2013
After 41 consecutive appearances in the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, No. 13 Johns Hopkins was left out of the 16-team field when it was announced Sunday night. The program's run had been the longest active streak in Division I in all sports — just ahead of Miami baseball (40 straight) and Virginia men's soccer (32).
"We're very disappointed," Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. "It was not how we set out to have this thing finish. I'm certainly disappointed for our team and our seniors. But that being said, you play a season and we had plenty of opportunities to earn our way into the tournament. Obviously, we didn't do that. The selection committee didn't feel like our body of work was deserving of an at-large bid. So you look at it exactly for what it is. It's disappointing. Obviously, the streak is a wonderful thing. I'm less concerned about a streak and more concerned about getting our team where I think we need to be."
Among area programs, Loyola, Maryland and Towson found out their first-round opponents Sunday night.
The Greyhounds (11-4), who won the national title last season, will travel to meet seventh-seeded Duke (12-5) on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. in the first round. Loyola narrowly avoided the indignity of joining the 1972 Cornell team and the 2004 Virginia squad as missing the NCAA tournament a year after winning the national title.
"What we wanted was an opportunity to take the practice field again," coach Charley Toomey said. "Having tasted the tournament, I can remember last year saying it gets better every week that you advance. The first round's great, but it's a little more magical to go to the quarterfinal and then out of the quarterfinal, that week is very special because it's the final four. These guys had had that taste, and I think that's what they wanted."
The Terps (10-3), who have advanced to the past two NCAA tournament finals, were awarded the sixth seed and will play host to Cornell (12-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park.
Towson (10-7), which upset Penn State, 11-10, to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament Friday and seize the automatic qualifier, will visit third-seeded Ohio State (12-3) on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Syracuse, which won the Big East tournament after defeating Villanova, 13-9, on Saturday, was awarded the top overall seed. The Orange (13-3) will open against Bryant (8-10), the champion of the Northeast Conference tournament, on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
But the story of the night was the absence of Hopkins, winner of nine NCAA titles. Despite a 9-5 record that included a 7-4 victory over Maryland on April 13, the Blue Jays did not have another quality win on their schedule and ranked just 17th in RPI.
Loyola missed out on a seed and a home game in the first round after losing to Ohio State in an Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament semifinal on Thursday night. The Greyhounds are just 3-6 when opening the NCAA tournament on the road.
Maryland was the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, but suffered a 13-6 loss to Virginia in the semifinal round on April 19. But the Terps' 18-6 rout of Colgate Saturday secured the program only its second home game in the first round in the last five years.
"We're excited to be part of the second season," coach John Tillman said. "It's certainly an honor to be part of the playoffs, and you realize that any game is going to be challenging at this time of the year. Cornell is just a terrific program, and they have a really talented team. You know there are no easy games, and this is certainly a team that we have a ton of respect for – the tradition of Cornell and what they've done all year."
Towson opened the season with three straight losses — including 9-7 to High Point, which had never previously won a game on the Division I level. The Tigers are seeking their first win in the NCAA tournament since 2003.
"Obviously, we're excited to be in the tournament, and we've worked hard for it," coach Shawn Nadelen said. "I'm proud of our guys to get us there, and we strongly believe that we can play with any team in the country. We play a very tough schedule and Ohio State is an extremely talented team."
In Division III, Salisbury, the reigning national champion and winner of 10 NCAA titles, was awarded an at-large bid despite losing to St. Mary's, 13-11, in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament final Sunday. The Sea Gulls (14-5) will host Susquehanna on Wednesday in the first round.
In other first-round action Wednesday, Stevenson (17-2), the Middle Atlantic Conference tournament champion, will welcome Christopher Newport. Washington College (12-4) will host to Colorado College, and St. Mary's (12-6) will travel to Lynchburg.
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