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Jays, Retrievers On Collision Course?

May 14, 2007

By Mark Sanfilippo

Last weekend’s NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament produced mixed results for area teams. While Towson and Loyola were taken down by dominant teams in dramatic fashion, Maryland lost to UMBC in a close game and Navy had a chance to win its pairing against North Carolina right up to the last quarter. Only Johns Hopkins and UMBC survived to move on to the next round.

Freshman midfielder Michael Kimmel scored Johns Hopkins' game-winning goal in overtime.  (Photo Courtesy of JHU Athletics).

Many fans wondered last week how, at 9-7, Towson was invited to the tournament. The Tigers beat some very good teams this season: Loyola (9-8), Delaware (10-9), Drexel (9-8), but also lost some close games in which they clearly should have prevailed: Maryland (8-7), Hofstra (9-8), Johns Hopkins (9-7). 

In the end, however, it did not matter. Whichever team played Cornell in the first round would have been dismantled. After the Big Red took a 5-0 lead in the first quarter, the game looked bleak for Towson. Despite a rally that saw Towson bring the score to 6-3 at one point, the contest was never really in doubt. Cornell, at this point, seems to be the 800-pound gorilla in the tournament.

Loyola, also lucky to make the tournament at 7-6, was hammered by Albany, 19-10, in upstate New York, leaving no doubt that the Great Danes plan on defending their early season ranking of No. 2 in the country. This one was 10-3 at halftime and had all the ingredients of a horror movie for the Greyhound faithful.

Navy dropped a heartbreaker to North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After taking a 4-3 lead near the end of the first quarter, the Midshipmen fought back and forth with a tough, disciplined Tar Heels squad. In the final quarter, the wheels fell off the cart for Navy as the UNC defense stiffened and the offense exploded for five goals to Navy’s one. The final score of 12-8 was not illustrative of the closeness of the contest.

Johns Hopkins pulled one out of the fire at Homewood Field when the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame arrived in Baltimore. It took about seven minutes into the third quarter for Hopkins finally to take a lead, 5-4. After leading by two goals in the final quarter, Hopkins allowed Notre Dame to tie the contest with .01 seconds on the clock to take the game into overtime. 

One minute into overtime, Hopkins midfielder Michael Kimmel sneaked one past the Notre Dame goalie to become the first freshman in Blue Jays’ history to win an overtime game in an NCAA tournament. 

The Blue Jays look ahead to facing Georgetown this weekend  in Princeton, N.J.


The UMBC players celebrated the team's 13-9 win over Maryland.
(Photo Courtesy of Mike Milchanowski)

UMBC has been a dark horse pick to make some noise in the tournament. A few weeks ago the Retrievers were picked to beat Albany, but lost to the Great Danes, 15-14. On Sunday, UMBC beat Maryland, 13-9, in a game that, despite the score, was rather one-sided. 

This coming weekend, UMBC will attempt to move on in the tournament by playing the University of Delaware in Annapolis. The Blue Hens, fresh off their upset victory over defending national champion Virginia, are no longer a big surprise. Delaware beat Towson for the CAA championship to get into the tournament and has had a solid season, capped by the shocker over the Cavaliers. 

After the second round, UMBC will play Johns Hopkins in a semifinal game at M&T Bank stadium. Baltimore lacrosse wins either way. 

Issue 2.20: May 17, 2007