A loss to Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten championship game didn't derail the Maryland men's lacrosse team from becoming the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Losses by Yale and Denver in their conference title games played into the Terps' favor. Now, the table is set for Maryland (12-3) to make a run at a second consecutive national championship.
The Terps finished the season atop the RPI rankings, despite losses to No. 2 Albany, No. 15 Ohio State and the fifth-ranked Blue Jays.
That impressive resume was enough to propel Maryland to the top of the NCAA Tournament bracket. The Terps play the winner of Canisius and Robert Morris at noon May 13 in College Park, Md.
"I know our numbers were pretty good but also looking at a team like an Albany and Johns Hopkins and Yale, they had great seasons, too," Maryland head coach John Tillman said. "So it was hard to tell."
The Terps have been dominant in the postseason under Tillman, advancing to the NCAA semifinals six times. Last year, Maryland earned its first national championship in 42 seasons.
This season, the Terps have been balanced at both ends of the field.
Maryland is scoring 11.67 goals per game and allowing 9.20. Senior midfielder Connor Kelly has been dominant and ranks ninth in the nation with 73 points. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt has created matchup problems on the attack and scored 33 goals with 14 assists. He was also named first-team All-Big Ten.
Senior goalie Dan Morris and defensemen Curtis Corley and Bryce Young have frustrated opposing attacks throughout much of the season.
Maryland has won 10 or more games for 16 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in Division I lacrosse. Tillman does not plan to deviate from the strategy that has made his team successful.
"We have to stay true to what we've been doing all year," Tillman said. "We do have a philosophy and a process. There's a way we like to do things."
Other Division I Tournament Action
No. 6 Loyola vs. No. 10 Virginia, 7:15 p.m., May 12
The sixth-seeded Greyhounds (12-3) earned their third consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 15-8 victory against Lehigh in the Patriot League championships April 29. Virginia (12-5) earned an at-large bid after losing to Notre Dame, 17-7 in the ACC title game April 29. The Cavaliers, who were left out of the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons, beat Loyola, 13-12, in the double overtime in the season opener Feb. 10. The Greyhounds attack, led by junior Pat Spencer, is ranked fifth in the nation with 13.60 goals per game. The winner of this game faces the winner of third-seeded Yale and UMass in the quarterfinals at James M. Shuart Stadium, in Hempstead, N.Y., May 19.
No. 5 Johns Hopkins vs. No. 12 Georgetown, 5 p.m., May 13
The fifth-seeded Blue Jays (11-4) are making their record 46th NCAA Tournament appearance and are one of two Big Ten teams in the 17-team bracket, along with No. 1 Maryland. The Hoyas (12-4) earned an automatic bid by winning the Big East tournament championship. Georgetown is tied for sixth in the nation by allowing eight goals per game. Johns Hopkins attack is ranked ninth nationally with 12 goals per game. The winner of the Johns Hopkins-Georgetown game advances to the NCAA quarterfinals against either Duke or Villanova at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium May 12.
Division III Tournament
No. 7 Salisbury vs. Morrisville St. (N.Y.), 7 p.m., May 9
The Seagulls (16-3) earned an automatic bid and first-round bye in the Division III NCAA Tournament by winning their 21st CAC title with an 11-8 victory against then-No. 2 York College in the title game May 5. This is Salisbury's 30th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 36th trip overall. The Mustangs (12-7) advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year by winning the North Eastern Athletic Conference championship. Morrisville beat Eastern University, 8-7, in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament May 8.
Stevenson at No. 15 Ithaca, 4 p.m., May 9
The Mustangs (12-6) have experience and are making their 10th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Stevenson won the 2013 national championship and reached the semifinals in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The Bombers (15-3) earned an at-large bid are making their 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2016.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics