by Todd Karpovich/Pressbox — The state of Maryland has long been regarded as the nation’s hotbed for lacrosse.
Four local schools validated that reputation by dominating their way through the first round of the 2016 NCAA lacrosse championship.
Top-seeded Maryland, No. 7 Loyola, Towson and Navy each advanced to the quarterfinals with impressive victories.
Towson pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament by knocking off defending national champion and second-seeded Denver, 10-9, in Colorado May 15. The Tigers advance to the quarterfinals May 22 against crosstown rival Loyola in Columbus, Ohio.
Despite winning the Colonial Athletic Association’s regular-season and conference tournament, the Tigers (16-2) were forced to play in the NCAA preliminary round, in which they ran Hobart off the field, 18-5, May 11. Just four days later and a cross-country flight, Towson took down the powerful Pioneers, who are the highest-ranked team Towson has beaten as a Division I program.
“We knew we’d have to earn it,” Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said to media after the game. “We knew we’d have to dig in, and obviously, they fit the billing for that, and they pushed us right to it. For our guys, it was the amount of character and heart and ability, and the true devotion to each other to persevere against a tough team and earn the win. I’m so proud of these guys.”
Spencer Parks (St. Paul’s) led Towson with four goals and two assists, while Mike Lynch (Boys’ Latin) and Joe Seider (Hereford) put away two goals each. Tyler White staked his claim as the best goalie in the nation with six of his 13 saves coming during the crucial fourth quarter.
Towson faces another tough test against the seventh-seeded Greyhounds, who avenged a regular-season loss to Duke with a 16-11 victory May 14.
Freshman sensation Pat Spencer (Boys’ Latin) scored three goals and had five assists, while Zach Herreweyers tied a career high with six goals. Freshman goalie Jacob Stover (McDonogh) also came up big, finishing with a season-high 16 saves. Loyola was stellar defensively, forcing 14 turnovers.
Loyola also held All-American attackman Myles Jones, who entered the game with 33 goals and 34 assists, scoreless. Towson beat Loyola, 10-8, March 2 at the Ridley Athletic Complex. Both teams have made significant strides since that meeting.
Top-Seeded Maryland Takes Care Of Business
No. 1 Maryland had little trouble during its first-round game, dispatching Quinnipiac, 13-6, May 15. Senior midfielders Bryan Cole and Henry West and junior attackman Matt Rambo each scored three goals for Maryland. Freshman Austin Henningsen won 14-of-17 faceoffs to set the tone.
The Terps, who extended their winning streak to a NCAA Division I-best 14 games, advance to the quarterfinals against No. 8 Syracuse May 21 at Brown University.
Navy Upsets Fourth-Seeded Yale On The Road
The Navy men’s lacrosse team used a familiar script of dominant defense and an opportunistic offense to knock off fourth-seeded Yale, 13-10, May 15. It was the Midshipmen’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009 and first tournament victory since 2008.
Navy, which has the nation’s second-ranked defense, held the Bulldogs to three goals during the second half. Goalie John Connors had 12 saves. Sophomores Casey Rees (Boys’ Latin) and Jack Ray had hat tricks to lead the Midshipmen’s attack.
“It was a complete team win, team effort,” Navy head coach Rick Sowell said. “We were finally able to get our offense back on track and our faceoff game, too. We have one of the best defenses in the country, and John is one of the best goalkepeers in the country.”
The Midshipmen advance to play fifth-seeded Brown (15-2) May 21 in Providence, R.I.
Johns Hopkins Falls In First Round
Johns Hopkins was knocked out of the NCAA tournament with a 17-8 loss to fifth-seeded Brown. Senior Holden Cattoni and junior Cody Radziewicz each had two goals for the Blue Jays, who finished the season 8-7.
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