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NCAA men’s lacrosse selection day: Lehigh (home game), Princeton make Division I field; Cabrini, Eastern to meet

Sunday, 6th May 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/6/12
From Press Releases and Staff Reports

Lehigh earned a home game and Princeton an at-large berth in the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament field announced tonight.

Meanwhile in Division III, Cabrini (Colonial States Athletic Conference champion) and Eastern (Middle Atlantic Conference) – two schools that sit across the street from each other in Radnor Township – will meet in the first round of the Division III tournament. More details on that location and time will be released Monday.

The Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks (7th seed, 14-2) are making their first trip to the NCAA tournament and will host Maryland (9-5) of the Atlantic Coast Conference next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round.

Princeton (11-4), the runner-up of the Ivy League, will play at defending national champion Virginia (5th seed, 11-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Owning a school-record 14 victories and the second most wins in the nation, Lehigh’s game will air live nation-wide on ESPNU. The Mountain Hawks earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth via their 16-14 win over Colgate in the Patriot League Championship Game.

“I was pretty calm because I knew we were in,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “I had a feeling in might be Maryland; I think a lot of the prognosticators thought it might be Maryland. We’re excited. We’re very privileged to have the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. Our kids deserve it; they’ve worked so hard.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Cassese continued. “I’m so happy for our team, so happy for our seniors. What a year to be a part of Lehigh Athletics.”

Lehigh enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning 13 of its last 14 games. The Mountain Hawks played three teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament this season, owning a 3-1 record with wins against North Carolina (9-8), Yale (11-7) and Colgate (16-14) while falling to the Raiders during the regular season (11-10 in overtime).

“I’m excited we get to host it here at Lehigh,” said Cassese. “What a great opportunity, not only for Lehigh but also the Lehigh Valley. Hopefully we get a great crowd on Sunday night.”

The Mountain Hawks have won five straight games at the Ulrich Sports Complex since their home opening defeat to Villanova. The winner of Lehigh-Maryland will face the winner of #2 Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook in the National Quarterfinals on May 19 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

Lehigh and Maryland have met six times in their history, but not since 1940. The sides met five times in a six-year span from 1923-28, with Lehigh’s only victory coming in 1924 (3-0).

The Terrapins advanced to the National Championship Game last season as an unseeded team, defeating #8 seed North Carolina, #1 Syracuse and #5 Duke before falling to #7 Virginia. This marks Maryland’s 10th straight NCAA Tournament appearance as it enters with a 9-5 record after falling to Colgate Saturday, 13-11. The Terps earned signature wins against Johns Hopkins and Duke, seeded second and third, respectively.

Four of the Round of 16 winners will meet in the quarterfinals the following weekend at PPL Park in Chester. The other four will head to Annapolis to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The 2012 NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament field:

No. 1 Loyola vs. Canisius

No. 8 North Carolina vs. Denver

No. 5 Virginia vs. Princeton

No. 4 Notre Dame vs. Yale

No. 2 Johns Hopkins vs. Stony Brook

No. 7 Lehigh vs. Maryland

No. 3 Duke vs. Syracuse

No. 6 UMass vs. Colgate

Princeton happy with at-large berth

ESPN’s Paul Carcaterra called Princeton lucky to be in the NCAA tournament, and to that Chris Bates had this to say: “Absolutely.”

The Princeton men’s lacrosse team sweated out a brutal six hours between its 15-7 loss to Yale in the Ivy League tournament final and the announcement of the NCAA tournament pairings, to the point where the team decided not to get
together to watch the show because of the potential for disappointment.

And then it all changed to elation, when the Tigers found out that they’d be playing at fifth-seeded Virginia Sunday at 1 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

“All afternoon, I though the tea leaves didn’t look like they’d lead into the tournament,” says Bates, who watched the show alone at home with his son Nick. “I look at it and I’m surprised. I’m shocked actually. They didn’t
want to get together and watch, and I was just waiting an dhoping.”

The first matchup announced was Loyola, the top seed, against Canisius. The second was Denver against No. 8 North Carolina – and it appeared that the addition of Denver might have meant Princeton was doomed.

Instead, the Virginia-Princeton matchup was revealed next. Once it was, everything changed in a blink.

“In my mind, we can beat anyone,” says Bates. “I can’t wait to see our team again and get fired up and get going. I have faith that we are one of the best teams in the country.”

The task in the first round won’t be easy, as Virginia is the defending champion. The Cavaliers are 11-3 and are led by Steele Stanwick, the 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner and the all-time leader in points scored at UVa.

Still, Princeton was flying high prior to Sunday’s game against Yale, who will play Notre Dame in the first round. The winner of the Princeton-UVa game will then play the winner of the Notre Dame-Yale game in the
quarterfinals.

This article will be updated.

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