On the heels of a school-record 13 straight wins and its first Big Ten Tournament title, the Maryland men’s lacrosse team locked up the top-overall seed in the NCAA tournament Sunday, marking the first time the program has earned a No. 1 seed since 1987.
Maryland (14-2), which blitzed through the Big Ten Tournament with a combined 30 goals in wins over Penn State and Rutgers to earn an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament, will host the winner between Quinnipiac and Hartford next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in College Park. Maryland is 2-0 all-time against Hartford but has never met Quinnipiac. The Terrapins lead the country with 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and are making their 39th trip in school history.
Maryland Coach John Tillman said Sunday night that his team would not talk about being the top-overall seed when it gathers for practice on Monday. But he added that the Terrapins, who have only been a No. 1 seed six times in school history and only twice since 1976, “won’t hide” from the No. 1 seed in the field.
“It will probably never get brought up in our locker room, to be honest with you,” Tillman said. “The guys, what they were able to do the last two weeks, get that regular season and then the conference championship, like that meant a lot to all of us.”
Should Maryland advance next Sunday, it would meet the winner between No. 8 seed Syracuse (11-4) and Albany in the quarterfinals Providence, R.I. on May 21. Denver earned the tournament’s second seed, while Notre Dame (10-3), Yale (13-2) and Brown (14-2) round out the top five seeds. Navy (10-4), which was dominated by Army in the Patriot League semifinals last week, will meet Yale in the first round next week.
“Every game is going to be hard. People don’t get here by accident. They win conferences, they beat good teams,” Tillman said. “Rankings really don’t mean anything during the year, and really, they get thrown out here. We feel very blessed to win the automatic qualification from the Big Ten Tournament. ”
In the women’s bracket, two-time defending national champion Maryland (19-0) earned the top-overall seed after holding off Northwestern to win the Big Ten Tournament championship on Sunday. The Terrapins will meet the winner of this week’s play-in game between Johns Hopkins and Virginia next Sunday in College Park. Maryland owns wins over both of those schools during the regular season, beating Johns Hopkins, 10-8, on April 6 and following up with a dominant 17-6 win over Virginia two weeks later.
Sunday’s announcement marks the first time in NCAA tournament history that one school has had both a men’s and women’s lacrosse teams as the No. 1 overall seeds during the same season.