NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament brackets released

If Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse hopes to break through to its first Final Four in more than two decades, it will have to do so on the road.

Despite victories over four teams in the NCAA Tournament field and a 17-2 record, the Greyhounds were denied a chance to host first- and second-round games as the 29-team bracket was unveiled Sunday night.

Instead, Loyola will meet Duke (10-8) in a first-round game on Friday at 4 p.m. in Philadelphia. The winner of that matchup will face either No. 8 seed Penn (13-4) or Richmond (13-5) — who play on Friday at 7 p.m. — in a second-round tilt on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Greyhounds, who last advanced to the Final Four in 2003, captured their eighth Patriot League Tournament championship in 10 years on Saturday, outlasting Navy, 12-11, in overtime at Ridley Athletic Complex. They earned wins against Florida, Johns Hopkins, Penn State and Princeton during the regular season, but they also suffered losses to Penn and Syracuse — two teams that will serve as hosts.

Coach Jen Adams didn’t begrudge the selection committee for not awarding them with the right to host first- and second-round games.

“I think at this point, there are just so many great teams,” she said. “While we would have loved for an opportunity to host a first-round game, the selection committee decided our body of work wasn’t good enough. I think our girls wish they could take back those losses to Penn and Syracuse, and I think it could have been a very different story, and that just paints the picture of what we tell them at the beginning of every season. You’ve got to take care of your own business and leave those questions out of the decision-makers’ hands. At the end of the day, we’re just really excited for the chance to keep our season alive and keep playing.”

Loyola’s joy was mitigated by profound disappointment at Navy (15-4), which had clung to the hope that it might draw an at-large berth from the selection committee. But the Midshipmen and Colorado were the first two teams left out of the field as the committee chose to reward Fairfield (16-2) and Duke (10-8).

The Stags owned a higher RPI than Navy (16 versus 22), but the Midshipmen’s strength of schedule was better (43 versus 59). Although the Blue Devils’ strength of schedule was better than Navy’s (12 versus 43), the Midshipmen’s RPI was higher than Duke’s (31), and the former owned a 10-9 victory over the latter on Feb. 9 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

“We thought we had a wonderful opportunity, based on our RPI, to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament,” Navy coach Cindy Timchal said. “The selection committee just didn’t get it right. So it’s really difficult to understand. I think it’s something the NCAA needs to justify. You need to look at RPI, wins and losses and head-to-head. I don’t know how you get past the head-to-head.”

Despite a 4-5 record in its last nine games, Maryland (12-5) earned the No. 4 seed and will face Robert Morris (8-11) on Friday at noon at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex in College Park. This marked the 34th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Terps.

The winner of the other first-round game in College Park between Penn State (11-7) and James Madison (13-5) at 3 p.m. will advance to Sunday’s second round at 12:30 p.m.

Johns Hopkins (11-7) will clash with Fairfield (16-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. in New Haven, Connecticut. No. 6 seed Yale (15-2) will tangle with Binghamton (12-6) in the other first-round matchup at 1 p.m., and the winners of the two games will meet in Sunday’s second-round game at 2:30 p.m.

Johns Hopkins highlights men’s bracket

On the men’s side, Johns Hopkins (10-4) earned the No. 3 seed and will host Patriot League Tournament champion Lehigh (9-6) in a first-round game on Sunday at noon at Homewood Field in Baltimore. The seed marked the Blue Jays’ highest since 2012 when that squad was the No. 2 seed.

“I’m proud of the guys for putting together a good regular season, and I thought they earned the three seed,” Johns Hopkins coach Peter Milliman said. “It’s exciting to be in the tournament, it’s exciting to have a home game, and we’re just looking forward to the next challenge, the next opportunity to be together.”

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The Blue Jays and Mountain Hawks have never met in the NCAA postseason.

Maryland (8-5), which qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive year, was awarded the No. 7 seed and will host Princeton (11-4) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Terps defeated the Tigers, 13-7, at SECU Stadium in College Park on Feb. 24.

Towson (13-3), which swept the Coastal Athletic Association regular-season and tournament crowns, will visit No. 4 seed Syracuse (11-5) on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in New York. The Tigers will make their first appearance in the NCAA postseason since 2019 and will face the Orange for the first time since 2017 when Towson emerged with a 10-7 upset of then-No. 2 seed Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

Baltimore Sun Media reporter Bill Wagner contributed to this article.