WD1 Bracket Announcement: Maryland, Northwestern Lead Field of 26
With a perfect 19-0 record, Maryland earned the No. 1 seed in the largest NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament in history. The field expanded from 16 teams last year to 26 teams in 2013, in response the increased number of conferences sponsoring the sport. While the Terps are making their 29th postseason appearance, six other teams are in the big dance for the first time. Stony Brook, Denver, Jacksonville, High Point, Canisius and UConn will all play their first NCAA tournament games on May 11.
"I'm so glad we're at 26, and I'm so glad we're on the inside. It's awesome and I'm so excited for the team," Pioneers coach Liza Kelly said.
Kelly, who is also a longtime member of the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse committee, said the IWLCA had been pressing for tournament expansion since she was an assistant at Towson in the late 1990s.
"We had enough quality teams that the tournament needed to expand. With the great expansion we've seen, especially in the Atlantic Sun and in the Big South, and having 100 teams overall, having a 16-team bracket just didn't make sense. Under the old format, with that many teams, half the games would have been play-in games," she said.
The Pioneers and the Dolphins will meet in a first-round matchup between first-time NCAA tournament participants in Gainesville, Fla. The winner of the game will advance to play No. 5 seed Florida in the second round.
Under the new format, the top six seeds (in order, Maryland, Northwestern, North Carolina, Syracuse, Florida and Georgetown) get a first-round bye. Three teams will play at the host sites of the top six seeds, and four teams will play at the host of the seventh and eighth seeds. Penn State drew the No. 7 seed, and will play MAAC champion Canisius and will host the UMass-UConn first-round game. No. 8 Navy will play NEC champion Monmouth, and host the Duke-Princeton matchup.
With a 26-team tournament in a field of 100 total teams, there is much inclusion and no notable omissions. The ACC and the Big East were the best-represented conferences (5 teams each) following by the Ivy League and the ALC (3). The MPSF is sending two teams to the NCAA tournament for the first time in conference history.
"I think it's exciting for both for the University of Denver and for the MPSF," Kelly said.
NCAA Division I Women's Tournament First-Round Games
Friday, May 10 (all EST)
Stony Brook vs. Towson at College Park, Md., 7 p.m.
Duke vs. Princeton at Annapolis, Md., 7:15 p.m.
Monmouth at No. 8 Navy, 5 p.m.
Denver vs. Jacksonville at Gainesville, Fla., 4 p.m.
Boston College vs. Dartmouth at Syracuse, N.Y., 4 p.m.
Loyola vs. High Point at Chapel Hill, N.C., 5 p.m.
Penn vs. Virginia at Washington, D.C., 3 p.m.
Canisius at No. 7 Penn State, game time TBD
UMass vs. UConn at State College, Pa., game time TBD
Notre Dame vs. Stanford at Evanston, Ill., 8 p.m.