Navy Women Draw Third-Seeded North Carolina in First Round of NCAA Lacrosse Tournament
The upstart Midshipmen will meet ACC power and third-seeded North Carolina on Saturday in Chapel Hill
May 10, 2010
2010 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Bracket | Postseason Central
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - One day after securing the program's first NCAA Tournament berth, the Navy women's lacrosse team gathered to watch the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Selection Show which revealed that the Patriot League champion Midshipmen (17-3) will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face third-seeded North Carolina (15-2) Saturday afternoon. Game time is set for 12:00 p.m. at Fetzer Field.
"We're excited," said head coach Cindy Timchal, who has led this upstart Navy program to the NCAA Tournament in just its third varsity season. "We knew coming in that we would be playing one of the top teams. We are excited about playing and we know that anything can happen in this tournament.
"We obviously have a tremendous amount of respect for North Carolina. They are playing great lacrosse, they really have put together two-straight terrific seasons and they are the only team this season to find a way to beat Northwestern. We know it's going to be a tough game, but we will be well prepared. Navy will put it all out on the line and see how things play out."
Navy has enjoyed a record-setting season, capturing its first Patriot League title and producing a program-best 17 wins en route to the program's inaugural NCAA Tournament berth.
Only two Division I programs have qualified for the national tournament quicker than the Mids' meteoric three-year rise, as a Timchal-led Northwestern outfit and North Carolina both earned national tournament invites in their respective program's second varsity season.
The Mids are led by 2010 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and the nation's leading scorer Erin Rawlick (74 g, 34 a). Rawlick, along with sophomore teammate and Second-Team All-Patriot League attacker Danielle Vivonetto (62 g, 6 a) are the nation's top scoring tandem with 136 goals and 176 points between them. Juniors Caitlin Mandrin Hill gives the Mids a third 60-point scorer with 32 goals and 28 assists, while three-time conference all-star Katrina Nietsch gives the well-balanced attack another weapon with 30 goals and 13 assists to her credit.
North Carolina, who received one of the eight at-large bids, is making its sixth-straight and 12th NCAA Tournament appearance since the program's inception in 1996. The 2009 Carolina team made the program's fourth NCAA Final Four appearance and reached the national championship game for the first time.
The Tar Heels, who are under the direction of 15th-year head coach Jenny Levy, own a 15-2 overall mark with wins over six tournament-bound teams, including top-seed Maryland and five-time defending champion Northwestern.
North Carolina temporarily took over the nation's top ranking earlier this spring after famously ending Northwestern's 41-game win streak with an 18-16 win on April 18 in Evanston, Ill. The Tar Heels, who returned 10 starters from last year's national runner-up squad, boast both a prolific offense, averaging nearly 15 goals per game, and a shutdown defense, which ranks third nationally allowing only 6.94 goals per contest.
Saturday's match-up will mark the first contest between the two programs. It will be Navy's second foray against an ACC opponent, after visiting then-No. 3 Duke in Durham earlier this spring. While that contest wound up in a 19-10 Navy defeat, the experience is something the Mids will look to build on this weekend.
"It's a blessing that we have played Duke this season," added Timchal. "Ironically our first opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament will be against another ACC school. I think that it will definitely help us having been down there before. We'll know what to expect and we'll be ready."
2010 Div. I NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament
Saturday, May 15
Marist (10-7) at No. 1 Maryland (18-1), 12 noon
Navy (17-3) at No. 3 North Carolina (15-2), 12 noon
Boston University (11-8) at No. 8 Penn (14-3), 1 p.m.
Stanford (15-5) at No. 5 James Madison (16-2), 1 p.m.
Syracuse (13-6) at No. 4 Georgetown (13-5), 1 p.m.
Notre Dame (11-6) at No. 2 Northwestern (17-1), 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 16
Towson (13-4) at No. 6 Virginia (13-5), 12 noon or 1 p.m.
Vanderbilt (12-5) at No. 7 Duke (13-5), 2 p.m.