DI Teams Punch Tickets to Annapolis

The Division I NCLL playoffs are in the books and it was an exciting first round. 8 teams emerged and will square off this weekend in Annapolis, MD for all the marbles. With the East Coast thawing out and winter finally loosening its grip on the Mid-Atlantic, it looks to be a great weekend for lacrosse fans.

The NCLL’s DI is a collection of the league’s elite. The much smaller Division I’s playoffs work similarly to the NCAA’s and much differently than the sprawling DII’s largely conference based first round playoff format. Despite that, the elite 8 will feature a team from the Blue Ridge, Liberty, New England, Keystone, Midwest, and 3 from the Chesapeake Division.

Towson at Virginia
In the first DI game on the playoff slate #10 Towson traveled to #4 Virginia for a Friday night tilt that would decide who went to Annapolis and who went home. It was the Hoos that came out on top by a 13-11 final and joined the teams headed to the Naval Academy on May 5th-6th. Virginia at 7-1 added Towson to an impressive list of wins this season that included; VMI, Temple and James Madison. For Towson, there will be no repeat. The defending DI National Champs end their season at 8-6.

Fairfield at Temple
#14 Fairfield hit the road to play #5 Temple at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Philadephia. The visiting Club Stags gave Temple all they could handle. With strong play in the cage, Fairfield kept the game tight. At 5-5 at the half, it was strong play by Temple’s faceoff man, Jake Bevenour, that allowed the Owls (13-2) to pull away and claim a 10-6 win.

“It was a great atmosphere playing our first home game of the season and first home playoff game since moving to Division 1 in 2016. The game was a battle from start to finish and with the win I couldn’t be happier for this group of seniors. After winning the Division 2 National Championship their freshman year, these seniors have lead to way in establishing a winning culture helping us to climb the ranks in Division 1. They’ve set the precedent for what it means to be a Temple club lacrosse player and on their shoulders we’ve earned the trip to the National Tournament. We’re excited to have our team back on the national stage but we’re not satisfied with just making it here. We want more and we’ve still got more work to do to make it happen.”

Vermont at Hofstra
The #13 Dirty Cats from Vermont (5-2) traveled to Long Island to face #12 Hofstra and clawed their way to a 9-8 OT victory to claim their spot in Annapolis. Vermont’s two losses this season came at the hands of the Terps Lacrosse Club at Maryland’s Beltway Bash. With the forecast for this weekend in Annapolis being in the low 70s, the Dirty Cats should get a reprieve from Old Man Winter. Despite the long road trip and cold weather in Vermont, the Dirty Cats keep it lit.

Rutgers at Navy

#2 Navy Club put on a dominant performance over #15 Rutgers en route to a 12-5 victory over the visiting Scarlet Knights. The win for Navy ensures that the Mids are not left out of the party they are hosting in Annapolis this weekend. At 9-2, Navy owns victories over 3 elite 8 teams; Virginia, Penn State and Maryland and should be considered one of the favorites heading into championship weekend.

Penn St. at Albany
#6 Penn State (8-2) traveled to #8T Albany to face the undefeated Great Danes Club. The PSU Club entered the game on five game win streak and boasted victories over DII powerhouse West Chester and DI playoff teams, Temple, James Madison and Hofstra. For Albany, the game was the first with an opponent outside of the Empire State. Penn State made the most of their road trip, scoring a 9-7 victory and handing Albany it’s lone loss of the season and earning the Nittany Lions a berth in Annapolis.

James Madison vs. Ohio University
#7 James Madison and #8T Ohio University tangled in wild and wonderful West Virginia on the campus of Alderson Broaddus University, a halfway point for the two schools. The Bobcats from Ohio got down to business and pulled off a 10-5 victory over the Dukes. JMU, with wins this year over both Maryland and Salisbury was a sleeper pick to make a run for the title in DI. Ohio, at 7-0, thought otherwise and maintained a perfect record heading into the elite 8

#1 Salisbury and #3 Maryland scored first round byes into championship weekend by virtue of their scheduled opponents declining to travel due to academic conflicts.

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