The NCAA lacrosse tournament begins today, with Maryland and Navy each hosting games against familiar opponents.
Maryland's 4 p.m. game against Virginia has been moved from Byrd Stadium to the artificial football practice field because this week's rain has left the stadium field under water.
Meanwhile, Navy will face off against archrival Army at 3:30 p.m. in Annapolis. The Cadets were the surprise of the college lacrosse season, compiling a 9-1 record and gaining No. 5 seeding behind the nation's four year-in, year-out powers - Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Maryland and Navy.
In other quarterfinal games, Cornell, winner of a collegiate record 40 straight games, opens its bid for a third straight championship in a home game against Washington and Lee, and Hopkins, loser only to Cornell in 11 games, hosts Hofstra at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
The semifinals will be played Saturday, with Cornell and Hopkins holding home-field advantages if they advance as expected. The championship game is set for May 27 at Rutgers University.
Maryland is considered the team with the best shot to knock off Cornell despite the Terps' earlier loss to Hopkins. This is because Maryland possesses speed and physical strength - two assets needed to challenge Cornell. However, the Terps' high-powered offense has to overcome Virginia's high-octaine attacks today and then likely will face Hopkins Saturday in a chance to avenge a lone loss.
Maryland won an earlier meeting against Virginia, 13-8.The Terps' front line of Bob Boniello, John Lamon and Terry Kimball has accounted for 85 goals and 60 assists this season. The Terps averaged 18 goals per game during the regular season.
At Annapolis, the Mids will pit their powerful attack against the goaltending skills of Army's Jose Olivero, an All-America last season. The Cadets lost only to Hopkins.
Navy Coach Dick Szlaza is concerned about the Mid's midfield play. Navy's inability to score from those positions was a major factor in the Mids' only losses, to Maryland and Hopkins.