Maryland, which has lost three of its last four games, and Navy, which has lost two straight, must win their last games to make the NCAA lacrosse playoffs and salvage their seasons.
Navy (6-3) will conclude its season at home today against third-ranked Johns Hopkins. Maryland (6-3) will play at Maryland-Baltimore County today, will play host to Towson State Wednesday and will finish its season at home against Adelphi May 14.
The NCAA playoffs begin May 19, with the final to be played at Virginia May 29. The eight best teams will be chosen by a tournament selection committee, according to record and strength of schedule.
Judging from the weekly coaches' poll--usually a good indicator of who will make the playoffs--North Carolina, Virginia, Johns Hopkins and Army are pretty secure in the top four spots.
But Maryland and Navy, ranked seventh and eighth at the start of the week, don't look as if they'll have an easy time getting into the tournament.
If Hopkins defeats Navy today, the Midshipmen will have to rely on help from other teams to keep from missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
And Maryland Coach Dino Mattessich says a single loss would end his team's playoff hopes. "If we lost any of those three games, we certainly don't deserve to make the playoffs," he said. "I told our players, our playoffs are starting now."
The Terrapins find themselves in the same situation as last year, when they won their last three games and got into the tournament as the eighth seed. This season, they won their first five games, before losing to North Carolina, Virginia and, most recently, Hopkins.