The Maryland men's lacrosse team, which missed the NCAA playoffs the past two seasons for the first time since 1971, will return to postseason play today when it faces North Carolina in a 2 p.m. quarterfinal match at Byrd Stadium.

It will be the first NCAA tournament entry for third-year Coach Dick Edell, who led the fourth-ranked Terrapins to a 10-2 regular-season record, their best since 1979. It will also be a rematch with the fifth-ranked Tar Heels (8-3), who lost to Maryland, 10-9, March 29 in Chapel Hill.

In other quarterfinal matches today, Navy (8-3) will be at Virginia (10-2), Massachusetts (9-5) will play at top-ranked Johns Hopkins (10-1) and Rutgers (10-4) will be at Syracuse (13-2).

If Maryland wins, the Terrapins will meet the Johns Hopkins-Massachusetts winner in the semifinals, which will be played May 24 at Delaware. The NCAA championship will be May 26 at Delaware.

Maryland will be playing a North Carolina team that has a 6-0 record in quarterfinal matches the past six years and outscored its opponents, 86-41, in those matches. This will be the first time the two teams have met in postseason play.

The Tar Heels have defeated Maryland only once in College Park, a 13-12 overtime victory in 1981. The Terrapins, who have won the last two meetings between the teams, lead the series, 20-3.

On March 29, Maryland outscored the Tar Heels, 5-0, in the last 5 1/2 minutes, including a goal from sophomore midfielder Tom Worstell with 25 seconds left.

The Terrapins will be led by sophomore attackman Brendan Hanley, who has 15 goals and 25 assists. Pat Welsh is the leading Tar Heels scorer with 24 points.