PRINCETON, N.J. - Three Ivy League teams continue their quest for a national championship this weekend as Penn, Cornell and Harvard play first round games in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.
The Ivy League received multiple bids into the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship for the sixth straight year. It is just the sixth time in the last 25 years that three or more Ivies are in the field. It last happened in 2009. The Ivy League is now 72-70 all-time in NCAA Championship play (79 team apperances) with nine national titles (including Cornell winning the inaugural in 1971) and six runner-up finishes. Six of the seven Ivies have advanced to the national semifinals at least once in making up the League’s 27 national semifinal game appearances.
Last year was the first time since 2004 that the Ivies put two teams into the quarterfinals. Since the tournament expansion to more than eight teams in 1986, the Ivies have landed at least two teams into the round of eight a total of nine times and only twice since the adoption of the current 16-team bracket in 2003.
Penn (11-3) is seeded No. 4, the highest seed for an Ivy since 2011 when Cornell was No. 2. The Quakers will host cross-street rival Drexel (12-4). That game will be Sunday at 3 pm and be televised on ESPNU. Penn, which won the Ivy League Tournament and received the League’s automatic bid, is in the tournament for the 12th time all-time. The Quakers’ last appearance was in 2011, but Penn hasn’t won a game in the tournament since 1988, holding a 2-11 mark all-time. That was also the last time Penn hosted an NCAA Tournament game, beating Loyola, 12-9.
Penn has the No. 2-rated RPI entering the tournament. Drexel won the CAA’s automatic bid with a triple overtime win over Hofstra. Penn leads the all-time series, 21-8, but the teams haven’t played since completing a home-and-home series in 2008 and 2009. Penn won in 2009, 9-8. Both teams are on eight-game winning streaks, tied for third-longest active in Division I.
Cornell (11-4), which advanced to the national semifinals a year ago, will go back to the place where they played the first two games last year. The Big Red, who were Ivy League regular season co-champions, will face seventh-seeded Maryland (11-3) in College Park, Md. That game will be played Saturday at 5 pm and be televised by ESPNU.
Cornell defeated Maryland, 16-8, last year in the first round of the tournament. The Big Red is appearing in their 26th tournament all-time and has an all-time mark of 32-22. In fact, Maryland and Cornell are two of the winingest teams in the tournament all-time. Cornell’s 32 all-time wins are the most among Ivy schools and ranks fourth all-time behind Johns Hopkins (41), Maryland (36) and Virginia (35).
Harvard (10-6) was on the bubble after losing in the Ivy League Tournament final on Sunday. But the Crimson are in and head to South Bend, Ind. to take on sixth-seeded Notre Dame (9-5) in an intreaguing match-up. Harvard and Notre Dame will play on Saturday at 2:30 pm and the game will be shown on ESPNU. The Crimson is making their sixth NCAA appearance, the last coming in 2006. Harvard is 2-5 all-time, the last win coming in 1996 against Hofstra.