Villanova men's lacrosse receives at-large bid to NCAA tournament

It took some sweating out, but Villanova University ended its six-year drought by making the 2018 NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament field.

The Wildcats (10-5) received an at-large bid – likely the final one – and will play at fourth-seeded Duke (13-3) at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, in a game televised on ESPNU.

Despite losing three of their final five games, the Wildcats still found their way into the 16-team field that was announced on Sunday.

Villanova sat on the bubble after dropping games to eventual Big East champion Georgetown (12-4), which made the tournament with an automatic bid, but was not one of the top eight seeds.

The Hoyas will play at Big Ten champion Johns Hopkins on Sunday. If both Big East teams win, they will play for the third time in about month in the quarterfinals on May 20 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

The Wildcats were ranked as high as fifth in the nation after starting 6-1, but were 14th at the end of April.

Denver (12-3) is the third Big East team in the field. The Pioneers will play at No.7 seed Notre Dame on Sunday.

Reigning NCAA champion Maryland (12-3) received the top overall seed, despite losing the Big Ten championship game to Johns Hopkins.

The Atlantic Coast Conference does not have an automatic bid, but Duke, Syracuse and Notre Dame are among the top eight seeds, and Virginia received an at-large bid.

Villanova, which also made the field in 2009 and 2011, is looking for its first NCAA Tournament win.

Meanwhile, Penn (13-4) reached the women’s NCAA tournament for the 12th straight time. The Quakers will play Penn State (10-9) on Friday at host Stony Brook (19-0), which received a bye into the second round and will play the Penn-Penn State winner on Sunday.