Mike Wolf, BTN volleyball announcer, May 5, 2015

The inaugural season of Big Ten lacrosse is in the history books and four teams are heading to the NCAA Tournament with the hopes of claiming the 10th championship in the last eleven years for a Big Ten school.

[ MORE: Penn State claims inaugural Big Ten women's lacrosse tourney crown ]

Penn State won the first-ever Big Ten Tournament title last weekend and received the conference?s automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Maryland, Northwestern and Ohio State all received at-large berths to the NCAA field.

It?s an NCAA Tournament filled with familiar matchups as we preview the hopes for the conference in the first year of postseason Big Ten lacrosse.

Penn State vs. Johns Hopkins - Friday May 8th, 4 ET - Charlottesville, Va.

Following wins over Northwestern and Ohio State, the Nittany Lions secured their place in Big Ten history as the first-ever women?s lacrosse tournament champions. Penn State built leads early in both games and held off both the Wildcats and Buckeyes for the second time this season to earn the conference?s automatic qualifier. Senior Tatum Coffey led the Nittany Lions with nine points on the weekend, including four goals against Ohio State to seal the championship.

Winning the conference tournament was not enough though to earn Penn State a seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Nittany Lions must go back on the road to open the postseason. Missy Doherty?s team will travel to Virginia to meet former American Lacrosse Conference rival Johns Hopkins in the first round. This could set up a potential rematch in the second round of a one-goal loss to Virginia from earlier this year.

Penn State played Hopkins twice last year, winning in the regular season in University Park, and then falling to the Blue Jays in the ALC tournament in Evanston. Johns Hopkins has one of the top defenses in the nation led by goalie KC Emerson, who allows just 6.62 goals per game, which ranks fourth in the NCAA. The Blue Jays were independent for the 2015 season but have wins over top 10 opponents in Duke and Stony Brook, in addition to having won 12 of their last 13 games. Five different players have 30-or-more points, led by Dene? DiMartino with 38 goals and 11 assists.

The first round matchup will once again come down to draw controls where Penn State should have an edge and has continued to find ways to win, despite not having a significant advantage in the category. It is far from an easy opening round game, but the Nittany Lions should be able to advance past the Blue Jays.

Louisville vs. 8) Northwestern - Friday May 8th, 4 ET - Evanston, Ill.

For the second consecutive year, Northwestern enters the postseason with six losses and a disappointing finish to conference play. In 2014, the Wildcats reached the national semifinals for the tenth straight year and few would doubt that they are capable of doing it again. It took a win against Louisville to accomplish that feat last year, and 2015 will require the same if Northwestern hopes to keep the streak alive and play for another title.

On March 29, in Evanston, the Wildcats built up an 11-6 lead on the Cardinals and held on for a 12-10 win to earn their second victory over a top 10 opponent in one week. Kara Mupo had four goals and Selena Lasota contributed three as Northwestern went on a 6-0 run in the first half after falling behind early.

Louisville did get a six goal performance from Faye Brust, but its dominant draw control specialist, Kaylin Morissette, did not own the circle as anticipated. Northwestern won six of eleven second half draws and negated an area that seemed to be a clear advantage for the Cardinals. Morissette would finish with just six draws won in the game, which is low compared to her usual average of ten. The Louisville junior also struggled in last year?s NCAA tournament meeting when she had just three draw wins against Northwestern?s NCAA draw control record holder, Alyssa Leonard.

Louisville has all of the parts to end Northwestern?s season early on their home field, but Kelly Amonte Hiller has a knack for getting her team to play its best in May. Expect a similar performance to the meeting in March as the Wildcats will frustrate Morissette on the draw and get the ball to Mupo and Lasota to lead them to a win.

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame - Friday May 8th, 7 ET - Evanston, Ill.

Alexis Venechanos sold Ohio State?s current class of seniors on the program by telling them they had the chance to be trailblazers. Beating No. 1 Maryland and securing their second straight berth in the NCAA Tournament has made that pitch a reality in Columbus. The win over the Terrapins ended Maryland?s bid for a perfect season and avenged an earlier one-sided loss for the Buckeyes. The NCAA Tournament presents a similar opportunity for Ohio State.

Playing in the nightcap on Friday in Evanston, Ohio State will meet Notre Dame for the second time this spring after losing 13-5 in South Bend on March 21. The Buckeyes felt like they got off to a bad start in that game and never recovered. However, they used that to their benefit as the season went on, focusing on starting games well, which has been apparent since the loss to the Irish.

Ohio State?s leader in goals, Katie Chase, was limited against Notre Dame, while Buckeye senior Jackie Cifarelli was held without an assist as OSU had its lowest goal total of the season. Confidence is high for Coach Venechanos? team, despite falling to Penn State in the Big Ten championship game. Possession should be in Ohio State?s favor as the Buckeyes won the draw control battle in the first meeting with Notre Dame. Beat the Irish and there is a chance to avenge another loss as Northwestern could be waiting in round two for the Buckeyes.

Massachusetts/Jacksonville vs. 1) Maryland - Sunday May 10th, 12 ET - College Park, Md.

The perfect season is no longer within reach, but you won?t hear any complaints in College Park if the Terps can win the next four games and repeat as national champions. A setback against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal may have been the shock this team needed to play up to its capability in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite the loss, Maryland was still named the tournament?s top overall seed and will await the winner of UMass and Jacksonville for a second round matchup on Sunday. While no opponent will be taken lightly by the Terps after last week?s shocking loss, it is reasonable to believe Maryland will beat either team as both have failed to earn a win over a ranked foe this season.

Could a Big Ten rematch loom in the quarterfinals? Northwestern and Ohio State are both in the same region as Maryland and could potentially play for a second or third time, respectively, for a spot in the national semifinals. The decision of the committee to place three Big Ten teams in the same portion of the bracket seems odd and limits the conference?s hopes for multiple teams playing on championship weekend. At the very least, the two teams that have been fixtures in the season?s final weekend over the past decade could be playing a national semifinal or championship-level game in a quarterfinal. History should have told the committee to at least put Maryland and Northwestern in different regions and allow them to play on the sports' biggest stage if they are to meet again.

Regardless of second round matchup, the Terps will play on and next week could result in a game to decide a national semifinal spot between two Big Ten rivals.