Loyola women run past Penn State, 16-8 Game is in little doubt after first eight minutes

March 13, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The last three times Loyola's women's lacrosse team has played Penn State, the results could not have been closer. Loyola won each game, including two in overtime, by a single goal.

Yesterday's meeting was a one-goal game too -- for exactly eight minutes.

At that point, Allison Valentino's free-position goal into an open net gave the No. 3 Greyhounds a two-goal lead and they sprinted to a 16-8 victory in their season opener at Curley Field.

Penn State, 1-1 and ranked No. 5 in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason coaches' poll, fell behind 6-1 midway through the half. Although the Lions rallied to within 8-5 early in the second half, the Greyhounds reeled off four goals in nine minutes to douse any hopes for a comeback.

Led by All-America picks Kerri Johnson and Michelle Meyer, the Greyhounds used superior midfield speed and athleticism to control much of the game. But they also got a key defensive performance from Krystin Porcella.

Porcella, a junior from John Carroll, shut down the Lions' top gun Michele DeJuliis, a former All-Metro Player of the Year at Loch Raven. DeJuliis, a senior who ranks 12th on Penn State's all-time career goal list, had four goals and two assists in Monday's 8-3 win over No. 12 Old Dominion. Yesterday, she managed only three shots the entire game.

" 'Porch' stuck with me the entire time and applied a lot of pressure," said DeJuliis, "She did a great job but it wasn't only 'Porch.' They had the double teams coming out and the triple teams coming out. Overall, they play great defense."

That team defense as well as a strong effort by junior goalie Kourtney Heavey (10 saves) forced 22 turnovers and sent the Greyhounds running and gunning on transition. When they couldn't score off the break, they turned to their set offense with equal success.

"We gave them open shots," said Penn State coach Julie Williams. "We were so unorganized defensively and usually that's what we're so good at. Loyola did a great job of finding the holes and stepping into the spaces that we left open."

Loyola outshot the Lions, 38-24. Eight Greyhounds scored goals, led by Johnson with five and an assist. Valentino had three goals and two assists. Meyer and Maureen Duffy scored two goals each.

That balance on attack should give the Greyhounds an edge on most of the competition, said Loyola midfielder Stephanie Roberts, who scored the game-winner in last year's 9-8 Loyola victory.

"Most teams in the nation have only one or two go-to players," she said, "and everyone on our team can handle the ball. The pressure's not put just on Kerri or Michelle. Everyone on the field can be a threat. You can't stop just one of us. There's 12 of us out there that you have to stop."

Pub Date: 3/13/97

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