Freshman Santacroce steps up, lifts Loyola women by J. Madison

March 22, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Loyola freshman Megan Santacroce's three goals and inspired midfield play proved so crucial to the No. 7 Greyhounds' 10-9 women's lacrosse victory over No. 9 James Madison yesterday that Greyhounds coach Diane Aikens awarded her a starting spot for the next game.

A Broadneck graduate, she scored two of the Greyhounds' final three goals, including the game-winner with 5: 08 left.

"For a freshman to be able to take it in crunch time, keep the ball, go through a double-team and ping the corner is unbelievable," Aikens said. "She doesn't play like a freshman. She just goes in there and she's comfortable."

In a game in which the Greyhounds found themselves scratching their way back from as much as a three-goal deficit, Santacroce LTC provided the spark through most of the second half. She gave the Greyhounds their first lead, 8-7, scoring with 14: 41 to go.

Early in the half, Santacroce set up a Maureen Duffy goal that tied it for the first time at 6. After she controlled the draw on a foul, Santacroce lobbed Duffy a long lead pass that put her one-on-one against a Dukes defender, whom she easily beat for the goal.

In the final minutes, with the Greyhounds working their set offense, Santacroce spotted an opening and took it in herself.

"We want to keep composure and pass it around and something will open up," said Santacroce. "If something opens up, we take it. I saw a lean and I took it, but everyone works so hard together to make something open up."

The Dukes (3-2, 2-1 CAA) would not go down easily in the Colonial Athletic Association contest. Neither they nor the Greyhounds (3-1, 1-0) had forgotten last year's CAA championship game in which the Dukes scored six goals in the last 12: 50 to shock Loyola, 9-8.

Megan Riley tried to rally the Dukes with her fourth assist of the afternoon. Her pass across the goal found Jenn Ball for a quick score with 3: 15 left.

The Dukes won the next draw and had a couple of shots in the final 2: 41, but Greyhounds keeper Kourtney Heavey (11 saves) snared them both.

After Heavey's final save, with 1: 15 to go, the Greyhounds stalled for more than a minute before turning over the ball behind the goal. There wasn't enough time left for the Dukes to retaliate.

Goals: L--Testrake 3, Santacroce 3, Duffy 2, O'Shea, Wylde;JM--Martinez 4, Ball 2, Weiss, Brew, Kane. Assists: L--DiTommaso;JM--Riley 4. Saves: L--Heavey 10;JM--Brew 8. Half: JMU, 6-4.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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