Loyola women ride spurt to victory 5-goal, second-half run buoys Greyhounds in 18-7 win over West Chester

May 07, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Loyola welcomed West Chester (Pa.) to the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament with an 18-7 pounding yesterday at Curley Field, but the top-ranked Division II team did not make it easy.

For 20 early minutes, the 12th-seeded Golden Rams hung within 1-0 of the No. 5 Greyhounds (13-3). In the second half, the Rams (12-5) were as close as 7-3.

Not until Kathleen O'Shea, Megan Santacroce, Erin Wylde, Krystin Porcella and Ashley Shubic strung together a five-goal spurt for a 12-3 lead midway through the second half did Loyola seem certain to advance.

The Greyhounds, who lost to Maryland 8-7 in last year's title game, play No. 4 Dartmouth Saturday in Hanover, N.H.

Only another stellar performance from senior goalie Kourtney Heavey kept the Greyhounds ahead yesterday. Heavey, who finished with 12 saves, stopped a couple of close-range stops to keep the Rams from tying or taking the lead in the first 20 minutes.

"There have been several games when in the first 20 minutes, Kourtney kept us in the game," Greyhounds coach Diane Aikens said. "She covers our back when we're getting a slow start, until we get in the groove."

Part of the Greyhounds' slow start could be attributed to a strong surge by the Rams, the first Division II team ever to play in the Division I tournament. When the tournament was expanded to include 12 teams this year, the top team in Division II was granted an automatic bid.

Rams keeper Heather Vearling, a field hockey goalie playing her first season of lacrosse, made 14 saves to keep West Chester close.

The rest of the Rams were just as aggressive. They collected more groundballs (24-18) than Loyola, had two fewer turnovers and six fewer fouls.

But Loyola won the most telling statistical category, outshooting the Rams, 42-18.

The Greyhounds had too much speed for the Rams and Vearling was often the only one with a chance to stop them on transition.

"We tried to run that break as much as possible and that did make a difference," Aikens said. "In that 20-minute period of time when it was only 1-0, we were ahead of [their defenders] and we threw some risky passes trying to get that break. We took some risks and we did not capitalize on those opportunities."

The Greyhounds, coming off back-to-back losses to No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 Maryland at Curley Field, needed to build momentum heading into Saturday's quarterfinal. They got it by scoring 11 goals in the final 24 minutes and holding the Rams to just four goals on seven shots.

Ten different Greyhounds scored -- led by four goals from O'Shea, and three each from Porcella and Wylde.

Pub Date: 5/07/98

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