Loyola women unable to hold off N. Carolina

'Hounds lead by 3 at half, but Mohler sparks rally, 8-6

March 11, 2000|By Jim Furlong | Jim Furlong,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Meghann Mohler appeared genuinely surprised.

"I don't count," the North Carolina senior midfielder said after being told she'd scored a career-high five goals to lead the fifth-ranked Tar Heels to an 8-6 victory over the ninth-ranked Loyola women's lacrosse team at Fetzer Field.

North Carolina, after trailing 6-3 at halftime, dominated the second half, outscoring the Greyhounds 5-0.

Mohler, one of eight Marylanders in UNC's starting lineup, produced the tying goal with 14: 34 remaining, and her fifth goal gave the home team a 7-6 advantage with 13: 04 to go.

Soon after the game, Mohler borrowed her father's portable phone to call home to Baltimore and spread the news. Her dad, Mike -- who coached Meghann when she played basketball at Catonsville High School -- already knew since he attends all of his daughter's games.

Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens, who tried to recruit Mohler, was not surprised she had such a major impact.

"We went in knowing she was one of their better players," Geppi-Aikens said. "They did a good job of isolating her and we had a couple of mixed matches at certain times and they took advantage with Meghann Mohler.

"She's a go-to player. If I'm on their team, I know I can put the ball on her stick and she'll come through for you."

Mohler, while an eager shooter during the Tar Heels' comeback, passed praise to her teammates.

"Everybody on the field helped me out. For some reason, I was just open," she said "I don't think I did anything special.

"It was only me. We got behind [at halftime] and we figured out that we needed to come out with some fire. I think it was really just our intensity. We were down three [goals] and we shouldn't have been in that position in the first place. We fought our way back."

Loyola (1-1) had the upper hand in the first half, when sophomore midfielder Stacey Morland scored three goals.

"We had a game plan," said Geppi-Aikens, "and, I think, we executed it 100 percent in the first half, which was to slow down their fast break, be very patient on attack, shoot to score and try not to foul."

The faster Tar Heels (3-1) were limited to seven first-half shots.

Mohler, however, started the UNC rally with a score 66 seconds into the second half.

"I think what always propels teams forward in games is your defense," North Carolina coach Jenny Slinghluff Levy said.

Loyola senor co-captain Stephanie Sweet said her team's intensity dropped during the final 30 minutes.

"I think we night have gotten a little complacent," Sweet said.

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