Dabrowski saves Loyola in 6-5 win

Sophomore goalkeeper heats up down stretch to stop Princeton cold

March 13, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Tricia Dabrowski lived every lacrosse goalkeeper's dream yesterday at Curley Field.

The gifted 5-foot-4 Loyola College sophomore turned into a brick wall for nearly 11 minutes and completely shut down Princeton to preserve a 6-5 victory for the ninth-ranked Greyhounds on a cold and blustery afternoon.

Dabrowski had to be perfect down the stretch, and she responded with five sensational saves under heavy pressure that will be remembered for a long time by the Loyola (2-1) coaches, players and fans.

Dabrowski finished with 16 saves to tie a career-high she had last year in an upset of No. 2 Virginia.

"Tricia played the game of her life," Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens said. "There is no doubt that Tricia Dabrowski was our MVP today. She saved the game for us. I just couldn't believe how she made one fantastic save after another. Like everybody else I figured, the odds were in Princeton's favor of finally getting one past her."

But it never happened, even though No. 8 Princeton (1-1) had two almost-automatic free position shots in the final 4: 31 of the game.

Three other Dabrowski saves in the final 11 minutes came off shots that were as close to sure things as there is in this game.

Talented Princeton players such as Lauren Simone, Whitney Miller and Julie Shaner were all looking Dabrowski in the eye on one-on-one breakaways and free position shots and still couldn't get the ball past her.

"After I made the first save [on Simone on a free position attempt with 4: 31 left], everything else seemed to flow for me," Dabrowski said. "I wasn't thinking anything, I was just reacting and moving my feet. We needed this game so much after that tough loss to North Carolina [8-6 last Friday night]."

An obviously impressed Dabrowski teammate, Stacey Morlang, said, "She's amazing. We all know she is so quick in the goal, but this performance was something else. Tricia and our defense bailed us out today."

Morlang, a sophomore midfielder from Australia, scored two goals yesterday but conceded that the Princeton defense had "shut our attack down by doubling on us and being very physical."

After Jen Testrake gave Loyola a 6-5 lead on a free position shot with 10: 47 left in the game, the Greyhounds ran into all kinds of problems on attack and in the midfield.

They had trouble clearing the ball, were guilty of poor stickwork and passing and took ill-advised shots.

When it became obvious the Greyhounds might not score again, the pressure intensified on Dabrowski's shoulders.

"We knew [Dabrowski] had quick feet," Princeton coach Chris Sailer said. "But we didn't quite expect a show like this. We did help her out by not faking on all those point-blank opportunities. We told our girls they had to fake before shooting. The play by Dabrowski that probably hurt us the most came when we were up 5-3 [with 21 minutes left in the game] and Mimi Hammerberg had an easy breakaway for 6-3 but couldn't score."

Loyola answered with three straight goals for the 6-5 edge, setting the stage for Dabrowski.

Princeton 3 2 -- 5

Loyola 2 4 -- 6

Goals: P--Shaner 2, Maddox, Simone, Smith; L--Morlang 2, Santacroce 2, Testrake, Warnock. Assists: P--Miller, Simone; L--Eyler, Peck. Saves: P--Field 11; L--Dabrowski 16.

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