Loyola women earn NCAA bid

'Hounds rally to win, 12-10, for 5th CAA championship

April 17, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Loyola didn't need the extra incentive of receiving the first automatic bid in NCAA women's lacrosse history to pull out a come-from-behind, 12-10 victory over No. 3 James Madison for the Colonial Athletic Association title yesterday at University of Richmond Stadium.

The intensity of the rivalry between the No. 11 Greyhounds (12-2) and the defending champion Dukes was enough. The two have met in four straight CAA finals and have traded titles since Loyola beat William and Mary for the 1996 title.

Sparked by opportunistic second-half goals from Kory Miller and Christy McNew, the Greyhounds rallied from three goals down to win their fifth CAA championship in eight years. They also ended a three-game losing streak to the Dukes, which included the 17-6 CAA final last year and a 12-6 regular-season meeting on March 19 in Harrisonburg.

"This is the best feeling I've had after a game ever," said Miller, a senior midfielder who scored the game-winner on a free position with 2: 28 left. "It's wonderful just to beat them. It's great because we get the automatic bid which helps us concentrate a little bit more on ourselves the rest of the season, but today we just wanted it."

Miller's second goal of the game came after the Dukes (12-3) had rallied from two goals down to tie at 10 with 8: 07 left. At that point, Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens told her team to forget about everything up to that point.

"I said, `Right now it's 0-0 and there's an 8-minute and 7-second game,' " Geppi-Aikens said. "I said it has nothing to do with who's better, it has nothing to do with talent and it has nothing to do with technique. It has to do with heart and soul and desire. That's exactly what they went out and gave me."

After Miller's free-position goal gave the Greyhounds the 11-10 lead, they won the next draw and stalled away nearly a minute before Krissy Warnock spotted Stephanie Sweet alone in the arc for an insurance goal with 1: 25 left.

Sweet, the Greyhounds center who controlled nine draws by herself, won the final draw, and, although the Greyhounds turned the ball over three more times, the Dukes couldn't score. Loyola goalie Tricia Dabrowski, the tournament MVP, snared a high 8-meter shot by Jess Marion with 1: 03 left for her 11th save of the day and her 33rd of the tournament.

For the Greyhounds, who fell behind 6-3 early in the second half, two goals ignited their offense.

The first came after a clearing glitch by the Dukes. When Kristin Dinisio dropped Jen Corradini's clear at midfield, Miller scooped up the ball and raced to goal. She dodged the back-pedaling Corradini and hit an open-net shot that pulled the Greyhounds within 7-6 with 19: 37 left.

After Stacey Morlang tied it at 7 on a free position and the rivals traded goals to 8-8, freshman McNew rolled the crease to give the Greyhounds their first lead, 9-8 with 13: 27 to go. McNew, who was only in the game for two minutes while Danielle Battersby sat with a yellow card, scored the sixth goal in a 7-2 Loyola run.

Jen Testrake scored her fifth goal of the game less than a minute later to drive the lead to 10-8. The Dukes rallied right back as Amy Brew and McNevin Malloy scored to tie at 10 with 8: 07 left.

For most of the second half, the Greyhounds put immense pressure on the Dukes all over the field, forcing turnovers, winning ground balls and sparking transition.

"Loyola did what they needed to do," said Dukes coach Jen Ulehla. "My team played great except for a 15-minute time frame in the second half when we lost our composure. Loyola, to their credit, put a lot of pressure on us in the midfield. We had a hard time getting the ball up, and we did a little bit of fouling that got us in trouble."

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