For encore, Terps make Loyola bow with tough defense

Maryland women stay on roll with 12-4 win

NCAA tourney ahead


April 30, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

After winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last weekend and soundly defeating No. 3 Princeton Wednesday, what was left for No. 1 Maryland to do for an encore?

How about holding No. 5 Loyola to its lowest offensive output of the season?

For the fourth time this season, the Terrapins women's lacrosse team held an opponent under five goals, as Maryland defeated the Greyhounds, 12-4, yesterday at Curley Field. It was, however, the first time the Terps (17-1) had held a Top 10 foe to fewer than five goals.

Alex Kahoe made nine saves for the Terps, and defensive pressure especially from Tonia Porras, Tori Wellington, Courtney Martinez, Kerri Mulligan, Christie Jenkins and Kristin Sommar forced Loyola's shooters to go high or wide with many of their 23 shots.

"I think we ended really well," Porras said of her entire team. "Everything has really come together. We've been playing really well all season, but it's tournament time and we're that much more focussed. When tournament time comes around, we step it up."

The five-time defending national champions have won 16 straight games and should be top-seeded for the NCAA tournament, which starts May 11. As one of the top four seeds, the Terps would earn a first-round bye and begin tournament play at home on May 14.

Loyola also will be among the 12-team tournament field, having clinched a berth two weeks ago by winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Although their attack struggled yesterday, the Greyhounds defense appeared in top form, holding the Terps to their second-lowest offensive output this season. But the Greyhounds couldn't do much to contain Allison Comito and Jen Adams.

The junior duo combined for nine goals and 13 points. The Terps led from the time Comito fed Quinn Carney for a 2-1 edge 11 minutes into the game.

Still, the Greyhounds (13-4) never let the Terps blow the game open. Loyola was down 6-2 at halftime and 7-3 with 17: 43 left.

"Any time Maryland has a 6-1 lead, they get in this comfort zone," said Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens, "and ... they can open up a game. That's what you try to eliminate. At 7-3, I thought we were doing a good job, but once they got to that 8-3 mark, that's a tough thing to come back from."

Comito boosted the lead to 8-3 with 17: 35 left after breaking ahead of the Loyola defense off the draw. Adams hit her with the long pass for the goal.

Adams and Comito had a hand in every Terps goal of the second half, including four straight to run the lead to 11-3 with 7: 01 to go.

Greyhounds goalie Tricia Dabrowski frustrated the Terps with 13 saves, and the Loyola defense played aggressively -- although sometimes a little too aggressively, drawing five yellow cards. The Terps took 37 shots, but couldn't strike as quickly or as often as they usually do.

"Their defense was solid. Their goaltending was solid," said Terps coach Cindy Timchal. "I thought our players really had to be creative to come up with scoring opportunities."

Fortunately for the Terps, Comito and Adams rank among the most creative shooters in the nation, often finding openings where there seem to be none. Comito scored a couple of seemingly impossible goals on quick moves in traffic. Adams, taking a feed from Comito while cutting full speed in front of the crease, reached behind her back and whipped the ball over her shoulder for a goal.

"We had to try to be the best one-on-one defenders in the world today," said Loyola senior Therese Naab. "Tricia did a great job, and I don't think our defense played that bad. To hold them to 12 goals really isn't that bad, especially when they've scored up to 24 goals."

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