Back in N.C., Loyola finishes off Tar Heels

Greyhounds make Final Four with 7-5 win

May 15, 2000|By T. Nolan Hayes | T. Nolan Hayes,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Loyola women's lacrosse team returned to Henry Stadium with one goal in mind: finish what had been left undone two months ago.

On March 10, the Greyhounds squandered a three-goal halftime lead to North Carolina and lost. Yesterday, Loyola limited the Tar Heels to one second-half goal en route to a 7-5 victory in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's National Collegiate Tournament.

With the win, Loyola (16-4) advanced to the Final Four for the third time in five seasons. The fifth-ranked Greyhounds will take on No.1 Maryland, the five-time defending national champion, Friday in Ewing, N.J. The Tar Heels (12-6) saw their season end in the national quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

"I thought we played an excellent first half in the first game against North Carolina, but I thought in the second half we played not to lose and didn't play to win," said Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens. "That's the one thing that we made clear to the team coming into this game: If by chance we were to be up in the second half, we were going to play to win the whole time. ... I think that was a big difference."

Loyola went scoreless for the final 31:46 in their initial meeting, but the Tar Heels endured an even longer drought yesterday. After senior midfielder Meghann Mohler scored to tie the match 4-4 with 14:17 remaining in the first half, Carolina went 37:05 before finding the back of the net again.

The Greyhounds took advantage, tallying three goals during that span.

Junior attacker Jen Testrake gave Loyola the lead for good when she scored on a free-position shot with 3:10 remaining in the first half. The Greyhounds controlled the ensuing draw and ran off the final three minutes of the first half before taking a shot just before the buzzer.

The first half's methodical ending foreshadowed what was to come in the second. The Greyhounds refused to give up the ball once they got it, a key factor in keeping the Tar Heels off the scoreboard. Protecting its 7-5 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the game, Loyola held the ball for 4:15 on one possession to keep them at bay.

"We had possession a lot on attack and took care of the ball," said senior midfielder Kory Miller, who scored three goals. "If they can't get the ball, then they can't score. We really controlled the tempo."

The Greyhounds controlled the tempo because sophomore Tricia Dabrowski had total command of their net. Dabrowski, who registered 16 saves in the team's first-round win against Delaware, tallied nine against the Tar Heels.

"Tricia played a great game," said Carolina coach JennySlingluff Levy. "She came up with saves during parts of the game in the second half that could have maybe propelled us forward to get some more goals. And the more saves she made, I think the more we lost a little confidence. It kind of discombobulated our attack."

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