N.C. women feel at home, top Loyola, 12-10

Local alumnae lead Heels, who avenge NCAA loss last spring to Greyhounds

March 10, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Roland Park grads Erin McInnes and Betsy Gaines connecting for North Carolina's first goal was a sign of good things to come for the No. 4-ranked Tar Heels at Loyola yesterday.

The Baltimore ties didn't stop there, either, because a number of local products made themselves right at home to provide North Carolina with a satisfying 12-10 win over the No. 6 Greyhounds.

The victory offset a bit, at least, Loyola's 7-5 win in Chapel Hill, N.C., that eliminated the Tar Heels in last spring's NCAA quarterfinals.

McInnes assisted on the first three Tar Heels goals and added one of her own in the take-charge first half yesterday. Kellie Thompson (St. Mary's) scored pivotal back-to-back goals in the second half to finish with a three. And goalkeeper Melissa Coyne (Towson) made 13 saves and provided the finishing touch by turning back Danielle Battersby's close-in shot with 45 seconds left.

"It's great. I saw a couple of Roland Park kids in the stands, and a lot of families got to come, so it's nice to be able to come back and play at home," said McInnes. "And it's always nice to get a big win, especially against a great team like Loyola. They come out and fight hard, and it's good to know we can withstand that kind of pressure."

The Tar Heels (3-1) spent a lot more time with the ball in the first half and made good use of it, scoring five of the half's last six goals to take an 8-4 lead at the break.

Every second-half push from Loyola (1-1) received a North Carolina response. Thompson, a preseason All-American who now has 13 goals and five assists, took over for a brief stretch midway through the second half with the Greyhounds coming.

After Loyola junior Stacey Morlang (two goals, two assists) scored her 100th career goal for the Greyhounds' third straight score, cutting Carolina's lead to 9-7, Thompson finished off a free position and, after two saves from Coyne, scored again to build the lead back to 11-7.

"As a unit, on attack, we've been working on our tempo and possession, and it's good in games like this to get a chance to put it into action - having to possess the ball and take our time to get goals," Thompson said. "We're excited to get into our season. We're four games in now, we've been really happy with what we've done so far, and we want to keep up the consistency."

The Greyhounds showed more urgency later, scoring the last three goals to close within 12-10. But the Tar Heels had possession for much of the last five minutes and got that big last save from Coyne.

"North Carolina seemed to want it a little more," said Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens. "I think where the ballgame was really won was 50-50 balls and draw controls. They kind of went after it a little more, and we played the last four minutes like we should have been playing the whole game."

Lauren Peck (Broadneck), Suzanne Eyler (North Harford) and Jen Testrake each scored twice for the Greyhounds, who will try to bounce back at Princeton tomorrow afternoon.

North Carolina 8 4 - 12 Loyola 4 6 - 10

Goals: UNC-Thompson 3, McPike 3, Stone 3, McInnes, Havilla, Gaines; L-Morlang 2, Eyler 2, Peck 2, Testrake 2, Battersby, Warnock. Assists: UNC-McInnes 4, McPike, Havilla; L-Morlang, Albright. Saves: UNC-Coyne 13; L-Dabrowski 13.

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