Loyola women own 2nd half in 12-7 win

Greyhounds settle issue in hurry against JMU

March 18, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Maybe wearing green uniforms on St. Patrick's Day gave Loyola's fourth-ranked women's lacrosse team an edge at No. 13 James Madison yesterday, but more likely the Greyhounds' revitalized second-half attack was enough to do the trick.

The Greyhounds scored eight of the first nine goals in the second half to spark a 12-7 victory over the Dukes on a chilly, wet day. Suzanne Eyler scored all four of her goals and Stacey Morlang had two of her five goals and her only assist in the half.

In their Colonial Athletic Association opener, the Greyhounds (3-1, 1-0 CAA) faced what has been their toughest CAA foe. With Loyola clinging to a 4-3 halftime edge, the teams seemed headed for another down-to-the wire battle.

One or two goals have decided 10 of their past 14 meetings, including the past two CAA tournament championships. The past two years of this power struggle, whichever team won the regular-season game lost to the other in the tournament final.

The two have traded tournament titles for five straight years, with the Dukes winning last season.

Although the Dukes, who were ranked ninth in the preseason, opened with one-goal losses to unranked Penn and then-No. 13 Penn State, history warned the Greyhounds to be wary.

"It's a big rivalry," said Eyler. "I don't know if it's mental or that we just match up so well. It doesn't matter what anyone's record is, it's always a tough game."

The Dukes (3-3, 2-1) kept it close for a half, thanks to a couple of Lisa Staedt goals and Gail Decker's beat-the-clock goal before intermission.

For the Greyhounds, though, the early going was a little too reminiscent of last week's 10-6 loss to then-No. 4 Princeton.

Turnovers and poor shot selection, as well as three straight free-position saves by Dukes keeper Amy Altig, had Loyola holding a 4-3 halftime lead, thanks to Morlang's low, sidearm shot 21 seconds before Decker's goal.

But the missed opportunities turned into capitalized opportunities in the second half, setting off an 8-1 Loyola run that boosted the lead to 12-4 with 8:01 left.

"They weren't beating us. We were beating ourselves," said Eyler. "The first half was sloppy. We turned the ball over and we were a little shaky, so we had to get our confidence up and know that we can do it."

The Greyhounds strung together four straight goals in the first nine minutes and then four more within six minutes. Kristen Dinisio broke into the rally with the Dukes' only goal of the first 23 minutes of the half.

"The second half, we were a little complacent," said Dinisio, a Centennial graduate. "We didn't do the things we had to do. We had way too many turnovers [16 in the game]. It's a nasty day, but not that nasty. We just weren't playing smart. That's where it all changed, especially down on defense. We weren't playing team defense."

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