Loyola women reclaim CAA crown

12-5 rout of Old Dominion also earns spot in NCAAs

April 22, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Steady rain fell through most of yesterday's Colonial Athletic Association women's lacrosse championship, but it did not rain on Loyola's victory parade.

The No. 5 Greyhounds barely allowed No. 14 Old Dominion a few minutes of possession while they ran up a nine-goal lead en route to a 12-5 victory at Virginia Commonwealth's Cary Street Field.

"We wanted to get the CAA, the championship, back to Loyola," said senior goalie Tricia Dabrowski, the league's Defensive Player of the Year. "We were going out there with 60 minutes of 110 percent, everything you can give. We played with a lot of heart and a lot of hustle and we came up with the 50-50 balls, the draw controls."

The CAA championship -- the Greyhounds' sixth in 10 years and eighth overall -- gives them an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. It also keeps alive their string of even-year titles, running it to five.

The Greyhounds (13-2) were getting used to trading titles with James Madison, having met the Dukes in five straight finals, but the Monarchs dispensed with the Dukes, 17-13, in Saturday's semifinal to reach the title game for the first time since they won their only championship in 1995.

Some of the Greyhounds were still stinging a bit from last year's championship in which they went in as heavy favorites but lost, 6-5, to James Madison.

"Losing last year the way we did was so disappointing," said midfielder Suzanne Eyler, the tournament's Most Valuable Player. "It was disappointing for the team as a whole but it was really disappointing for our seniors, so we just took in the emotion that this is our seniors' year. They don't get another CAA championship."

The Greyhounds started off quickly in the heavy rain, pouring five shots on Monarchs goalie Beth O'Leary in the first four minutes. Although they didn't connect on any of those, the Greyhounds hit seven of their next nine shots and six players scored -- Eyler twice, Stacey Morlang, Jaclyn Borrone, Talia Shacklock, Stephanie Walker and Susan Tyrell.

"They did a nice a job of ball movement, finding that open girl. We've got the same thing when our attack's working. We've got those players and you can just go to anybody," said Old Dominion defender Brooke Thomas, a former teammate of Eyler's at North Harford.

Yesterday, the Monarchs had trouble getting much of anything working on their attack until the last 18 minutes of the game, when they strung together four goals in 10 minutes. By the start of that run, however, the Greyhounds were up 10-1.

"We knew what their game plan was on the crease rolls, so slides were a big part today, stopping it on the crease," said Loyola defender Jen Albright. "Then in the midfield, the attacking end did great on defense, working the ball back and stopping their transition."

The Monarchs (13-5) managed just 12 shots on goal compared with 31 for Loyola. The Greyhounds also dominated ground balls by 22-6 and draw controls by 13-6.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Greyhounds, who head to Charlottesville on Wednesday to play No. 3 Virginia before playing host to No. 12 Maryland on Saturday.

"This is the next steppingstone," Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens said of the CAA championship. "Each day we try to get better and today we were the best Loyola team I've seen all year long and that's exactly where we should be. It got us the trophy. It got us the confidence."

Old Dominion 1 4 -- 5

Loyola 8 4 -- 12

Goals: OD--Hensil 2, Rodriguez, Heister, Smith; L--Eyler 3, Borrone 3, Morlang 2, Warnock, Tyrell, Shacklock, Walker. Assists: OD--Su.Wosczyna 2, Smith; L--Eyler 2, Borrone 2, Morlang, Warnock, Tyrell. Saves: OD--O'Leary 8; L--Dabrowski 4.

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