Wherever No. 8 Maryland's attack wanted the ball to go yesterday, Loyola goalie Tricia Dabrowski seemed to be right there.
The All-America senior made 11 saves and scarfed up seven ground balls to lead the No. 4 Greyhounds to victory in a 7-4 defensive duel before 1,424 fans at Loyola's Curley Field.
"Trish is just all over the ball," said Courtney Hobbs, the Terps' top scorer. "As a defender for Loyola, if the ball hits the ground, they're hitting it straight back to Trish. She's all over the place, a real aggressive goalie, always coming out at you."
Although Maryland (9-9) has struggled this season, that could not diminish Loyola's victory, only their second ever over the Terrapins and their first at home. That first win, on April 22, 1997, ended a 50-game Terps winning streak.
"Playing Maryland any time is such a big game, especially with the history they have - seven national championships in a row," Dabrowski said. "We just wanted to come out, play well and give us confidence going into the NCAA tournament."
What could be a better confidence-booster than holding the Terps to their lowest offensive output in 11 years? Not since May 18, 1991 - a 4-3 NCAA tournament semifinal win over New Hampshire - had the Terps been held to four goals.
Although Dabrowski made some superb saves - including three in a critical first-half stretch while clinging to a 2-1 lead - defenders Marianne Gioffre, Kristi Korrow, Jen Albright, Kate Hardesty and Stacey Morlang conspired to make her job easier.
"We had the scouting report. We knew exactly what each one of their players wanted to do," Dabrowski said. "Our defense stepped up as a unit. We had a whole awareness out there."
Maryland actually won all the key possession categories - shots, 23-21, ground balls, 25-20, and draw controls, 7-6 - but Loyola caused 11 of the Terps' 12 turnovers and forced a lot of off-the-mark shots.
"We played fantastic settled defense," said Loyola coach Diane Geppi-Aikens. "We also played risky defense, which means we played them a lot higher a lot sooner. We got burned a couple times, but by doing that, we stopped some of their transition goals."
The Greyhounds (14-3) also looked sharper on attack than they had in Wednesday's 13-10 loss at No. 5 Virginia.
Susan Tyrell and Suzanne Eyler scored in the first four minutes and Loyola never trailed. The Terps, however, cut the lead to one three times, the last at 5-4 when Meredith Egan slipped in a low angle shot with 11:07 remaining.
But the Greyhounds answered with two terrific goals. Morlang took a pass from Stephanie Walker and nailed a scorching spinner inside the far post with 7:34 to go. Eyler then finished off the game with her third goal by slipping defender Annie Morris about 15 meters out and going straight in with 2:48 remaining.
Despite the loss, Terps goalie Alexis Venechanos turned in one of her best performances this season. She stopped 11 shots and made some terrific point-blank saves.
Egan scored twice for the Terps, while Hobbs, who could barely walk, managed just one free-position goal. The senior spent the past few days on crutches after spraining an ankle in Wednesday's 13-9 loss to No. 1 Princeton, but she said she wasn't about to miss one of her final college games.
Maryland 2 2 - 4
Loyola 3 4 - 7
Goals: M-Egan 2, Judd, Hobbs; L-Eyler 3, Morlang, Tyrell, Shacklock, Borrone. Assists: M-Leggio; L-Morlang 3, Walker. Saves: M-Venechanos 11; L-Dabrowski 11.