James Madison still high on No. 1 Loyola's list

Conference rivalry over, but past isn't forgotten

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

March 27, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Even though Loyola is no longer in the Colonial Athletic Association, don't expect the Greyhounds' annual showdown with longtime CAA rival James Madison tomorrow to be any less meaningful.

"It's too close. The memories are still too fresh," said Suzanne Eyler, a fifth-year Greyhounds midfielder. "We went back and forth every other year, so that competitiveness is still there. Conference or no conference, James Madison is one of our biggest rivalries by far."

In the 11 seasons since the conference was formed, the Greyhounds and Dukes dominated the tournament. Loyola, now an independent, won six tournament crowns while the Dukes won three.

Last season, the Dukes were a little off their game in the tournament, falling in the semifinals, while the Greyhounds went on to win the title, 12-5, over Old Dominion. In the five previous years, however, the Greyhounds and Dukes had battled it out in the title game.

Loyola dominated the even-numbered years, winning in every one back to 1994. The Dukes won in every odd-numbered year back to 1997.

When the Greyhounds (7-0) travel to Harrisonburg, Va., tomorrow, a lot still will be on the line, most notably the Greyhounds' No. 1 ranking. This is their third week atop the poll - their longest run ever at the top.

Even that cannot make the rivalry any more intense, said James Madison senior Lisa Staedt, the CAA Player of the Year in 2002, whose No. 10 Dukes are 6-1 under new coach Kellie Young.

"Them being No. 1 is definitely motivation," said Staedt, "but I don't think it's the driving force in wanting to beat them. It's the rivalry. We've played them year in and year out and we've always been competitive. In a way, it's almost more important now, because we only get one chance to play them."

All about `D' for Terps

One of the biggest differences between No. 2 Maryland's 8-0 record this season and its 5-3 mark at this time a year ago has been its defense.

No opponent has managed to hit double digits against the Terrapins' defensive unit headed by starters Julie Shank, Greta Sommers, Molly Lambert, Laura Warren and goalie Alexis Venechanos.

Through Saturday's 16-5 win over No. 13 Old Dominion, the Terps have held the opposition to 6.0 goals a game - the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The field players have also caused 107 turnovers, an average of 13.4 a game.

A year ago, the Terps were 5-3 after allowing 10 goals or more three times and giving up an average of 9.8 goals a game.

The greatest improvement has come from Venechanos, a senior who has struggled at times during her career.

This season, her .593 save percentage is 130 percentage points better than she averaged during her first three seasons. It is also the best in the ACC, in which the Terps have gone 3-0 and already clinched the top seed for the tournament that runs April 18-20 in Charlottesville, Va.

Milestones

Virginia senior Lauren Aumiller became the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer in Tuesday's 19-10 win at UMBC. The Notre Dame Prep graduate had four goals and two assists, boosting her career totals to 181 and 75. Her 256 career points broke the record of 251 set by Lindsey Sheehan in 1986.

Duke freshman Katie Chrest, The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year last season, earned ACC Player of the Week honors after contributing seven goals - nearly a third of her team's offense - in wins over No. 6 Princeton and No. 3 Georgetown last week. Through nine games, the Maryvale graduate's 32 points already rank her fourth all-time among Blue Devils freshmen as well as fifth in the ACC this season.

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