Loyola women hold on to top Penn State, 15-14

Albright's defensive play is key for Greyhounds

College Lacrosse

April 06, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Loyola's Jen Albright got the last laugh on her best friend, Penn State's Colleen O'Hara, with a couple of huge defensive plays in the final minutes that, combined with a 3 1/2 -minute Greyhounds stall, preserved a 15-14 Loyola victory yesterday at Curley Field.

In a rivalry that has featured four one-goal decisions in five years, the two seniors, who met while playing on a Pennsylvania state soccer team in high school, each played crucial roles.

O'Hara scored four times in the first half as the No. 9 Nittany Lions (5-5) used their set offense to burn the No. 2 Greyhounds (10-0) for nine goals - more than Loyola had given up in an entire game all season.

Still, in their first televised game, the Greyhounds never trailed, taking their biggest lead when Jaclyn Borrone rolled to the crease for a 15-11 advantage with 15:19 to go. The Nittany Lions then began to patiently whittle away at that margin, while the Greyhounds tried to strike in transition every time down.

Katie Jeschke's third goal of the game brought the Nittany Lions within 15-14 with 7:33 to go.

But Albright denied the tying goal when she blocked Shari Maslin's shot with about five minutes left. The ball clipped off the top of Albright's stick and bounced wide of the goal, where Loyola got possession.

"I thought she was coming around the crease wide-open and I was sliding from the top, so I just tried to get down there," said the defensive midfielder. "I didn't even get to put my body on her, so I just stuck my stick out there and deflected it."

A couple minutes later, after Penn State goalie Lee Tortorelli stopped Sydney Greene's attempt to add an insurance goal, Albright scooped up an errant Nittany Lions pass to put the Greyhounds back in control.

For the rest of the game - about 3:20 - the Greyhounds maintained possession as the Nittany Lions tried to cover them one-on-one. Jen Schuerholz ran around, eluding her defender for much of the time.

Loyola playmaker Rachel Shuck said she was surprised the Nittany Lions didn't try to double-team the ball more.

"My girl didn't leave me at all, so I just kept running, trying to stay away from the ball," Shuck said. "Jen just ran almost the whole time, so I was surprised they didn't try to bump a little bit more."

Penn State coach Suzanne Isidor said: "We were trying to step up man-to-man and not let them get the pass off. As soon as we would start to double, they would move the ball."

Loyola's finish, avenging last season's 10-9 loss, came without two of its top players on the field - fifth-years Suzanne Eyler and Marianne Gioffre.

Eyler, who still led the Greyhounds with four goals, was ejected late in the first half when she re-entered the game early after picking up a yellow card. Because she didn't stay out the entire three minutes, apparently due to miscommunication, she picked up the automatic red card. Gioffre, a defender, left the game early in the second half with leg cramps.

Still the Greyhounds overcame those losses and that second-half stretch in which they tried to strike quickly and took several ill-advised shots.

"We weren't patient," said Greyhounds coach Diane Geppi-Aikens, "and we told them in the timeout, `You're winning. Play like you're winning and set the plays up, because when we set the plays up, we put the ball in the back of the net.' "

Penn State 9 5 - 14

Loyola 10 5 - 15

Goals: PS-O'Hara 4, Jeschke 3, Burke 3, Maslin 2, Bryan, Donohue; L-Eyler 4, Shacklock 3, Walker 3, Shuck 2, Schuerholz, Tyrrell, Borrone. Assists: PS-O'Hara 2, Jeschke 2, Maslin, Bryan; L-Shuck 2, Shacklock, Greene. Saves: PS-Tortorelli 8; L-Lawton 3, Ci.Nicolaus 3.

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