Slowing down No. 1 Princeton too tough for Loyola women

No. 4 Greyhounds suffer season's 1st loss to 2-time defending champs, 9-5

March 08, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

If defense wins championships, Princeton's women's lacrosse team appears to be in good shape to go for a third straight national title.

Junior goalie Sarah Kolodner made 14 saves to lead the No. 1 Tigers to a 9-5 victory over No. 4 Loyola yesterday before about 1,500 fans at newly dedicated Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.

"Because the team's a little younger this year," said Princeton coach Chris Sailer, "we joke with Sarah that the defense has helped her out a lot for the last two years, so now, it's her turn to back us up. She really rose to the challenge today."

Kolodner already is the Tigers' all-time leader in goals-against average, allowing just 6.01 per game. She showed why with six saves in the first 15 minutes, including two quick recoveries to stop second shots off rebounds. That helped the Tigers build a 4-0 lead.

"She's a very talented goalie," said Loyola coach Kerri Johnson, "but we weren't patient on our shooting. We rushed some shots. I don't think we tested her as well as we could have."

The Greyhounds (3-1) changed that through the middle of the game. Taking advantage of an offensive offside call against the Tigers (2-0), Talia Shacklock finished a transition goal on a feed from Kate McHarg.

With 11:15 left in the half, Theresa Sherry boosted the Tigers lead to 5-1, but the Greyhounds answered with goals from Stephanie Walker, Sydney Greene and Rachel Shuck to pull within 5-4 at the half.

Jaclyn Borrone opened the second half by slipping a low free-position shot past Kolodner to tie the game, but the Tigers tightened their grip with four goals in the final 19:11. Freshman Kathleen Miller scored two of her three goals in the Tigers' final run and Lindsay Biles had one of her three.

In winning their 20th straight game, the Tigers showed few signs of a rebuilding defense that graduated Tewaaraton Trophy winner Rachael Becker and has four new starters in its seven-member unit.

Veteran defender Katie Norbury said her team knew what to expect from Loyola, which beat the Tigers, 9-8, in triple overtime a year ago, before falling to the Tigers, 5-3, in the national semifinals.

"They have a great crease challenge play," said Norbury, "and Lauren Vance did a great job containing that. We also knew they did a lot of give-and-goes, so it was important that we stayed on our feet."

The loss wasn't the way the Greyhounds had hoped to finish the day on which the former Curley Field was dedicated to Diane Geppi-Aikens, the Greyhounds' 15-year coach who died in June after a long battle with brain cancer.

"Of course, we're disappointed," said Shuck, "but in the long run, it's maybe better for us that we lost now to such a good team, so we know what to work on. They played great, but we just didn't play up to what we should be playing, so we'll get better."

Princeton 5 4 - 9

Loyola 4 1 - 5

Goals: P-Miller 3, Biles 3, Sherry 2, Pillion; L-Borrone, Greene, Shuck, Shacklock, Walker. Assists: P-Miller 2, Biles; L-Borrone, McHarg. Saves: P-Kolodner 14; L-Lawton 2, Ci.Nicolaus 9.

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