Loyola women make JMU blink, 14-9

Mental toughness helps pull out 5th straight win

College Lacrosse

March 27, 2004|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

So little separates James Madison and Loyola this season in women's lacrosse. Both teams have racecar speed, both play rugged defense, and both have young coaches eager to put their stamp on a revered program.

The two even came into yesterday's contest at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field tied for fifth in rankings. But one quality turned out to be the difference. Loyola, which pulled away late for a 14-9 win, was fearless. James Madison was not.

James Madison (5-2), which outshot Loyola 31-28 and was within 10-9 with 7:58 to play, couldn't overcome the Greyhounds' psychological advantage.

"Their team showed up to play, and our team came in a little bit scared," Dukes second-year coach Kellie Young said. "We're still learning how to be great. It's time to get them to believe that."

Sydney Green's four goals and one assist led Loyola (8-1), which won its fifth straight. Jaclyn Barrone scored four times, and Stephanie Walker scored three goals and had an assist.

Green (team-leading 20 goals) had a hat trick in the first half to help Loyola take a 6-2 lead into the locker room.

"This was a really big game for us," Green said. "We needed to prove to ourselves that we could beat this team. ... I think our defense was awesome today as a unit."

Loyola's defenders certainly got a workout. James Madison had the ball on the Greyhounds' end of the field for much of the first half. The Dukes, however, didn't have much luck against Loyola's Kim Lawton, who made 11 saves before intermission.

At the start of the second half, Gail Decker and Jessica Brownridge shot the Dukes right back into the game. Brownridge scored twice and assisted on another goal to pull James Madison to 9-8, and then Decker answered a goal by Loyola's Jen Schuerholz to make it 10-9. Greyhounds first-year coach Kerri Johnson then called timeout.

"I told them they needed to play with discipline, they needed to play with heart and they needed to play with passion," Johnson said.

Loyola held the ball for close to a minute after the timeout, and Walker made the patience pay off, beating Dukes goalie Livvy King with 6:07 remaining.

Loyola won the ensuing draw, repeated the strategy and got another goal from Schuerholz.

"We made some mistakes and put the game in their hands," Young said. "Loyola's a very good team. They earned that win today."

James Madison 2 7 - 9

Loyola 6 8 - 14

Goals: JMU-Brownridge 3, Decker 3, Buck, Dardine, Martell; L-Borrone 4, Greene 4, Walker 3, Schuerholz 2, Shuck. Assists: JMU-Browridge; L-Shuck 2, Greene, Shacklock, Walker. Saves: JMU-Altig 7, King 4; L-Lawton 11, Nicolaus 5.

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