No. 12 Loyola women are clear winners over No. 7 Virginia

February 19, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

One statistic stood out in Saturday's Loyola-Virginia women's lacrosse game — clears. The No. 12 Greyhounds were perfect on 15 attempts, while No. 7 Virginia successfully cleared just half of 18 tries.

That gave the Greyhounds the offensive edge, especially late in the second half when they used a couple of transition goals to seal a 15-8 victory in the season opener for both teams at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola held an 11-6 lead going into the final 14 minutes when Mary Heneberry and Caroline Hager set off on a break-away two-on-two. Heneberry drew both defenders and dished off to Hager for the goal. After the Cavaliers turned over the next clear, Marlee Paton raced in for an unassisted goal to put the Greyhounds ahead 13-6 with nine minutes left.

"I don't even think you realized it as you were playing that every other one, we tripped over it," Virginia coach Julie Myers said of the clears. "We threw it away or we just ran a little bit too far. Whatever we were not supposed to do, we pretty much found a way to do that."

Loyola took advantage, converting six of Virginia's 18 turnovers and outshooting the young Cavaliers, 34-22.

Transition was just one aspect of an impressive season debut for the Greyhounds and their second straight win over Virginia, which leads the series, 21-8-1.

Paton led Loyola in scoring with four goals, while defenders Ana Heneberry and Cara Filippelli held the Cavaliers' top two scoring threats, Josie Owen and Julie Gardner, to a combined three goals. The defense played aggressively and controlled, allowing Virginia just four free-position shots, none of which were converted.

"We knew we were going to have to lock it down on the defensive end and really frustrate some of their key attackers," Loyola coach Jen Adams said. "We played some markups on some of their typically potent attackers that touch the ball a lot and a lot goes through them. I think that was a lot of the key to our success defensively, kind of taking them out the equation when they were trying to take the ball behind."

The Cavaliers took their only lead at 2-1 on back-to-back goals from Gardner and Ainsley Baker six minutes into the game, but the Greyhounds then worked their set offense for consecutive goals from Paton, Grace Gavin and Meg Decker to go up 4-2. Virginia would never lead again but would cut it to one twice before the Greyhounds pulled away.

Gavin's free-position goal to the end the half was the first in a 7-1 Greyhounds' run that ended with Paton's transition goal for the 13-6 lead with nine minutes left.

The 2010 Big East Attack Player of the Year, Gavin finished with three goals and one assist despite a solid defensive effort from the Cavaliers' Liz Downs. Patient and deliberate with their set offense, especially in the first three quarters of the game, the Greyhounds had eight players score.

"We came out wanting to settle the ball, get a lot of touches and integrate every player into our offense," said Gavin, a St. Paul's graduate. "We ran a lot of plays in the beginning and once we cracked open that shell, we just kind of took off."

Virginia 5 3 -- 8

Loyola 7 8 -- 15

Goals: V—Finnigan 2, Gardner 2, Baker 2, Owen, Blue; L—Paton 4, Gavin 3, Hager 2, Decker 2, M.Heneberry, Rehfuss, Dalton, Filippelli. Assists: V—Boyle, Finnigan, Gardner, Owen; L—M.Heneberry 2, Decker, Filippelli, Gavin, Hager. Saves: V—Kolarik 11; L—Stoothoff 8.

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