Loyola came through when the pressure was on — especially in the second half and overtime.
The Greyhounds trailed four times in the second half and rallied to force overtime Sunday. Kara Burke tied the game before Hannah Schmitt scored the game-winner with 3.8 seconds left to give sixth-seeded Loyola a 10-9 victory over Penn in a first-round NCAA tournament game at the Ridley Athletic Complex.
Loyola (14-5) will meet No. 3-seed Maryland on Saturday at noon in College Park in the quarterfinals. Greyhounds coach Jen Adams — who won four national titles playing for the Terps from 1998-2001 — was delighted with how tough her team played under pressure.
"It was a battle back and forth," Adams said. "Being able to hang on is tough and being able to finish under those situations is equally as hard. We were able to pull out the win, and the pressure [situations] … seemed to be when we played our best in this game."
Loyola's young offense came up big in this game. Sophomore Marlee Paton led the Greyhounds with four goals and one assist, and Burke came off the bench to score three times. Annie Thomas helped with one goal and three assists.
Freshman Sydney Thomas (one goal, two assists) scored the game-tying goal with 3:42 left in regulation to force overtime — two three-minute periods of non-sudden death play.
Meredith Cain gave Penn a 9-8 lead with 21.6 seconds left in the first extra period. But Burke's free-position shot with three-tenths of a second left in that period tied it again.
Senior goalie Kerry Stoothoff saved a Cain shot with about 20 seconds left in the second overtime period and, after a foul moments later, the Greyhounds started a fast break. Thomas made a long run and found Schmitt open on the right. Schmitt then beat Penn goalie Emily Leitner on a high shot.
"I kind of gave [Thomas] room, but stayed adjacent to her if she needed me," Schmitt said. "[Then] I found the open net."
The fast break was a rare one as Penn (9-8) wouldn't let the Greyhounds run much.
Penn coach Karin Brower Corbett said they wanted to control the Loyola fast break and not let the Greyhounds establish a fast-paced game.
"I think we frustrated them on attack," Corbett said. "They only scored  goals and they're a pretty high-scoring team. I do think we limited their chances."
The game remained close throughout as neither team led by more than one. Loyola never led in the second half as Penn led by one or the game remained tied.
The Quakers had several chances on offense and could have taken control at several points. But Stoothoff made 10 saves, and the Loyola defense remained tough
"There's so much emotion and stuff going on," Adams said. "It's the time for people to be playing their best lacrosse."
Adams will probably spend some time this week answering questions about coaching against her old team in the NCAA tournament. She played with Maryland coach Cathy Reese and later became her assistant coach.
The two teams haven't met since Adams took the Loyola job in 2009.
"I have a lot of respect, a lot of pride for Maryland, obviously coming from there," Adams said. "But it doesn't mean I don't want to beat them. Cathy's one of my best friends, but I'd love to beat her and make our way to a Final Four, and that's our goal."