April 1, 2012

No. 15 Loyola Hands No. 6 Notre Dame First Loss

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Live Blog Replay

BALTIMORE -- The No. 15 Loyola Greyhounds brought a crushing end to sixth-ranked Notre Dame's undefeated start to the season, with a fast-paced 17-11 win over the Irish on Saturday at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola's veteran defense held the Irish to a season-low goal output while a youth movement led the Greyhounds attack, with 12 goals coming from freshmen. Hannah Schmitt had four goals and two assists and Annie Thomas had four goals and one assist, and freshman midfielder Sydney Thomas had a hat trick.

Loyola never trailed in the game, and went on an eight-goal run in the second half to put the game well out of reach.

"Our youngsters were making it happen today," said Loyola head coach Jen Adams. "I'd call it a settled up-tempo offense. We wanted quicker ball movement versus their backer defense. We really let the ball do the work for us today."

With the victory, the Greyhounds rise to a 7-3 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the Big East. The Irish are now 8-1 and 2-1 in conference, leaving top-ranked Northwestern as the only undefeated in the country after the Wildcats beat Ohio State in overtime on Saturday.

Junior midfielder Cass Cursaro opened scoring with a bounce shot on an assist from Schmitt, beginning a 5-1 run that gave the Greyhounds an early lead. Notre Dame responded with a four straight and tied the score at 5-5 with 4:36 left in the first half. About a minute later, Junior attacker Joanna Dalton (two goals) gave Loyola the lead on an assist from up top from sophomore midfielder Marlee Paton. Paton, the Greyhounds leader in goals this season, was held to a one score by Irish freshman midfielder Barb Sullivan, but Paton dished out four assists.

"We're all coming together for the first time. It was taking a few games to connect, but now it's so easy to look up and see someone and know they can score," said Paton.

Schmitt added another unassisted goal before halftime to give Loyola a 7-5 lead at the break. The Greyhounds struggled on the draw in the first half, winning only 2 of 13 attempts, and owed their lead to stiff defense from goalie Kerry Stoothoff (eight saves) and defender Kellye Gallagher (three caused turnovers). Draws have been a sore spot all season for Loyola, with draw specialist Taryn van Thof out for the season with a knee injury.

"At halftime, we said individually we needed to make more of an effort," said Dalton, who took all of Loyola's draws and helped the Greyhounds to an 11-6 draw control advantage in the second period.

The possessions were necessary to stay in front of the Irish's powerful attack. Notre Dame came within one goal of another tie when senior midfielder Megan Sullivan beat Stoothoff one-on-one at 24:52 to cap a three-goal run. But then Loyola went on its eight-goal stretch and built a 17-8 lead with 5:13 to play. The Irish went on a late three-goal run in the final five minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Senior defender Ana Heneberry came out on top of her match-up with Notre Dame attack phenom Maggie Tamasitis, holding her to a single goal. Tamasitis did finish with five assists, but three of them came during the Irish's late run when the game was well in hand for Loyola.

Junior attacker Jamie Morrison and freshman midfielder Caitlin Gargan had three goals apiece to lead the scoring for Notre Dame.

"It was the lack of energy our team brought to the field today. We wanted to be patient on offense, and when you don't have the ball you can't be patient," said Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny, whose team was coming off a 13-12 overtime win against Rutgers on Friday night heading into the Loyola game.


The 17 goals allowed is the most by Notre Dame since a 19-7 loss to Northwestern in the 2010 NCAA tournament ... Joanna Dalton, Loyola's newly anointed draw specialist, is the younger sister of senior J.P Dalton, who takes faceoffs for the Greyhounds men's lacrosse team. J.P Dalton won 12 of 19 face-offs in Loyola's 8-7 win over Ohio State on Saturday. Joanna had a career-high four draw controls versus the Irish.

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