Loyola Tops Virginia 16-12 in Key Non-Conference Tilt
In-Game Blog Recap
Not even the frigid temperatures and blistering wind chill could silence the Loyola offense, as the 10th-ranked Hounds posted 13 second-half goals in their 16-12 season opening win at No. 7 Virginia.
A foot of snow had blanketed the Charlottesville area in the middle of the week, which moved Saturday's game from famed, Klockner Stadium, to UVa's Turf Field.
Loyola has prepared for the season on it's Field turf practice field, but Saturday's contest was the first experience that many Greyhounds had playing on AstroTurf. Though the Cavaliers were more familiar with the facilities, the change in venues played right into the visitors' hands.
The biggest beneficiary of the switch was junior Hannah Schmitt, who tied a career high six goals, five of which came in the second half of play. The Cavaliers had to account for number 14 all day, as Schmitt used her quick first step to create opportunities in front of the Virginia cage.
"That's what I got recruited here for, was my speed," Schmitt said following the win. "Whenever I can run, I just run."
"She's got speed that can't be matched," added Loyola head coach Jen Adams. "[She] is really starting to understand the game in a way that is going to make her really powerful this year."
Virginia had defeated Loyola in Schmitt's previous two season openers in a Loyola uniform, but the junior was ready to flip in her third crack at the Cavaliers.
Whenever the Greyhounds needed a shot of energy, the junior responded, often in dramatic fashion. The Cavaliers built a 5-2 lead with less than a minute to play in the first half, but Schmitt needed just 11 seconds to give the visitors the momentum heading into the locker room, notching her first goal of the afternoon, just before halftime.
After Taryn VanThoff drew first blood of the second half, Schmitt tied the game for the first time since 0-0.
With the score knotted at seven, Schmitt fired a bullet into the left hand corner give the Hounds their first advantage of the day.
It was a lead that Loyola would not relinquish.
The Cavaliers pulled to within one with 20:06 left in the contest, but the visitors would completely own the next ten minutes of play.
Loyola dominated the time of possession and used its early advantage on draws to push the tempo during a 5-0 second-half run.
It was not just Schmitt as a variety of Greyhounds made their presence felt during the offensive surge.
After Annie Thomas put the Hounds ahead by two, senior midfielder, Marlee Paton notched a free position shot, which forced UVa head coach, Julie Meyers to call a timeout to talk things over.
When play resumed, Paton, who led her team with seven points, dished out back-to-back assists to keep the ball rolling for the Greyhounds. Paton found a cutting Sydney Thomas in front of the net, and on the ensuing possession, ripped a beautiful ball to VanThoff, who would then polish off her third score of the afternoon.
Paton reached a program milestone midway through the second half, picking up her 100th career ground ball, becoming only the second Greyhound in history record, 100 goals, 50 assists, 200 points, and 100 ground balls.
Loyola did an excellent job of working the ball around, as seven different Hounds scored, and seven goals were assisted, including five from Paton. Loyola outshot UVa, 21-15 in the second half, and made the most of every single possession.
"I think we went into the locker room at halftime and we knew that we weren't playing the best offense that we could play," Adams said. "We had a lot of good opportunities in the first half, but not good finishes."
"I think we were a little jittery with it being our first game of the season. We were dropping balls that I had not seen us drop all during practice and it was very uncharacteristic. We talked about seeing the ball into our stick, one play at a time, and really finishing the shots was a huge one for us."
Virginia did not go away quietly, as the Wahoos netted five goals in the final third of half, but the ten-minute dry spell proved costly, as there was simply not enough time to catch the red-hot Greyhounds.
Three Cavaliers logged hat tricks, with Maddy Keeshan, Casey Bocklet, and Courtney Swan each tallying three goals. Swan and Keeshan each recorded an assist for Virginia, which fell to 0-2 on the young season.
For the second week in a row, Virginia held a two-goal lead at intermission, only to see it disappear in the final 30 minutes of play.
"This was definitely a disappointing outing for us," Virginia head coach, Julie Meyers said. "I thought we played really sloppy from start to finish. There were a couple of moments where I thought we would get our rhythm going and our feet under us, pick up some of those balls and shoot a little bit better, but time and again, we just blew the opportunity. Loyola was as sloppy as us in the first half, but they cleaned it up in the second. I give them credit for winning that game."
Virginia will be back in action at home against instate rival, Richmond on Wednesday, while Loyola will welcome Princeton to Baltimore for its home opener next Saturday..