#LMRanks: No. 10 Loyola Greyhounds (WD1)
|Senior Marlee Paton is a returning All-American and expected to be a big part of Loyola's first season in the Patriot League. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)|
Previous: No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2013 Record: 11-9 (6-2 Big East)
Coach: Jen Adams (6th year)
Record at Loyola: 64-31
Draw Control: 4
M Marlee Paton (Sr.)
Paton was the 2013 Big East Midfielder of the Year, an All-America for the second straight season and the lone midfielder from the Big East to be named to the Tewaaraton Top-25. She already has more than 100 goals, 50 assists and 200 points in her career. She isn't just offensive minded. She's seventh on Loyola's all-time list with 73 caused turnovers.
G Molly Wolf (So.)
Wolf came to Loyola highly touted, the No. 2 ranked goalie in the Class of 2012 by ESPNHS, and was thrust into the starting role as a freshman last year. She had her struggles, but grew more comfortable late in the season. "Molly's consistency on a game-by-game basis is crucial and will be the catalyst for our defensive success," Adams said.
NCAA Tournament Trend
2009 - DNQ
2010 - DNQ
2011 - Quarterfinals
2012 - Quarterfinals
2013 – Second Round
A member of the Big East since 2005, Loyola is moving to the Patriot League this year. The Greyhounds won two of the last three Big East championships and retain Big East rivals Georgetown and Syracuse on their schedule. They make their Patriot debut at Lafayette on Mar. 15.
Out of their top nine scorers that are back from last year's offense that ranked 13th nationally in points. Joanna Dalton, their second-leading goal scorer last year with 35 goals, graduated.
What Rival Coaches Say
"Loyola's midfield may be the best in the country. Van Thof on the draw and speed at both ends. Excited to see what Loyola will do this season."
"Greyhounds look to contend for the Patriot League championship in 2014 returning Paton and VanThof."
"The Greyhounds have been on the verge of a breakthrough season for a few years now. They have talent, and they have coaching. Can they put it all together and win enough games to make the NCAA tournament? Expect Marlee Paton to be a force in the midfield."
"The Hounds are hitting their stride this season with every class putting it all on the line. From senior Marlee Paton to sophomore goalie Molly Wolf, Loyola has threats all over the field."
"A speedy and relentless midfield, great sticks, and nice team D. "
"They will be the surprise team of the year. Lots of talent on both sides of the field."
"Should decimate the Patriot League. Strong fall."
"They have a lot of weapons. If they can be disciplined in their decision-making and defense, they could be a dark horse to make the championship game."
"They were young last year. The experiences they gained will help."
In a Nutshell: Wins in eight of its final 11 games after a 2-5 start earned Loyola the final at-large bid to the newly expanded NCAA Tournament. Key wins over then No. 10 Penn State and No. 6 Notre Dame solidified the Greyhounds' resume. After a first-round loss to Georgetown in its final Big East Tournament, Loyola won its third straight NCAA opener before falling to eventual champion North Carolina.
High Point: The double overtime 14-13 win on the road at previously unbeaten Notre Dame helped Loyola turn the page from a tough loss to Georgetown and rough start to the season. Hannah Schmitt broke a long scoreless streak by the Greyhounds to force overtime, assisted on the tying goal in the first overtime and scored the game-winner in the sudden death period. Loyola won five of their next six games before the Big East Tournament.
Low Point: After starting the season 2-2, the Greyhounds lost three straight games beginning with discouraging losses to Florida and Delaware. Loyola was down one goal to Florida three minutes into the second half, but didn't score again in a 16-7 blowout loss. An eight-day break gave them plenty of time to recover, but they came out in quicksand against Delaware, rallied to take a late lead before being upset, 10-9. They followed it with a last-second loss to James Madison to slip to 2-5.
Best Case: Behind one of the most explosive offenses in the country and a defense and goalie that have a year of maturation together, Loyola uses a tough non-conference schedule to ready it for its first Patriot League championship. The Greyhounds host opening weekend and ride the play of Tewaaraton finalist Marlee Paton and talented midfielder Taryn VanThof all the way to the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Worst Case: Loyola stumbles in their Patriot debut trying to get by hungry Boston University and a proud Navy team that uses its firepower to exploit the Greyhounds' defense. A first Patriot League Championship appearance provides no consolation. After another slow start out of conference, and without a signature win, they draw a tough first-round NCAA foe and make an opening-game exit for the first time in four seasons.
Self-Examination— Jen Adams on...
Marlee Paton: "Marlee just needs to trust her amazing instinct and get involved in as much of the play as possible. She has really settled into the tempo of the offense with this group of players and if she remains confident in her role and knows her strengths she will be very hard to stop. Marlee's consistency will have a big impact on the team this season. Expect a more mature, creative, and confident player and leader out there this year. Marlee played some of the best lacrosse I have ever seen her play this fall, and if she can carry that over into the spring she will be one of the top players in the country."
Katrina Geiger: "Katrina spent much of her freshman year capitalizing on her athleticism and developing her lacrosse to a new level. After a season under her belt she has emerged stronger and with a smoother stick and understanding of how she can help change a game. Katrina is an engine for us in the midfield. She has the ability to come up with big plays when we need them most. This season she will find herself in a position to be much more of an offensive threat and her finishing is a key to our transition."
Annie Thomas: "Annie is the quarterback of our offense. She is back in form after last season where she came back from her ACL injury and was never physically at her peak. Annie can be one of the best players on the field with her ability to finish cleanly and also assist her teammates. Every time Annie touches the ball she creates plays. She is the kind of player that cannot go unnoticed and if she can put together complete games I think she will alleviate much of the pressure put on our other top players."