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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Greyhounds look to set standard in Patriot League

Loyola finished their 2013 campaign with a somewhat disappointing 11-9 mark and an exit in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. But this season the No. 10 Greyhounds are ready to make their mark on a new league with a deep run in the postseason. 6870038 (3)
Senior Marlee Paton will be expected once again to carry a heavy load in the midfield where she scored 39 goals and added 25 assists in 2013, leading the team in overall points. Paton was named the preseason Patriot League offensive player of the year; she is accompanied by fellow Hounds Maddy Lesher, Hannah Schmitt, Annie Thomas and Taryn VanThoff on the preseason All-Patriot League team.
The preseason Patriot League poll has Loyola favored to take the title, followed by last years champion Navy. However, facing a new slate of opponents is always a daunting challenge. “We’re excited for the change and to be under one umbrella here at school; I think it’s going to be really special for the team in general,” said head coach Jen Adams. “Our goal is to come in and set a standard in the Patriot League for lacrosse. To have the ability to compete at such a high level in the BIG EAST against such great teams—that’s really prepared us and served us well to get that mentality as a team that we belong at the top.”
The Navy Midshipmen finished last season with a 19-2 mark and will be a crucial test for the Hounds late in the year. Loyola kicks off their season with a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia to face the Cavaliers before returning home to take on Princeton. Wins will not come easy in the early weeks for the Greyhounds, whose non-conference schedule includes Johns Hopkins, Florida, Penn State and Georgetown.
Florida has established itself as a legitimate contender after becoming a Division I team in 2010. The Gators made quick work of the Hounds last season with a 16-7 victory in Gainesville.
Johns Hopkins has reestablished themselves as a high-level team in recent years and handed the Greyhounds an 11-8 loss last season. When the Greyhounds finally reach Patriot League play they will already have seven games under their belt, but cannot afford a let down early on against Lafayette and Bucknell.
“We don’t know a lot about the teams we’ll be playing. I think it will be a great opportunity for us as a team to set a standard to win a Patriot League title in our first year as members,” said Adams. The Hounds are fortunate to be able to ease into conference action; they won’t face a true test until late in the regular season when they battle Navy and Boston University.
Senior leadership will be key for the Greyhounds as they enter a new league and face a whole slate of new opponents. “We may have a small group of seniors but the leadership they bring is extremely powerful,” Adams said. Team captains Katie Reinhard, Taryn VanThoff and Marlee Paton will be expected to contribute both on and off the field.
VanThoff and Paton started all 20 games for the Hounds last season and Reinhard started 18. On the defensive end, Maddie Lesher and goalkeeper Molly Wolf will be expected to quarterback a defense that was exposed last season, allowing just over 10 goals per game. Depth is an important factor for the Greyhounds, the team struggled late in the 2013 season and Adams and her staff intend to utilize their freshmen and sophomore talent more effectively this year.
“As we hit these Patriot League games, we want involvement and we intend to go pretty deep into our bench. Our goal is to make sure our freshmen are ready come that time,” Adams said. “The benefit for them is that they have these incredible leaders and role models that they get to watch every day and aspire to be like them.”
Katrina Geiger headlines a list of young players to watch for Loyola. “She does the little things to allow Marlee and Taryn to have the freedom to perform for us,” said Adams. “I think a lot of the focus is on the stars of the team and that will allow some of the younger girls to step up and perform,” said Adams. The list of talent is long for the Greyhounds, which makes matchups for other teams exceedingly difficult. “Everyday when I look in my locker room I think I could be looking at a National Championship side,” said Adams.

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Greyhounds look to set standard in Patriot League