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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Loyola pulls ahead of Virginia in tough 7-6 win

Loyola pulls ahead of Virginia in tough 7-6 win

Normally in women’s lacrosse, winning the draw means you win the game. Loyola defied that truth Wednesday night against No. 8 Virginia. The Greyhounds beat the Cavaliers 7-6, after leading 4-1 at halftime.

The Hounds only won five draws, with UVA’s draw control numbers doubling that of Loyola. What led to Loyola’s success was not the initial result of the draw, but how the Hounds handled the moments directly afterward: capitalizing on ground balls and possession at every possible opportunity.

“Virginia’s a very good team, especially on the draw,” midfielder Sabrina Tabasso said. “They’re greedy, they’re fast, it was more like we were focusing on getting that second, third, fourth touch.”

Tabasso took the draw for Loyola the entire game, leading the Hounds with five ground balls and one assist.

Loyola gained an early, crucial lead, starting with an unassisted goal from freshman Taylor VanThof less than a minute into the game, followed by senior Maddy Blakeman with two back-to-back goals.

Sophomore Frankie Kamely brought the Hounds to a comfortable 4-0 lead with an unassisted roll from the X for a sidearm top-right corner shot.

Even though Loyola possessed the ball on their offensive end for the first 13 minutes of the game, the Greyhounds’ defense was able to deflect Virginia’s shot attempts once the Cavaliers were finally able to clear it and transition.

“When our offense was playing well, I think it lifted our defense to step up and close those gaps,” Loyola head coach Jen Adams said. “We were just continuing to send that message. Virginia’s not a sleeper team, they’re not the kind of team that gets behind and just gives up on the game, so [we were] just keeping our defense on their toes. When they do get the opportunity, they’re going to come hard and fast at you.”

Virginia wasn’t able to get on the board until Kasey Behr scored off an 8-meter free shot at 4:13 left in the first half.

Loyola absolutely dominated the first half, but UVA’s momentum increased noticeably once the second half started. Virginia midfielders Daniela Kelly and Posey Valis decreased the deficit to a two-point difference with 10 minutes left in regulation.

Just over 20 seconds later, Loyola responded with a goal by freshman Hannah Powers. At 7:59 left in the third quarter, Powers fed the ball from behind the net to junior Cami Whiteford, who secured a bounce-shot goal to cushion Loyola’s lead at 7-3.

“In the first half we were hot, we were finding the back of the net, we were making great decisions,” Coach Adams said. “Then kind of towards the tail end of the first half, leading into the second, I felt that we were rushing things. We were taking poor angle shots, it felt like it was more risk-reward, so we needed to keep possession of the ball and make sure when we struck we were looking for the back of the net.”

Loyola definitely got their shots off, but had trouble actually shooting on cage, with only 15 out of 27 total shots on goal.

“We had a lot of shots and not all of our shots [were] on goal,” Blakeman said. “But when we worked it around and worked as a unit and got good looks on cage we finished.”

Virginia scored the final three goals of the game, closing the gap to a single goal with less than four minutes left in regulation. Loyola gained and held possession for the remainder of the game without any attempted shots. A close call, but huge win for Loyola against a top-10 team.

“I thought our defense did a phenomenal job today of locking down a very tough and very good offensive unit in Virginia,” Coach Adams said. “They have a lot of really great one-on-one players. Our match-ups did a great job, we went in and out of a bunch of different styles and I think maybe that kind of got into [Virginia’s] system a little bit and shook things up. I think in part that maybe got them off their game a little bit, throwing some balls away that we don’t typically see Virginia throw away.

“Just hustle play. Our girls were super greedy today, they came out and were fired up for this game, [they] wanted to turn our season around.”

Wednesday night’s victory marks Loyola’s second win of the season. The Hounds host American on March 15 at 7 p.m. in their first Patriot League match-up of the year.

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Loyola pulls ahead of Virginia in tough 7-6 win