February 19, 2011

Paton Scores Four in Debut to Lead Loyola Over Virginia

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

BALTIMORE - Loyola freshman Marlee Paton scored four goals in her NCAA debut, leading the No. 12 ranked Greyhounds to a commanding 15-8 victory over No. 7 Virginia at Ridley Athletic Complex. Paton was one of eight players who scored for Loyola,in a well-balanced team effort that kicked off the Greyhounds’ season on a very high note. 

“I’m really proud of the effort of these girls,” said head coach Jen Adams. “They were very true to their character and they stuck to their game plan.”

Loyola struck first when Paton, the youngest player on the Australian women’s national team, scored on a bounce shot just 37 seconds into the game. Virginia responded with back to back goals from Julie Gardner (2g, 1a) and Ainsley Baker (2g) to go up 2-1 at 23:40 in the first half. It was the Cavaliers’ only lead of the day, and it was short-lived – Paton scored her second goal less than two minutes later, and then Grace Gavin (3g, 1a) added a go-ahead on a free position to make it 3-2 at 20:47. The Greyhounds never looked back.

“We had some really great feeds and fast breaks that the defense got started,” said Paton.

Loyola’s defense, anchored by senior Cara Filippelli and junior Ana Heneberry zeroed in on Virginia attackers Gardner and Josie Owen (1g, 1a) and pressured the Cavaliers behind the cage, forcing them to attack from up top with limited success. The Greyhounds defense was disciplined but effective inside the 8 meter arc, incurring only four free positions, none of which Virginia was able to covert on. Junior goalie Kerry Stoothoof finished with 8 saves, including a few 1v1s.

“We had some good chances and didn’t finish them,” said Gardner. “It was kind of a mental thing – going when it wasn’t there and waiting when we shouldn’t.”

Virginia goalie Kim Kolarik made 11 stops, but the Cavaliers struggled in transition, converting only nine of 18 clears. Junior defender Bailey Fogarty incurred two yellow cards for dangerous checks. She will not be eligible to play in the Cavaliers’ next game at Richmond on Feb. 23.

Despite the loss, Virginia head coach Julie Myers was philosophical about her team’s early season performance.

“For February 19, it’s about what we expected. Their seniors played like seniors. I do think our team is a team that’s going to get better. There were little mistakes, mental errors. Every other [clear] we tripped over it,” said Myers.

By contrast, Adams seemed elated with the result, which she said was due to adjustments the Loyola coaching staff had made in the offseason to better balance discipline and creativity on the field. The 2010 Greyhounds made a bad habit of blowing leads and went 1-6 in games decided by two goals or less. The 2011 edition, with 14 upperclassmen, appears better prepared to close the door on opponents, and to be frontrunners against top competition like Virginia.

“This is a great starting point for us and from here, we take off,” said Adams.

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