February 23, 2013

Rapid Reaction: Loyola 13, Penn State 11 (WD1)

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Live Blog Replay

BALTIMORE — The sixth-ranked Loyola women's lacrosse team held off a late surge by ninth-ranked Penn State to win 13-11 in the first half of a doubleheader Saturday at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex.

What We Learned

1. Taryn VanThof might be Loyola's most important player.

VanThof, who missed the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL, had three goals, two assists and a career-high eight draw controls in the Greyhounds' victory. Loyola started the second half on a 4-0 run to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 10-7 lead it never relinquished. VanThof factored in three of those four goals and was everywhere on draw controls. As the Greyhounds took the air out of the ball (see #2), Penn State extended its defense, giving VanThof an avenue to dodge downhill.

"She dodges hard, and she benefitted from us having to come out defensively," Penn State coach Missy Doherty said. "She took advantage. It was a good time for her to do what she does."

Aussie Marlee Paton is Loyola's best offensive player. VanThof might be the most important.

2. The Greyhounds, led by the most explosive offensive player of all time in Jen Adams, might need to (gasp) employ a slower pace to maximize scoring opportunities.

As Loyola hit its stride (and stopped violating) on draw controls and opened a lead early in the second half, the Greyhounds had consecutive possessions of five-plus minutes. It took Penn State nearly 11 minutes to register its first shot of the second half.

Nittany Lions coach Missy Doherty said she was surprised Loyola took its foot off the gas.

"I was surprised myself," Adams said. "I'm not a fan of it. I was an offensive-styled player and I like offensive-styled coaching. Our goal was to get Penn State out off the line, and at times they let us eat the clock. I'm wising up in my head coaching years and realizing sometimes to win a game you need to have a bit of balance on the game clock."

3. Yellow cards pack a punch.

Penn State managed to make a late run when Loyola drew consecutive yellow cards late in the second half. The first card went to Molly Hulseman with 10:06 remaining, followed by Ashley Moulton with 9:35 left.

The Nittany Lions capitalized with goals by Maggie McCormick (2g, 1a) and Tatum Coffey to pull within one before the teams were even strength.

The NCAA implemented a man-down enforcement of yellow cards in 2012. Loyola had four yellow cards in a physical game that saw 55 total fouls.

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