September 29, 2013

Loyola Hosts Hopkins, Michigan in Fall Kick-Off

by Clare Lochary | | Twitter

Loyola hosted Johns Hopkins and Michigan
on a
picture-perfect fall Sunday.
©UA Lacrosse (via Instagram)

Fall started officially on September 22nd, but this weekend was where teams got their first chance to shake off some cobwebs and hit the field against live competition. Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex was host to one of those events, where the Greyhounds hosted Charles Street rival Johns Hopkins and first-year program Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

How did they look?

First Look at Michigan

Michigan freshman Kim Coughlan, a midfielder from Port Jefferson, N.Y., got a little piece of Wolverines' sports history for herself today. She scored the first goal in Michigan's first game against NCAA competition, on a low bounce shot on a free position late in the first half of the first game of the Greyhounds' fall play day. Loyola won the scrimmage by an unofficial score of 14-5, but a first year program has to start somewhere.

Coughlan and fellow freshman attacker (and fellow Long Islander) Tess Korten appear to be the heart of the Wolverines' offense. Goalies Allison Silber and Grace Collins saw a lot of shots as the Michigan defense got its first taste of what a Division I attack can do. Silber started in both scrimmages against Loyola and Johns Hopkins; Collins relieved her at the half. Collins had a pair of nice back-to-back saves towards the end of the Hopkins scrimmage, which the Blue Jays won by an unofficial score of 15-3.

Greyhounds Off to the Races

Marlee Paton wasted no time showing the crowd why she was an All-World Player for Team Australia at this summer's 2013 FIL Women's World Cup. On the first possession of the scrimmage versus Charles Street rival Johns Hopkins, the senior midfielder raced up the center of the field, switched from left to right, and ripped a high hard shot into the corner of the goal. Less than two minutes later, she added another goal.

Still, while they can attack from up top, the Greyhounds offense runs mainly through junior attacker Annie Thomas from behind the cage. Paton, Kara Burke and midfielder Taryn van Thof were her most frequent targets. Van Thof, who missed the 2012 season with a torn ACL, was the Greyhounds draw leader (75) last season, and was in fine form against Michigan and Johns Hopkins, even in a match-up against the Blue Jays' 5-11 center Sarah Taylor, a player for the English national team. Sophomore midfielder Katrina Geiger also took several draws. Geiger looks to be the No. 2 draw specialist on the team with the graduation of Joanna Dalton.

Defensively, Loyola returns starting goalie Molly Wolf, who started both scrimmages and had some nice defensive chemistry with veterans Katherine Reinhard and Gretchen Mayer. Freshmen defender Taylor O'Connell and goalie Taylor Caldwell, a Michigan native, also saw significant minutes on defense.

Blue Jays Start Off Sharp

The Blue Jays attack looked sharp versus Michigan. Senior attacker Taylor D'Amore ripped off three great goals, including a behind-the-head shot, before drawing a faceguard. They were slightly less proficient against the more veteran Loyola defense, but it appears that new offensive coordinator Steele Stanwick has infused the veteran unit (the top six scorers all return) with some fun and confidence.

Junior KC Emerson and freshman Caroline Federico are in a competition to replace graduated goalie Cosette Larash. Emerson has the edge for now – she started a few games last season and both scrimmages at Loyola. Emerson is lanky, fast and unafraid to come out of the crease to snap up ground balls. Federico displayed good positioning, though, and could challenge for the start.

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