#6 Loyola Runs by #19 UMass in NCAA Opener

BALTIMORE Meg Decker scored three of her game-high five goals during a 6-1 Loyola run in the second half that extended the No. 6 Greyhounds' lead to six midway through the period, and Loyola went on to defeat No. 19 Massachuestts, 14-7, in the NCAA Championships First Round at Ridley Athletic Complex.

The Greyhounds (17-2), who earned the No. 6 seed to the Championships, will play third-seeded North Carolina in the Second Round next Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tar Heels were 15-7 winners over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia in the First Round.

"I am very pleased that we were able to beat a very respectable opponent and move on," Head Coach Jen Adams said. "This has been our goal from the beginning of the season, not to let our season end."

Massachusetts (17-3) pulled to within two, 6-4, on a Katie Ferris goal with 25:32 to play in regulation, and the Minutewomen held Loyola scoreless for the first 10-minutes, 51-seconds of the second half.

After a UMass turnover, however, Decker scored in transition, igniting the Loyola run.

The sequence started at the defensive end when an errant pass by UMass' Jesse O'Donnell was picked up by Virginia Weber.

She got the ball to Marlee Paton who cleared it herself, and passed it ahead to Decker. She dodged a defender and shot low on the Minutewomen's goalie, Katie Florence, to score her third of the game with 19:09 on the clock.

Abby Rehfuss came away with the ensuing draw control, and after Loyola ran over a minute of offense, Gavin drew a double team more than 15 yards from the left side of the goal. She passed to Cara Filippelli at the top of the zone, and Filippelli shot a pass to Mary Heneberry who was open on the right side of the crease.

Heneberry beat Florence 1-on-1 to put Loyola up, 8-4. She added her second goal just over three minutes later.

Caroline Hager picked up a ground ball after Florence made a save on a Loyola free-position shot, and after Rehfuss then found Heneberry curling around the crease and into space for the goal at 15:06.

Filippelli extended Loyola's advantage to 10-5 just 45 seconds later, shooting low-to-low on a free-position shot.

Massachusetts slowed the run temporarily after Florence made a save on another 8-meter shot. Tanner Guarino drew a foul near midfield, and after the restart, she raced to goal, scoring with 11:46.

Decker earned the draw control after a Massachusetts foul, and Gavin rushed down the left alley, firing a hard pass to a crashing Heneberry who scored her third goal in a seven-minute stretch to push the Greyhounds' lead back to six, 11-5.

Gavin was on the assist end of another Loyola goal just 21 ticks after Heneberry's third, firing a pass to Rehfuss who was set from seven yards out. Rehfuss ripped a shot past Florence, and Loyola was in front by seven.

Lauren Terracciano got through the Greyhounds' defense for a goal with 7:37 to play, but Decker scored two more the first coming 13 seconds after Terracciano's goal, and the second at 5:33 to give Loyola a 14-6 lead. Haley Smith scored the game's final goal for the Minutewomen with 1:43 remaining.

Defensively, Loyola held the Massachusetts tandem of Jackie Lyons and Katie Ferris to a combined two goals and one assist. Entering the game, Lyons was ranked 12th in NCAA Division I with 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists), and Ferris was 15th with 70 points (55 goals, 15 assists).

""We had Johanna Gibson on (Lyons) in somewhat of a faceguarding role to try to keep the ball out of her hands," Adams said. "When the ball got into her hands, 'Jo' did a great job, and our slides came quick to her."

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