No. 7 Loyola Ekes out First-Round Win over Penn in Overtime

Freshman Hannah Schmitt scored the game-winning goal with three seconds left in overtime to lead No. 7 Loyola past 12th-ranked Pennsylvania, 10-9, in the first round of the NCAA Championship Sunday at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Penn (9-8) struck first in overtime, but freshman Kara Burke converted a free position shot for Loyola (14-5) as time expired in the first half of overtime, tying the game for the ninth time at 9-9. The Quakers again won the opening draw control in the second half of overtime, but senior goalkeeper Kerry Stoothoff came up with a point-blank save on Meredith Cain's wide-open shot with 20 seconds left to keep the game even. Senior Kellye Gallagher won the ground ball and freshman Sydney Thomas ran the length of the field before setting Schmitt up for the game-winning score.

“I'm incredibly proud of the way the team played today from start to finish,” head coach Jen Adams said. “We faced a really tough Penn side who we hadn't seen too much of. We didn't have much crossover in scouting. We really tried to do our best this week, but they threw a lot of different stuff at us. They played a really tough style of lacrosse today that we had a lot of difficulty with, so I'm very proud that the girls were able to pull out the win. When the pressure was on, it seemed like that was when we played our best in this game.”

Penn scored first in what turned into a back-and-forth battle, at 29:01. Freshman Annie Thomas then helped the Greyhounds tally back-to-back scores, assisting sophomore Marlee Paton at 27:56, before scoring off a feed from Sydney Thomas at 26:45.

The Quakers answered at 26:23 and tacked on a second straight at 24:39 to regain the lead, but Paton knotted the score for a third time at 18:55.

Following 13-and-a-half scoreless minutes, Paton found freshman Kara Burke to give the Greyhounds a 4-3 advantage, but Penn answered a little over one minute later to even the score with 4:05 to play.

Both squads looked to break the stalemate through the remainder of the half, but Stoothoff turned back a free position shot at the buzzer to send the teams into the break tied at four.

Penn opened the scoring in the second half, at 26:44, regaining a lead that it wouldn't relinquish through the rest of regulation. The Greyhounds battled to keep it even though, as Paton sandwiched two goals around one from Penn, bringing the score to six all, at 23:32.

The Quakers tacked on another quick goal at 22:23, while their defense held Loyola scoreless until 17:17, when junior Joanna Dalton found Burke to bring the score to 7-7.

Both team's defenses continued to dominate through the remainder of the half, as the Greyhounds held Penn without a goal for almost 18 minutes and the Quakers kept Loyola off the board for 13-and-a-half minutes. It was Penn that broke through first though, scoring at 4:32 to take an 8-7 lead.

Sydney Thomas had the equalizer for Loyola though, scoring at 3:42, to force overtime.

Penn won the opening draw of overtime and scored with 21 seconds left in the first of the two three-minute halves. Dalton won the ensuing draw control for the Greyhounds though and Burke converted a free position shot to keep it even.

Schmitt then gave Loyola its first lead since the first half, scoring the game-winner with three seconds remaining.

“I'm not surprised today's game played out this way and ended up going into overtime,” Adams said. “We both have great defenses, we both have great keepers and we both have a very deep offensive unit where multiple people can score. In that regard, we matched up really well. It was a battle, back and forth.

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