Sophomores Lead #16 Loyola by Louisville in Big East Opener

BALTIMORE - No. 16 Loyola strung together five-straight second-half goals to erase a halftime deficit and earn an 11-6 victory over No. 20 Louisville in the Big East opener for both teams at Ridley Athletic Complex Friday.

The Greyhounds' sophomores combined for 10 of Loyola's 11 goals, as Hannah Schmitt led the way with a game-high four. Kara Burke and Sydney Thomas each tacked on two for Loyola (3-5, 1-0 Big East), while Annie Thomas and Taryn VanThof contributed one each. VanThof also tacked on a game-high two assists, while senior Joanna Dalton had the remaining goal.

For Louisville (7-2, 0-1 Big East), Nikki Boltja and Erika Eipp had two goals each, while Katie Oliverio and Cortnee Daley both added one.

Louisville, Loyola's sixth nationally ranked opponent in eight games, got on the board quick, scoring at 29:27, before two more goals gave the Cardinals a 3-0 advantage at the 22:31 mark.

Schmitt then fired a goal into the back of the net at 14:03 before giving up a free position attempt to Burke, who sent a quick-stick shot into the goal, cutting the Greyhounds deficit to one, 3-2, at 10:52.

The Cardinals wouldn't allow Loyola to find its equalizer though, as Boltja tallied back-to-back scores by 3:41. Schmitt then rounded out the first-half scoring with a goal at 1:39, sending the squads into the break with Louisville up, 5-3.

Loyola quickly took control of the second half with Schmitt scoring her third goal of the game just 11 seconds into play. Sydney Thomas then knotted the score for the Greyhounds at five, before VanThof sent a pass from Sydney Thomas past Ashley Herbst, the Cardinals' goalkeeper, to give Loyola its first lead of the game, 6-5, at 25:27.

Freshman Molly Wolf turned back a shot while the defense was playing a man down, keeping the Cardinals scoreless at that point of the half, while Annie Thomas and Dalton tacked on scores to put the Greyhounds ahead, 8-5, with 17:42 to play.

Wolf made another point-blank save following a Louisville timeout, but the Cardinals were able to break through at 7:52, snapping Loyola's five-goal run.

Sydney Thomas, Schmitt and Burke rounded out the scoring in the game though, earning the 11-6 victory.

In goal, Wolf finished with eight saves, one ground ball and one caused turnover, while VanThof collected five draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Sydney Thomas added four ground balls for the Greyhounds.

Loyola will return to action on Sunday when it hosts Cincinnati at noon.

* * * *

LEXINGTON, Ky. University of Louisville dropped its Big East opener and snapped a four-game winning streak on Friday night, falling at Loyola (Md.) 11-6 in the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore, Md.

The No. 20-ranked Cardinals (7-2, 0-1 Big East) opened the game with three-straight goals, two by Erika Eipp, in the first 10 minutes of the contest. Katie Oliverio capped the run with the Cardinals' third unassisted goal and gave Louisville a 3-0 lead until 15 minutes into the game.

After Loyola (Md.) responded with a pair of goals, Nikki Boltja netted her 30th and 31st tallies of the season to boost Louisville's lead by two.

The 16th-ranked Greyhounds' Hannah Schmitt brought the team back within two after scoring the final goal of the half with 1:39 remaining, which ultimately proved to be Loyola's first of six-straight scores.

Both teams finished the half nearly identical in statistics, with Louisville holding an 11-10 edge in ground balls and a 12-11 advantage in shots, while Loyola (3-5, 1-0) won the draw control battle, 5-4. The Cardinals' defense forced eight turnovers and held the Greyhounds to without a free-position goal in the period.

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2013-03-22



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