Rutgers squanders chances against No. 6 Loyola
On paper, it looked like Loyola dominated the Rutgers women's lacrosse team in its 15-6 win.
As the No. 6 team in the nation, that domination would have made sense, too.
But the Scarlet Knights (8-6, 2-4) had many opportunities on Saturday at Yurcak Field, where they simply could not capitalize off their opportunities against the Greyhounds.
In a nine-goal win, the Greyhounds (12-1, 5-1) only generated a 29-24 shot advantage.
"We should not be scoring six goals on 24 shots," said head coach Laura Brand. "You put the momentum in the other team's favor when you don't put the ball in the back of the net. There's absolutely no excuse for that game to be 15-6."
Loyola did not pull away with the lead until the second half, when it created a 12-3 scoring advantage in the period.
Greyhounds attack Ashley Cahill capped the Loyola scoring at 15-5 with 32 seconds remaining. Mercy rules would have enacted if the goal did not occur in the final two minutes of the game.
"They have attackers that take pride in their responsibility. They shoot the ball very well," Brand said. "They are a very high-scoring team and if you play defense for that long, you're going to break down at some point."
Senior attack Kristen Anderson scored after rebounding a shot that bounced off the high post to break up a streak of six consecutive Loyola goals and put the score at 13-5.
Before that streak, attack Katie Marino scored her second goal of the day inside the eight-meter arc to break a Loyola streak of four consecutive goals to start the second half.
Before Marino's shot, another Greyhound made a run of her own. Loyola senior Grace Gavin gave the Greyhounds a firm lead in the second half with four unanswered goals to add on to her 52 goals this season.
"We got pretty frantic [in the second half]," Brand said. "We were trying to see what we could make work, and at that point there was kind of a sense of urgency and at that point things didn't go very well for us."
Gavin put Loyola ahead, 6-3, with two consecutive free position shots seven minutes into the second half before Rutgers called a timeout to stop the Greyhounds' momentum.
"They were definitely placing their shots a lot better than they did in the first half, which is something that we weren't doing," said senior midfielder Marlena Welsh.
Rutgers led, 3-2, with 9:28 remaining in the first half after a Welsh free position shot.
Welsh got fouled on an Ali Steinberg free position shot that went wide.
Loyola led, 2-1, before Rutgers turned the ball over with a crease violation. Loyola cleared the ball down the field only to have it saved by sophomore goalie Lily Kalata.
Rutgers then cleared it for a Welsh unassisted goal on the right side to tie the game, 2-2.
The Knights got on the board 10 minutes into the game, when Marino bounced it in inside the eight-meter arc after causing a turnover on a bad Loyola pass.
But even though it was close in the first half, Rutgers looks to improve its shooting and put its game together for all 60 minutes heading in its final two bouts — starting tomorrow against Villanova.
"We need to focus on our shooting more," Welsh said. "The last two games are Big East games, so we have to win them. That's our plan — to win."