The Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse team is in the middle of a stretch where it plays four ranked teams in five games. But the No. 14 Blue Jays showed on Wednesday that they are ready to take on anyone.
Taylor D'Amore and Dene' DiMartino each scored three goals, and Johns Hopkins dominated the second half and rallied for an 11-8 victory over No. 9 Loyola at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Loyola (1-2) controlled play for much of the first half and held a 5-4 lead at the break. After that, however, it was all Johns Hopkins (4-0), which halted an 11-game losing streak against the Greyhounds and beat them for the first time in school history.
Johns Hopkins will take on Northwestern, Georgetown and Towson, all ranked teams, in three of its next four games. But Wednesday's win was one that coach Janine Tucker and her team had been seeking.
"We've had some really strong wins the last couple of years," Tucker said. "We want to be one of the big girls. We've been scratching at the door and knocking at the door. I think this is a win that we were really looking to get to establish ourselves."
The Blue Jays had little trouble in their first three games, scoring a total of 57 goals in routs of Old Dominion, Mount St. Mary's and Bucknell. This game would be a different test, and the Blue Jays were ready.
"We were excited for this game," D'Amore said. "It was a chance to test ourselves and see where we really were."
Johns Hopkins had to battle in a first half where Loyola won eight of 10 draws and kept possession for long stretches. The Greyhounds couldn't convert on some good chances and held just a 5-4 halftime lead.
The play of goalie Cosette Larash was a big reason Johns Hopkins stayed that close. The Archbishop Spalding graduate made five of her seven saves in the first half, some of which came on point-blank shots.
Everything turned around in the second half. Tucker put in freshman Erica Matz (Bryn Mawr) on draws, and she helped the Blue Jays win nine of 11. Johns Hopkins then slowed the pace, scored the first five goals and held Loyola without a shot for the first 16:08 of the half.
Loyola committed 23 fouls in the half, a big reason the Blue Jays got a bunch of free-position shots. Johns Hopkins scored four goals in the 5-0 run on those shots, two from DiMartino, in a stretch of 9:03 for a 9-5 lead.
The Greyhounds' first shot of the second half didn't come until Taryn VanThof scored with 13:52 left to cut the Blue Jays' lead to 9-6. Loyola never got closer as Johns Hopkins controlled play.
McDonogh graduate Jen Cook (two goals, one assist) and Sammy Cermack (one goal, two assists) also helped the Blue Jays, who made the point they wanted.
"That's the best thing we can take away from this — [that] we can play with anybody," D'Amore said.
Marlee Paton led Loyola with two goals and two assists, but the Greyhounds had no answer for Johns Hopkins' second-half effort.
"When we came out in the second half, they came up with the draw controls, they had the possession and they were able to eat some of the clock on each possession," Loyola coach Jen Adams said. "We just kind of ran out of time."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun