For a team that has struggled with possession this season, the Loyola women's lacrosse team certainly set the right tone early in Saturday's game against James Madison. Unfortunately for the Greyhounds, they could not sustain it beyond the first half.
The No. 12 Greyhounds scored the first four goals and shut out James Madison before halftime, but the Dukes seized the momentum early in the second half and dominated possession in overtime for a 9-8 victory at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex.
The Dukes (5-1) never led until overtime, although they tied the game twice in regulation. Ali Curwin scored the game-winner with 9.1 seconds left in overtime.
The Greyhounds (2-5) have been tied or leading at halftime in four of their five losses, but each time the opposition has won a string of draws after the break to come back. James Madison won the first three draws and scored three goals in less than four minutes, cutting Loyola's lead to one.
"That's momentum. Teams win games based on momentum," Greyhounds coach Jen Adams said. "I think we had everything in our favor going into the locker room. Coming out, we went to sleep, or I don't know what we're doing. It's not working, and we're going to have to change it because it's a habit now."
Saturday's loss is the third straight for the Greyhounds, the first time they've lost that many consecutive games since 2009. It's their second straight loss to the Dukes.
Even though James Madison won the first two draws, the Greyhounds controlled possession most of the first half. Freshman goalie Molly Wolf saved the Dukes' first six shots, all in the first 13 minutes. Kara Burke scored the first two goals and Joanna Dalton and Kathleen Barranco made it 4-0 by halftime.
Sparked by Casey Ancarrow's goal less than two minutes into the second half, the Dukes pulled to within 4-3 two minutes later.
The teams traded goals until Ancarrow, a John Carroll graduate and last season's Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, scored again to tie at 6.
After Dalton's free-position goal made it 7-6 with 6:31 left in regulation, Loyola slowed the game down, but a bad pass sailed over the end line, giving the Dukes the ball with 2:42 to go.
They played for one shot with Ancarrow and Roguski, a Liberty graduate, working the crease together to create an opportunity for one or the other against Greyhounds defenders Taryn VanThof and Ashley Moulton. Ancarrow sealed off Moulton in front of the goal and Roguski beat VanThof for the tying goal.
The Dukes’ Amanda Mathews won the first draw in overtime and Roguski gave them their first lead of the game working the middle to find an opening against Wolf, who finished with eight saves. VanThof tied it on a drive down the middle with two minutes left in overtime.
Ancarrow and Roguski tried to work the same scoring play that ended regulation but VanThof and Moulton covered them too well.
"We had planned to go into that play and try to wind the clock down a little bit," Ancarrow said. "It wasn't working so I figured … I might as well go to goal and see what could happen. I tried to challenge and it didn't work, but I saw Ali was open, so I passed it to her and she did the rest."
Curwin took the ball and drove through traffic in the arc to net the game winner.
“We covered [Ancarrow and Roguski] pretty well,” VanThof said. “We slid off each other and bumped to get to the crease. The talk was great, but the ball went up to [Curwin] and it was quiet. Communication was lost. There were five girls on her and she drove through all of us.”
Dukes sophomore goalie Schylar Healy, a Liberty graduate and one of 14 Baltimore-area players on the James Madison roster, made seven of her eight saves in the second half or overtime.
For the Greyhounds, things will have to change in a hurry if they have postseason plans. The two-time defending Big East Conference champions begin conference play Friday night, hosting Louisville. With losses to unranked James Madison and Delaware (10-9 on Wednesday), they may need the automatic bid that comes with the Big East championship to make the NCAA tournament.
"We have to come to practice this week, prepare for Louisville on Friday and just treat every game like it's so important because that's what's going to get us into the tournament. We haven't lost sight of it, and we're still pushing for it," Loyola All-America midfielder Marlee Paton said.
JM 0 7 2 -- 9
L 4 3 1 -- 8
Goals: JM—Ancarrow 2, Roguski 2, Curwin 2, Finley, Gress, Starkloff; L—Burke 2, Dalton 2, VanThof, Paton, K.Barranco. Assists: JM—None. L—Paton, Schmitt, A.Thomas, VanThof. Saves: JM—Healy 8; L—Wolf 8.