The Midshipmen let the regular season loss to the Greyhounds go, knowing they could turn it around in the title game.
Julia Collins scored six times and goalie Ingrid Boyum made nine saves as No. 10 Navy upset No. 8 Loyola, 17-10, for its second Patriot League title in a row Sunday at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Last year, the Mids (16-3) used the conference championship victory to spark a run to the national semifinals for the first time in program history.
“Especially starting last year, we were just, ‘Forget about the past two years,’ ” said Collins referring to the Greyhounds’ domination of the Patriot League in her freshman and sophomore years. “That happened in the past. They’re new years. These last two years have been awesome. Forget about the [regular-season] loss and move on. Just a new mindset all together.”
Collins, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, tied tournament records for goals (11) and points (13) and she got Navy rolling early.
The River Hill graduate scored four goals in the first 10 minutes as the Mids took a 5-2 lead. Loyola answered with three straight goals to tie, but Navy came back with four, including a free-position goal from Collins with 22.6 seconds left in the first half for a 9-5 lead.
Against a Mids defense that held the Greyhounds to their lowest offensive output of the season, Loyola didn’t come close to matching its season scoring average ot 16.67.
The Greyhounds’ Frankie Kamely scored the first goal of the game, but on Loyola’s next two possessions, Navy forced turnovers in front of Boyum’s goal. Collins converted both times.
“We just had to buckle down,” said Mids defender Blake Smith (Notre Dame Prep). “We know that we had to play tough on ball and be tight on the cutters, and we knew that if we get the caused turnovers and get the ball back to our offensive side, they’re going to take care of it.”
Turnovers hurt the Greyhounds throughout the game as they gave the ball away 14 times. Navy caused eight of them. In the first half, Loyola turned the ball over 10 times, easily offsetting its 10-5 advantage in draw controls.
“We shot ourselves in the foot time and time again,” Greyhounds coach Jen Adams said. “You don’t win games against teams like Navy doing that, so we didn’t give ourselves the best shot. Very uncharacteristic. We haven’t seen that throughout the season. We’ve seen more of the grit and toughen up and tighten up when that kind of stuff happens.”
While the Mids earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the Patriot League title, Loyola certainly will be in the 27-team field when it is announced Sunday night.
Collins and Smith, both seniors, said they plan to build on last year’s success and on Sunday’s win as they move into the NCAA tournament, which begins Friday.
“There’s definitely some confidence there,” Collins said. “Knowing what we can do when we play together and when we all buy into the team concept, the sky’s the limit for us.”
The Greyhounds, who missed the NCAA tournament last season, feel fortunate to be back in the tournament, the first time two teams from the Patriot League will advance.
“We’re lucky enough … that we have an opportunity to still play after this game,” said Loyola defender Kristen Yanchoris (Century). “I think [Navy] just went all out the full 60 minutes and we had lapses, lost some momentum throughout the game and it turned their way and we couldn’t put a stop to that. Hopefully, we got all those kinks out in this championship game.”
In addition to Julia Collins, Smith and Boyum, the all-tournament team included the Mids’ Jenna Collins, Julia’s twin who scored her 100th point of the season in the game, and the Greyhounds’ Livy Rosenzweig, Hannah Savage and Katrina Geiger.
Navy 9 6 — 17
Loyola Maryland 5 5 — 10
Goals: N—Ju.Collins 6, O’Donnell 4, Je.Collins 2, Larkin 2, Victory 2, Childress; L—VanThof 3, Kamely 3, Rosenzweig 2, Powers, Fiedler. Assists: N—O’Donnell, Larkin, Je.Collins, Harris, Victory; L—Rosenzweig 3, Powers, Savage, Fiedler. Saves: N—Boyum 9; L—Glynn 12.