Second-ranked Loyola's string of one-goal victories over William & Mary's women's lacrosse team ended yesterday when the 12th-ranked Tribe came from four goals down to upset the Greyhounds, 9-8, at Curley Field.
The Tribe, which lost two one-goal games to Loyola last year, including the Colonial Athletic Association championship, atoned with a closing four-goal run, three of them in the final five minutes.
Ronya Walker scored the game-winner with 39 seconds left. The senior, who finished with three goals and two assists, drew three defenders but still turned to fire her shot over the shoulder of Loyola goalie Dana Hoffman (six saves).
For the Greyhounds (6-1 overall, 2-1 conference), however, the backbreaker came one play earlier.
With less than two minutes left, the Greyhounds stifled a Tribe drive and got the ball to Hoffman. Tribe freshman Lindsay Rademaker pressed Hoffman, who tried to clear the ball to the sideline. Rademaker batted it down, scooped up the ground ball and shot before Hoffman could get back in the crease.
"The things we've been doing wrong all along were just magnified a bit, because William & Mary's a better team than we have played yet this year," said Loyola assistant Nora Maguire, who starts eight underclassmen. "We've been going on offensive dry spells at the end of the first half and early in the second half in almost every game we've played. It happened to us today and it hurt us."
The Greyhounds looked unbeatable early, rolling up their 4-0 edge in the first 19 minutes. Kerri Johnson (two goals), Allison Valentino (three goals, one assist) and Betsy Given scored and Loyola took 10 shots before the Tribe managed its first shot almost 13 minutes into the game.
"But I knew there would be a turning point and luckily it was in the first half," Tribe coach Feffie Barnhill said. "When we got that one goal and we had another opportunity right after that, I could tell things had changed."
The Tribe (6-2, 2-0) scored three in the final 2:24 of the half and one to open the second pulling them within 5-4, but their only lead came on the final goal.
VTC Maguire, filling in while head coach Diane Aikens recovers from surgery to remove a brain tumor, said the loss should help her young team in the long run.
"It's going to be the best thing that ever happened to us," said Maguire. "With three overtime wins, you start to feel like it's just going to come at the end of the game, the opportunity's going to come and it's an automatic and for us, it's not an automatic. We're way to young to be thinking that way, so this is a good lesson for us."