It took awhile for either team to seize momentum in the rematch of last year's national championship game, but the No. 3 Terrapins strung together four quick goals midway through the second half to fuel a 13-9 victory at No. 4 Loyola's Curley Field.
In less than five minutes, the Terps (15-3) extended a one-goal lead to five. Christie Jenkins scored two in the spurt, including the eventual game-winner that put Maryland ahead 10-5 with 14: 48 left.
The Greyhounds (12-3) never got closer than four. Jen Testrake's fourth goal pulled them within 10-6 with 11: 48 to go. After that, they could only answer each Terps goal.
The win, marking coach Cindy Timchal's 200th career victory and her 124th in eight years at Maryland, gave the three-time defending national champs a boost into the national tournament. The Terps rebounded from an ACC Tournament loss to No. 2 North Carolina by polishing off four straight ranked teams.
"I don't think this would have determined whether we got a bye or not, but it shows us we can play with the best teams," said senior Cathy Nelson, whose Terps have gone 15-1 since opening with losses at Carolina and Duke.
The Greyhounds, whose upset of Maryland last year is their only win in the 19-game series, aren't too concerned with a season-ending two-game losing streak that began with Tuesday's 8-6 loss to No. 1 Virginia.
"We can't complain too much," Loyola's Krystin Porcella said, "because we lost to No. 1 and No. 3. It tells us what we need to work on. You'd definitely like to end on a winning note, but this shows us where we stand right now."
A couple of things stand out on the needs-improvement list -- transition and crease defense.
Yesterday, the Greyhounds had trouble moving the ball out of their defensive end.
For the first time in 48 games stretching back three years, Loyola gave up more than 10 goals.
Goalie Kourtney Heavey, whose goals-against average (5.63) is the lowest in Division I, had another solid performance with 13 saves, but the Greyhounds defense let the Terps get too close too often.
The Terps erased a 3-2 Greyhounds lead with three goals in the final 6: 43 of the half -- two from Noelle Mitchell and one from Jen Adams.
Erin Wylde's free-position goal brought the Greyhounds within 6-5 with 20: 57 left.
Loyola nearly tied when Megan Santacroce made a great move on the crease, but she piped the shot. After the scramble for the rebound, Wylde got another eight-meter shot, but Terps keeper Alex Kahoe snared one of her 16 saves to preserve the lead.
' Maryland 5 8 -- 13
Loyola 3 6 -- 9
Goals: M--Adams 3, Jenkins 3, Newmarch 2, Mitchell 2, Nelson, Egan, Carney; L--Testrake 4, O'Shea 2, Wylde, Santacroce, Franey. Assists: M--Newmarch 3, Nelson 2, Carney. Saves: M--Kahoe 16; L--Heavey 13.
Pub Date: 5/04/98