Illness and injury have continued to hurt Loyola's women's lacrosse team for a second straight year, but the Greyhounds finally seem to be recovering.
After dropping out of the Top 20 and winning only four of their first 10 games, the Greyhounds bounced back Saturday with a 13-12 overtime upset of then-No. 12 Syracuse.
The win boosted the Greyhounds (5-6) back into the Top 20, landing at No. 18 this week.
Two key seniors are back in the Greyhounds' lineup - defender Kristin McKay and midfielder Talia Shacklock.
McKay broke two fingers earlier in the season and had a couple of pins surgically inserted in each. Shacklock, who suffered a broken leg last season, was sidelined with a stress fracture in the same leg this spring.
The Greyhounds have also gotten a transition boost from midfielder Stephanie Walker, who redshirted last season after suffering a severe ankle sprain.
Having the veterans back in the game has especially helped the defense after losing senior goalie Cindy Nicolaus, who has been sick for more than a month.
Freshman goalie Alex Piraino has stepped in and done an admirable job as have sophomores Emily Lawrence (four goals vs. Syracuse) and Maura Kenney (20 goals for the season).
Veteran Kate McHarg, who scored the game-winner against Syracuse, leads the Greyhounds with 44 goals and seven assists.
Terps on the draw
One of the reasons Maryland has vaulted to No. 4 after starting 3-3 has been the Terrapins' ability to control more draws.
Through their first six games, the Terps won fewer than half of the draws. Over the past eight games, they have won 59 percent, and midfielder Kelly Kasper has won 32 of them as the Terps improved to 10-4.
"We've been focusing on that a lot," said the Century graduate, "because Virginia and Georgetown, they won all the draws and we lost both those games. We've been working a lot in practice on getting it and if the other team wins it to their side, we're focusing on boxing out, stepping in and getting in front of them instead of just standing there waiting for them."
Although the Terps were outdrawn by Johns Hopkins 17-10 Sunday, Maryland forced a lot of quick turnovers. The Blue Jays turned over 11 of those possessions before they could get a shot. Maryland also won four of the last six draws to help hold onto a 14-11 win over the previously unbeaten Blue Jays.
Chrest boosts Duke
Duke's Katie Chrest earned Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week honors for scoring four goals in the Blue Devils' upset of then-No. 1 Northwestern on Friday.
Chrest, The Sun's 2002 All-Metro Player of the Year, shot 4-for-5 in the game and caused two turnovers, as the Blue Devils knocked off the defending national champion, 16-10, breaking its 31-game winning streak.
Last season's Tewaaraton Trophy winner as the best player in Division I, Chrest is the team's top goal scorer with 36. The Maryvale graduate helped the Blue Devils earn their first No. 1 ranking since 2002.
Only one left
With Northwestern and Johns Hopkins recently fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten, only one team stands without a loss in Division I women's lacrosse - St. Bonaventure.
An Atlantic 10 team located in southwestern New York state, St. Bonaventure got a 15-12 win Sunday over La Salle to boost its record to 9-0. The Bonnies have won 10 straight games, dating back to last season's finale, which ties the program's longest winning streak.
The Bonnies have only one local connection - goalie Eboni Preston, a second-team All-Metro player at Westminster. Preston, a sophomore, has started five games and has a .550 save percentage and allows 8.41 goals per game.