Youth movement drives Loyola women's attack

Loyola’s women’s lacrosse team hasn’t gotten a single point from a senior this spring, but the Greyhounds don’t need to. The younger generation is stepping up big time.

In Saturday’s 15-14 overtime win at then-No. 13 Georgetown, freshmen scored 10 goals, including Annie Thomas’ game-winner. Three more came from sophomore Marlee Paton.

Thomas, an All-Metro attacker at John Carroll last season, said the 11 Greyhounds freshmen have grown comfortable with their roles and their teammates.

“It was kind of intimidating at first, just because there were so many of us and we have such a big role to fill since so many seniors graduated and they were big, top players. We had to get some of the glitches out, and I really feel like now we have the confidence and we are so comfortable on the field with the upperclassmen.”

With 12 goals and 12 assists, Thomas is second to Paton (17 goals, 10 assists) on Loyola’s scoring chart. Freshmen Hannah Schmitt (14, 1) and Sydney Thomas (11, 4) are next, with Molly Hulseman (7,1) seventh. All four freshmen have started every game as the No. 18 Greyhounds are 5-3 heading into Sunday’s game against Notre Dame at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola coach Jen Adams said the youngsters know they have no choice but to step up and her staff has tried to help them build the confidence to match their skills.

“You come in and you’re a Loyola lacrosse player. You’re not defined by your status or your age, and I think they figured that out pretty quickly,” Adams said. “We knew it might take a while to click things into gear and mesh offensively with such a young group, but they’re really finding their own way and finding an identity for this team. We want to define ourselves not just by a veteran defense, but by being a young, powerful, potent offense as well.”

Thomas said having so many freshmen has helped with the adjustment.

“It definitely made it easier because we were all in it together. It wasn’t like there were just two or three of us who got thrown into it. There’s 11 of us, so that makes it a lot easier. All of us got used to it together, and now we’ll take off together.”

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