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No. 17 Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse earns much-needed win in upset of No. 6 Florida

Slow starts have become a bit too commonplace for a Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse program that has dropped its past five season openers, including a two-goal loss at Johns Hopkins on Feb. 16.

So the relief among the players and coaches after the No. 17 Greyhounds upended No. 6 Florida, 15-12, on Saturday before an announced 572 at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore was somewhat understandable.

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“We knew that our team was going to be a really strong team this year,” said sophomore midfielder Sam Fiedler (Garrison Forest). “So we were bummed out about not winning our opener last week. We just knew that this was really important, especially with it being our home opener.”

With upcoming games against No. 7 Syracuse on Wednesday, No. 10 Penn State on Saturday and No. 11 Virginia on March 13 (and a rivalry game at Towson on March 6), Loyola (1-1) needed the kind of push that its first victory in seven meetings with the Gators could provide.

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“I think this is a huge tone-setter,” senior goalkeeper Kady Glynn said. “Going into these next two top-10 matchups, it will be a really big momentum [boost] to get those wins, too.”

The Greyhounds benefited from standout efforts on both ends of the field. Fiedler had three goals and two assists, and she was matched in points by sophomore attacker Livy Rosenzweig’s four goals and one assist.

Senior attacker Hannah Powers added one goal and three assists, and the offense got three points each from senior attacker Emily Cooper (three goals), sophomore midfielder Elli Kluegel (three goals) and senior midfielder Taylor VanThof (one goal, two assists).

Defensively, Glynn made a game-high 11 saves, and although Florida senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck finished with three goals, two came off free-position shots as she was held in check primarily by freshman defender Katie Detwiler.

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“She’s an insanely good player,” Detwiler said of Ronbeck, who scored eight times in a 17-12 loss to then-No. 2 Maryland on Feb. 14. “I’ve never been matched up against someone as good as her. But just knowing that she’s a lefty, I had to stick with her on that left hand and just be with her wherever she goes because she has quick feet. I just tried to stay with her and match up with her speed as best as I could.”

Trailing 14-12 with less than four minutes in regulation, the Gators peppered Glynn in an attempt to send the game into overtime. But Glynn redirected a shot past senior midfielder Sydney Pirreca from the high slot over the cage and then snuffed a high-to-low attempt by sophomore attacker Grace Haus (Notre Dame Prep) on a free-position opportunity from the left corner of the arc.

Erica Evans, a graduate student midfielder for the No. 3 Terps, and Tayler Warehime, a freshman attacker for the No. 2 Tar Heels, will try to propel their respective teams to a win in Sunday’s crucial tilt at Maryland Stadium in College Park.

“Our defense was playing awesome and just getting in their hands and getting those outside shots,” Glynn said. “I just needed to make those saves for my team.”

Loyola coach Jen Adams jokingly compared Glynn’s saves to “get-out-of-jail-free cards.”

“They had a couple one-on-ones there that could have made for a different story, but she’s a great player, and she tends to step up big in these big games,” Adams said. “She’s a momentum kind of player in making a big stop for you. … When we needed her in the end there, she made the play. That’s what she wants to be relied on.”

The Greyhounds padded a 6-4 advantage at halftime to three goals when Cooper (Archbishop Spalding) converted a pass from Rosenzweig just 44 seconds into the second half, but Florida reeled off three consecutive goals in a span of 77 seconds to knot the score at 7. But Loyola went on a 3-0 run over a 1:46 stretch, and the Gators never got closer than one goal for the remainder of the game.

“I think every time we answered, they came back with another answer,” Florida coach Amanda O’Leary said. “So we never really felt like we had our feet firmly on the ground. We were constantly on our heels, and that’s a credit to Loyola. They put a great game plan together of keeping us off-balance, and they did at great job of that. I thought their goalie came up with some fantastic saves at critical times. They played very well.”

Besides Ronbeck, Florida was paced by sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh’s four goals and Pirreca’s one goal and two assists. Senior goalie Haley Hicklen (Towson) made 10 saves and became the program’s all-time leader in saves with 417.

Florida; 4; 8; —; 12

Loyola Maryland; 6; 9; —; 15

Goals: F—Kavanagh 4, Ronbeck 3, Hall 2, Haus 2, Pirreca; L— Rosenzweig 4, Cooper 3, Fiedler 3, Kluegel 3, Powers, VanThof. Assists: F—Pirreca 2, Lopez; L—Powers 3, Fiedler 2, VanThof 2, Rosenzweig, Wilson. Saves: F—Hicklen 10; L— Glynn 11.

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