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Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Larsson proving herself as starter for Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse

Loyola Maryland goalkeeper Kaitlyn Larsson makes a save. (Courtesy of Loyola Maryland Athletics)
Loyola Maryland goalkeeper Kaitlyn Larsson makes a save. (Courtesy of Loyola Maryland Athletics)

In her first two years with the Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse program, Kaitlyn Larsson had appeared in 26 games, but served as the primary backup to starting goalkeeper Kady Glynn.

Now a junior and the successor to Glynn, who has since graduated, Larsson looked solid in her first career start, tying a career high in saves with 12 in the No. 10 Greyhounds’ 15-7 thumping of visiting Johns Hopkins on Saturday. She added 10 more stops in Wednesday’s 14-10 victory over Towson.

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If Larsson was anxious about opening the game in the net for Loyola (2-0), she relied on her previous experience and memories of watching Glynn prepare for opponents.

“I had a few chances to play the past few seasons, and I really looked up to her,” Larsson said. “I watched everything she did and the things she did well and picked up all those things and took them into my game. I’m really lucky to be able to have someone like her.”

On Saturday, Larsson turned aside eight shots in the second half and surrendered only three goals in the final 49 minutes, including one in the last 25:48. Larsson, who was named the Patriot League’s Goalkeeper of the Week, had been just as stout against her own teammates in preseason practices.

“Our shooters have actually been getting frustrated, and I’m saying, ‘Hopefully, we don’t go against a goalkeeper as strong as her,’” Greyhounds coach Jen Adams said with a laugh. “So I wasn’t surprised by her performance today. I think we have been seeing that in practices. But it’s a tough job being in the cage and being asked to step up in those moments. She not only made saves that she should have made, but she also made saves that I wouldn’t have expected her to make. That’s big momentum in any game.”

Larsson said she was appreciative of the support she received from a starting defense of junior Maria Kiskis (Archbishop Spalding) and sophomores Shay Clevenger (Marriotts Ridge), TaNia Cunningham and Katie Detwiler.

“When you let a goal in, you’ve just got to learn to shake it off,” she said. “I think with that, having my D and the sideline saying, ‘It’s all right. You’ll get the next one,’ it’s extremely helpful.”

Hopkins has faith in Epstein

Joey Epstein did not play in the final three quarters of No. 15 Johns Hopkins’ 10-7 loss at No. 12 Loyola Maryland on Saturday, but is anticipated to play in Saturday’s game against No. 7 North Carolina (3-0) at Homewood Field at 1 p.m.

The sophomore attackman did start for the Blue Jays (1-1) against the Greyhounds (1-1), but did not record a point or take a shot and finished with as many turnovers (two) as ground balls (two). But coach Dave Pietramala warned against giving up on the 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year so easily.

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“I’ve got a lot of faith in him,” he said. “We’re going to be able to count on him, and we’re going to count on him. I’m sure he’ll be back, but no one’s tougher on him than him. So no need for us to say much.”

Solid win for Navy

Just in the past three seasons, Navy has defeated national powerhouses such as North Carolina, Virginia and Penn. So the program is no stranger to success.

But coach Cindy Timchal acknowledged that there was something special about Sunday’s 16-15 win against then-No. 18 Duke (2-2), which had not lost in five previous meetings with the No. 13 Midshipmen (2-1).

“We wanted to find out early on where we stood,” she said. “We have some big games coming up. … We aren’t shying away from top programs, and the players have responded well. That victory is a solid one for Navy women’s lacrosse and something for us to build on as we move forward.”

Ground balls

>> Towson freshman Shane Santora’s .588 winning percentage (10-for-17) on faceoffs in Saturday’s 11-10 loss to Mount St. Mary’s was the highest by a player making his debut since Alex Woodall’s .813 percentage (13-for-16) on Feb. 18, 2017, against the Mountaineers.

>> Already the Patriot League’s all-time leader in points (365), Navy senior attacker Kelly Larkin set program and conference records for career assists with three on Saturday. She has 170 assists, passing Jasmine DePompeo’s mark of 167 (2010-13).

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>> Loyola junior attackman Kevil Lindley became the 11th player in school history to score 100 all-time goals, and his four-goal output Saturday gave him 103 for his career, moving him into a tie for 10th place with Zach Herreweyers (2013-16).

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