After the No. 6 Loyola Maryland women's lacrosse team fell to No. 18 Syracuse, 12-11, in overtime Thursday, coach Jen Adams stressed to her team that it's not a loss if the Greyhounds learn something from it.
Loyola (8-3) had learned a lot from losing its first two games. The Greyhounds rebounded to win their next eight, including the first two in overtime. They soared from unranked to No. 6 in four weeks, the fastest rising Division I team.
In Thursday's loss to the Orange (8-6), which has never lost at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex, the Greyhounds rallied from four goals down with 23 minutes left to force overtime on Taylor VanThof's goal with 14 seconds left in regulation.
However, after Syracuse's Kerry Defliese won the overtime draw, the Orange needed just 50 seconds for Emily Hawryschuk to scored the game-winner, her career-high sixth goal of the game.
Boston College's Kenzie Kent, the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s NCAA tournament, will redshirt the 2018 lacrosse season. Meanwhile, Mount St. Mary's goalie Jillian Petito is posting some of the top stats in Division I.
"There's a lot we have to learn from this game," Loyola defender Kristen Yanchoris said. "Offensively, just finishing our shots. We took 13 shots in the first half and we scored one. Defensively, just locking it down a little more. We knew what they were going to do and we just need more communication all around, I think."
The Greyhounds, who came into the game shooting 54 percent, the best in Division I, hit 11 of 27 shots against the Orange — 10 of 14 in the second half. They generated plenty of early offense but gave Orange goalie Asa Goldstock a lot of the same looks and she stopped 10 shots. In the second half, they varied their shots and scored 10 goals, forcing Syracuse coach Gary Gait to pull Goldstock for a while.
VanThof, a senior midfielder, said the difference in the halves was patience, especially on offense.
"First half we came out and everyone was amped up, everyone was excited to play a top-20 team, and there was too much energy," she said. "Second half, just slowing it down and realizing who was actually open, looking at not the first cutter but the second cutter … having a smarter lacrosse IQ."
After the teams traded goals to open the game, the Greyhounds missed 12 straight shots, nine saved by Goldstock. They didn't score for more than 34 minutes.
Loyola goalie Kady Glynn had eight of her 14 saves in the first half, but the Orange slipped four past her to take a 5-1 lead. The lead was again four with 23 minutes left.
The Orange, who lead the series 13-6 and have won four straight meetings, held on for a badly needed win after losing three of their past four games.
The Greyhounds, who have three true freshman making major contributions — attacker Livy Rosenzweig, who had three goals and five assists against Syracuse; Sam Fiedler (Garrison Forest) and Elli Kluegel — didn't expect the learning experience to end once they started winning.
"I think they certainly learned the value of possession and the value of finishing possession," Adams said. "I felt like we had equal shares of the ball. The difference was Syracuse was capitalizing on their shots. … When we turned that around in the second half, that was a big difference for us. I think our shooters learned that lesson. We haven't had many of those games this season, so for them to get stonewalled and forced down the road where you've got to finish or you're not going to stay in the game, out attacker learned that lesson and had to learn that lesson."
The Greyhounds will be back in action Saturday when they travel to No. 12 Navy at 1 p.m. The two are the only teams still unbeaten in Patriot League play as the Greyhounds aim to avenge their conference championship loss to the Midshipmen, who went on to the final four last season.