The third-seeded Boston University women’s lacrosse team fell to No. 12 Loyola University-Maryland, 18-7, in the Patriot League Championship game Saturday afternoon.
The Terriers (9-10, 5-3 Patriot League) first trekked to the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore and bested the second-seeded U.S. Naval Academy in the Patriot League semifinals by a score of 13-12. The victory marked the second of the season for BU over Navy (14-3, 6-2 Patriot League).
The Terriers held a comfortable advantage for the majority of the battle, holding a 10-7 lead with 17:44 left in the contest. Navy then sprung ahead with five unanswered goals to take the 12-10 lead.
Sophomore attack Jenny Thompson tallied one for the Terriers and completed her first career hat trick to cut the Midshipmen’s lead in half. After that, sophomore midfielder Jill Horka evened the score with just more than two minutes left. With 19.2 seconds left, senior attack Elizabeth Morse netted the game-winning goal for the Terriers to advance them into the championship match.
“That game was a thriller,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw about the semifinal. “Everyone who was there got to see who we are and it was one of the best games we could play.”
The Terriers’ one-point victory was enough to end Navy’s pursuit of its fifth straight conference championship. It was BU who would continue on to take on fellow Patriot League newcomer and top-seeded Loyola (14-4, 8-0 Patriot League) in the final contest.
Despite success over Navy, BU could not find the same success in Baltimore against the Greyhounds.
Junior attack Lindsay Weiner opened up the scoring for the with a free-position goal. Loyola then evened the score and began its streak of eight unanswered goals on an unassisted shot by redshirt junior Taryn VanThof.
The next seven marks came from junior Kara Burke, junior Hannah Schmitt and senior Marlee Paton to push Loyola well in front. The eighth point came from a shot by junior Annie Thomas. Freshman goalkeeper Caroline Meegan stepped in for senior Christina Sheridan with 13:05left.
“Loyola has some threats,” Robertshaw said. “They have some big time players, like Paton and VanThof, and it’s hard to stop them.”
On the goalkeeping switch, Robertshaw said Sheridan’s early struggles were a good chance to get Meegan in the contest.
“[Sheridan] started out the game strong and made some saves, but she wasn’t seeing the ball as well as it went on, so I thought it was a good opportunity for our freshman keeper [Meegan] to make some big saves.”
With 5:52 left in the first half, Horka ended the Greyhounds’ onslaught with an unassisted goal. However, Loyola continued with another streak of unanswered goals with two marks from Paton and one from Burke. At the 1:09 mark, Meegan came out for Sheridan.
“I put Christina back in and she made some more good saves,” Robertshaw said. “It was the right decision to make at that moment, it gave her a chance to regroup and talk to her goalie coach.”
With one second left in the first, redshirt sophomore attack Mallory Collins found the back of the net for the Terriers to make it 11-3 in favor of Loyola.
The second half of action opened with another point for the Terriers after Morse got a shot past Loyola goaltender Molly Wolf. Loyola fired back with a pair of goals from senior Ali Habicht and VanThof to make the Loyola advantage 13-4.
Horka then put up her second point of the night with 21 minutes left in the contest. About a minute later, Loyola’s junior Molly Hulseman extended her team’s lead to nine with assistance from Schmitt.
Weiner saw her second point of the night with 17:44 left of play to narrow Loyola’s lead. Horka then completed a hat trick to make the score 14-7.
Loyola, with 14:43 left in the game, stormed ahead with four unanswered goals. The Greyhounds secured their position as Patriot League champions with an 18-7 victory over the Terriers.
“We found that regardless of the outcome we had the right game plan, but we fell a little short,” Robertshaw said. “We should have focused more on attack.”
The Greyhounds dominated the contest not only in points, but also shots (29-23), draw controls (16-9) and collected ground balls (13-8).
“[Loyola] earned this,” Robertshaw said. “They were undefeated throughout the season and put up big numbers. They’re a team we need to make sure we have our target set on in 2015.”
Despite the loss, Robertshaw said she liked the fight the team had in its final game.
“The fact that this team battled from adversity says a lot about their character and their fight,” Robertshaw said. “It was a battle to get to the tournament and it was a lot of lacrosse in a short amount of time. That took a toll on us in the championship game.
“It was one of our goals to be in the championship game and we met that. We found that the championship game was very telling of the character and strength of this team.”