Lacrosse, Sports

Women’s lacrosse push comes too late in 18-11 loss against No. 7 Loyola

Junior midfielder Kaitlin Belval had a two-goal performance against Loyola on Saturday. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University women’s lacrosse team faced an 18-11 loss against No. 7 Loyola University Maryland Saturday afternoon at Nickerson Field, becoming the eighth team in a row to fall to the Greyhounds (8-2, 4-0 Patriot League).

It became another strike in Loyola’s 10-2 record against the Terriers (3-6, 1-3 Patriot League), who have dropped the last eight matchups to the Greyhounds since joining the Patriot League in 2014.

BU took hold of the match early, winning the opening faceoff and quickly advancing into the attacking end.

Draw controls would remain a steady aspect of the team’s play, as it won 14-of-30 throughout the course of the game, something that BU head coach Liz Robertshaw saw as a highlight of the day.

“Knowing that [Loyola] is one of the best draw teams in the country, I am extremely pleased with [sophomore midfielder] Mackenzie Howe, [junior midfielder] Kaitlin Belval and [junior defender] Tonianne Magnelli,” Robertshaw said. “They just battled, and that’s something that scared Loyola. We need to keep that up.”

After circling from behind the cage, senior attack Avery Donahoe opened the scoring 29 seconds into the matchup.

Donahoe currently leads the Terriers in goals, ending the afternoon with 21.

The Greyhounds’ leading goal-scorer, junior midfielder Taylor VanThof, struck five minutes later with a high, well-angled shot.

BU’s junior attack Molly Kern then threaded through the Loyola defense to net a clean goal, picking up her fourth of the season.

However, the Terriers would not hold the lead for long, as Loyola went on a 9-0 streak through the middle of the first half. During the run, six different Greyhounds found the back of the net, which also included VanThof completing her hat trick.

A tally from Belval broke the streak with 6:26 remaining in the half. But before the half was through, Loyola put up two more goals, making the score 12-3 heading into halftime.

The Terriers came out of intermission strong.

Senior midfielder and defender Sarah Andersen and sophomore midfielder Lexi Lewis put up back-to-back goals before Greyhound junior attack Hannah Powers could respond with two consecutive goals of her own.

With her second goal of the half, Powers picked up her fifth and final of the game, and the 100th of her career.

BU ultimately outscored Loyola 8-6 through the final half, building from its 24 shots in the second and a 5-3 run within the final 16 minutes of the game, but it would not be enough to complete a comeback.

Eight Terriers found their way onto the score sheet, with two-goal performances coming from Belval, Kern and Lewis.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Robertshaw said. “Yes, we need to have more scoring threats. I love that we have multiple people scoring, but I need more points on the board from people consistently. We don’t know who we can count on for four or five goals a game.”

Sophomore attack Kailey Conry, who leads BU in points with 35, and Donahoe were both kept to one goal after being smothered by the Greyhounds’ defense.

The Terriers’ defense, in turn, improved its blockade of Loyola’s attack.

BU limited the Greyhounds’ shot production by more than half in the second, outpaced them in ground balls and forced 11 turnovers — all of which the Terriers had lagged behind in during the first half.

Senior goalkeeper Christine Laible made her seventh start and sixth double-digit save showing of the year, bringing her goal save percentage to .420.

Despite the loss, BU became the first Patriot League team to put up a double-digit score against the Greyhounds this season.

However, Robertshaw emphasized the Terriers’ need for more wins, as her team has only won one Patriot League matchup of the 2018 season.

“I don’t focus necessarily on Loyola, we just need to play a better game,” Robertshaw said. “We showed a lot more character as a team than we did against Colgate, and I’m proud of that. We just dug ourselves in too deep of a hole, but we came back and I think that’s important to see from my team.”

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