Needing to issue a wake-up call to her Loyola women's lacrosse team after last week's season-opening loss to Virginia, coach Jen Adams decided to ditch the theatrics in favor of a more civilized approach.
"I didn't realize all you had to do was ask nicely," Adams said with a laugh.
Whatever the method, the message apparently stuck, as No. 10 Loyola scored six of seven goals to open the second half, then held off a late surge by visiting No. 9 Penn State in a 13-11 win.
Trailing by a goal at halftime, the Greyhounds (1-1) came out ablaze in the second half, outshooting the Nittany Lions (1-1), 12-1, over the first 14 minutes. To Adams, the performance marked a significant improvement from her team's 10-9 loss to the Cavaliers a week earlier.
"I felt in the U.Va. game we didn't really show up," Adams said. "I felt like today we were present. We made a mark out there, and we made Penn State have to come out and play to us."
A pair of sophomores led the charge, as midfielder Taryn VanThof had three goals and two assists and attack Kara Burke (Dulaney) scored three goals. Burke's last tally came off a feed from Marlee Paton with 2:52 left, ending a string of three straight Penn State goals that had cut the lead to one.
"We were going to win this game — I think we all decided beforehand," Burke said. "The first game is over, all the jitters are out. Now we're down to business."
Loyola has defeated the Nittany Lions three straight times. For much of the first half, it appeared that string would come to an end.
Down, 2-0, Penn State began to win draws and establish control, scoring four straight goals in a 2:55 span, capped by Ally Heavens' one-timer from junior Mackenzie Cyr (Winters Mill).
The Nittany Lions dominated time of possession in the half, forcing nine turnovers and drawing 20 fouls, to the Greyhounds' eight. Still, Loyola rallied to pull even with three of the next four goals, before Heavens' unassisted effort gave Penn State a 7-6 lead at halftime.
When the Greyhounds re-emerged from the locker room, however, they quickly took command, thanks in large part to VanThof's dominance on draw controls (she had a career-best eight of them).
"I think the biggest change that happened was the draw controls," said Penn State coach Missy Doherty, who played at Maryland in the mid-90s. "We really didn't have the ball on offense for their first three goals of the half. It's hard to score when the ball is always down at the other end."
Said VanThof, "We focused a lot on just getting the ball in our possession. We just came out [in the second half] and it was goal after goal. It felt great and kind of put us on top."
The Greyhounds took the lead for good on Burke's goal 2:02 into the second half and later extended the lead to 12-8 on Katrina Geiger's solo effort at the end of a possession that lasted nearly three minutes.