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W. Lacrosse Battles Back, Defeats Loyola in OT, 6-5

By Eric F. Brown

If the Cowardly Lion really wanted some nerves, he should have gone to some Harvard women's lacrosse games. Loyola  5 Harvard  6

After falling behind number-six Loyola 4-0 in the first 14 minutes of yesterday's game at Ohiri Field, the 11th-ranked Crimson didn't get demoralized, intimidated or bewildered. Instead, Harvard roared back to tie the game in the latter stages of the second half and won on junior midfielder Megan Hall's goal 55 seconds into overtime.

"When we were down it was only 10 minutes into the game," co-captain Genevieve Chilies (nine ground balls) said. "We knew we had 50 minutes left."

Not that Harvard (4-2 overall, 1-2 Ivy) wasted any time. After Loyola (6-3) co-captain Jeanne Harrington completed her hat trick 13:58 into the game, the Crimson went to work. Co-captain Megan Colligan, sophomore attacker Lindsay Davison and senior midfielder Sarah Winters each tallied goals; Winters' came with only eight seconds left in the half.

The second period was a defensive stalemate for 17:58 until sophomore attacker Liz Schoyer crept up on Loyola goaltender Dana Hoffman's left side and rifled the ball over her head to tie the game. The Greyhounds broke the 4-0 Crimson run with a score by Betsy Given, but Winters knocked in her second goal of the day to send the game into overtime.

In the extra stanza, Hall bounced in a 12-footer to give Harvard its first lead of the game, and Crimson sophomore goalie Kate Schutt blanked the Greyhounds, picking up two of her 15 saves in overtime.

The comeback was complete.

However, if any of the 174 fans in attendance had been told early on that Harvard would tie Loyola--much less hold it to five goals--most of them would have laughed at the notion.

"[In the beginning] it was tough," Schutt said. "I let the first two in right away--they were really fluke goals. I knew that it wasn't going to be indicative of the rest of the game."

The Greyhounds' first tally was a loose ball that happened to be picked up by Loyola's Kerri Johnson, who whipped it past the surprised Schutt only 37 seconds into the game.

The next three tallies were off the stick of Harrington. Numbers one and two came from free positions, and the third resulted from a breakaway in which Harrington simply cut right through the Crimson defense.

At that point it was 4-0, and Harvard knew it was going to have to get some defense or get killed.

"Our attack was too slow to get back," Chelius said. "But we had great communication, and we kept our composure."

From that point on, the Crimson's defense took over. No Loyola player could set foot in the shooting area without getting her stick checked, and the Harvard players always seemed to come up with the loose ground balls.

The numbers tell it all--Harvard didn't allow any goals over the next 40 minutes and only one over the next 52.

"The major thing was Kate [Schutt]," Colligan said. "She was playing out of her head."

Meanwhile, the Crimson attack was finally finding a way past Hoffman. The tall Loyola netminder proved to be a difficult opponent for Harvard shooters, as she would crouch down low and tempt her opponents to shoot up high.

Colligan finally put Harvard on the board 15:21 into the first half with a shot off a free position that seemed to trickle over Hoffman's stick.

The second Crimson goal came after Winters' free position. Her shot was deflected, but Winters was able to control the rebound and pass it to Davison, who stuffed the ball into the net.

After this goal, the scoring stopped for a while, until there was a little bit of deja vu for Harvard.

With about four minutes left in the half, Loyola seemed to have scored its fifth goal of the game. But Colligan asked to have the stick inspected by the referees, who found it to be illegal. In Harvard's last game--a 10-9 loss to Yale--Colligan's game-tying goal was nullified due to the same call.

"I just thought that the game was getting out of control," Colligan said. "I was going to call a stick check anyway--basically all sticks are illegal. I just wanted to stop their momentum."

The Crimson would soon take some more wind out of the Greyhounds' sails. With 30 seconds to go in the half, Harvard foiled a Loyola attack and got the ball back. Twenty-two ticks of the clock later, Winters had scored.

That end-of-the-half tally set the stage for the rest of the game. No longer would Harvard be trying to catch up; instead, the next 36 minutes would be a tooth-and-nail battle.

"In the second half the defense played really well," Schutt said. "I was determined not to let any more goals in."

Except for one case, she met her hope. After Schoyer beat Hoffman to tie the game, Givens gave Loyola the lead yet again on a wide-open free position with six minutes left. But the Crimson responded quickly.

Thirty-four seconds later, Colligan held the ball behind the Loyola net and hit Winters cutting across the shooting zone wide-open. Winters whipped a shot high into the net to tie the score yet again.

After that, the Crimson would only need one more goal. The team got it 55 seconds into OT.

"We started to attack the right side of the goal more [later in the game]," Colligan said. "That's how Megan [Hall] scored--it was much more effective that what we were doing in the first half."

The victory allowed Harvard to get back a little at Loyola, who beat the Crimson twice last year, 11-10 during the regular season and 9-4 in the playoffs. It is also Harvard's first win against a top-10 team this season.

"It feels great to finally win a close game," Chelius said. "It's nice to have a little revenge for last year."

HARVARD, 6-5 (OT) at Ohiri Field Loyola  4  1  0  --  5 Harvard  3  2  1  --  6

G:Loyola--Harrington (3), Johnson, Given; Harvard--Winters (2), Colligan, Davison, Hall, A:Harvard--Winters, Colligan. S:Loyola--Haffman 106-6-1 17; Harvard--Schutt 6-7-2 15.

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