March 14, 2012

Lochary: Surprise Upsets Continue in WD1

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com

Danielle Tetreault's draw control prowess helped the Crimson upset James Madison. She also scored the game-winner in overtime.
© Gil Tabot

The upsets didn't come as fast and furious as they did last time around, but there were a few surprises on the Division I women's level. Let's take a look at the teams that showed some spark during, what was for most teams, the last week before conference play. Again, we'll use last week's rankings to indicate the upsets.

Tuesday: Harvard 8, No. 13 James Madison 2OT

Why It Matters: The Crimson has been steadily improving during head coach Lisa Miller's five-year tenure in Cambridge, so dropping a 12-6 game to Cornell on March 3 was not the way the team wanted to get the month started. They regrouped for their first ranked opponent of the season and gutted out a win. It was not a perfect game – the Dukes had a three-goal rally to force overtime – but they did walk away with the W.

X Factor: Draw controls. The Crimson won 13-of-21 draw controls. Junior midfielder Danielle Tetreault, who Miller calls "one of the best two-way midfielders in the country," led the team with five draw controls and scored the game-winner in overtime.

"I think that we are a quick team and it favors us if we can get to the ball," said Tetreault. "We're not a very tall team – our midfielder average, I think we're 5'3" –but we're quick and we're speedy."

Rankings Change: Harvard hasn't entered the rankings yet, although they got some votes in the IWLCA poll. James Madison (3-3) dropped seven spots to No. 20.

Up Next for Harvard: On Saturday, the Crimson forced OT versus Ivy League rival Penn, but ultimately lost 14-13. It was a tough loss to swallow, since Harvard had a 10-5 lead in the second half and let the Quakers storm back.

"Last year, we were the comeback kids. Now we're in the lead – what do we do with it?" said Miller. "I just think that it's the next step of the evolution of the program, getting back to where Harvard was in the late 80s and early 90s."

Harvard travels to unranked Johns Hopkins on Saturday to play in a doubleheader that is paired with a Syracuse-Hopkins men's game.

Wednesday: No. 17 Loyola 12, No. 12 Penn State 10 OT

Why It Matters: The Greyhounds, who began the year in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason Top 10, have had an uneven season, as the attack finds its way in the post-Grace Gavin era and junior midfielder Cass Cursaro gets up to speed on the draw in place of the injured Taryn vanThof. After dropping a 7-6 game to Charles Street rival Towson on March 3, Loyola needed a win, and they found it versus Penn State. The Nittany Lions entered the game with a 4-1 record and was coming off their own upset of Virginia last week.

X Factor: Tough D. The Greyhounds have a trio of seniors – Kellye Gallagher, Ana Henneberry and goalie Kerry Stoothoff – who helped their team rally from a four-goal deficit. Gallagher led the Greyhounds with five caused turnovers and five ground balls. Henneberry had two CTs of her own, as did Stoothoff. Stoothoff made 12 saves in the win, including two in overtime.

Rankings Change: Loyola (2-2) climbed four spots to No. 13; Penn State (4-2) rose one spot to No. 11. (The Nittany Lions caught the bounce off the precipitous falls of James Madison and Ohio State.)

Up Next for Loyola: Following their big upset, the Hounds just barely squeaked by unranked UMBC, 12-11, on Saturday. They host unranked Delaware on Wednesday.

Saturday: Richmond 13, No. 13 James Madison 12

Why It Matters: The Spiders were a good team that just couldn't seem to pull down a signature win. They lost to Duke, 17-13, and dropped a 12-9 game at Virginia. Richmond's season got off to a slightly atypical start: head coach Cathy Samaras Mantziaras and assistant coach Kelly Kasper Carter each gave birth around the New Year and missed much of January, leaving the team in the hands of assistant coach Crista Samaras. Thus it took a while for the Spiders to find their groove.

The win over James Madison was the Spiders' third in a row and the first over a ranked team. James Madison's Monica Zabel (two goals, four assists) tied the game at 12 with 33 seconds to play, but Richmond junior attacker Sam Stevenson controlled the final draw for the Spiders. Stevenson got off a long pass to senior attacker Caitlin Fifield (three goals, one assist), who scored the game-winner with just 24 seconds on the clock.

"We have a core group of upperclassmen who know their roles, and know what they can do, and understand that they're still going to make mistakes," said Samaras Mantziaras. "They don't fear making mistakes, which I think they feared in the past."

X Factor: A balanced attack that spread scoring out over seven different players, led by Mary Flowers (three goals, three assists). Flowers also led the team with six GB and three DCs. It was enough to counteract a monster game from James Madison senior attacker Casey Ancarrow, who had five goals and seven draw controls.

Rankings Change: Richmond still isn't getting any poll love; James Madison dropped 7 places to No. 13. (Rough week for the Dukes.)

Up Next for Richmond: The Spiders lost to Maryland on Tuesday, 18-9, and travel to Towson on Saturday.

Saturday: No. 6 Syracuse 10, No. 3 Maryland 9

Why It Matters: Like their Big East brethren Loyola, Syracuse had a streaky start to the season. They were most recently coming off a huge 12-11 OT win at Florida. The victory over Maryland proved that the Orange is a disciplined team that can compete with the best, and is not just a pretender. It was also sweet for them to get their first win over the Terps in 12 tries in College Park, ending a 36-game home streak for Maryland.

"Maybe now they'll come play us in the Dome," quipped head coach Gary Gait.

X Factor: Attacker Michelle Tumolo, who had three goals and two assists. The entire Orange team did an excellent job of executing a careful, possession-oriented game plan. But Syracuse tried that last year versus Maryland, and had to settle for a 7-5 loss. Tumolo provided some offensive spark right when the Orange needed it, with her slick dodges and expert crease rolls.

"We're the real deal," said Tumolo.

Rankings Change: Syracuse rose to No. 3, equaling its highest regular-season ranking in school history. Maryland dropped to No. 5.

Up Next for Syracuse: The Orange opens conference play at Connecticut on March 24.

Undefeated Watch

There are seven undefeated teams left in the country, down from 12 last week. Here's who's up next for the unbeaten.

Wednesday

Vermont (4-1) at Dartmouth (3-0)

Saturday

UMass (7-0) at Northwestern (6-0)
North Carolina (8-0) at Georgetown (2-2)
Notre Dame (5-0) v. Cornell (5-0)*
*Game played in Orlando, Fla.

Sunday

Ohio State (5-1) at St. Bonaventure (3-0)


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