Finley’s game-winner lifts #19 JMU women’s lacrosse to 11-10 win at #14 Loyola

jmu logoWith 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime, senior attacker Stephanie Finley scored the game-winning goal to lift the 19th-ranked James Madison women’s lacrosse team to an 11-10 victory over No. 14 Loyolaon Saturday evening at the Ridley Athletic Complex.

The win extended JMU’s winning streak to four games and moved the Dukes to 4-1 on the year. Loyola dropped to 1-2. Each of the last three games between JMU and Loyola has been decided by one goal with the Dukes winning each contest.

“We as a team were relentless in this one,” said JMU head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe. “It wasn’t a pretty game, but this team was not going to leave the field without a win. We had a lot of players step up throughout the game but it was a total team effort at the end. From draw controls to the defensive effort and an offense that kept shooting until it finally scored, this was a great team win against a great Loyola team.”

Killing the clock in the second three-minute overtime session, JMU held possession for most of the frame and started its attack with less than one minute to go. With 43 seconds left in the contest, redshirt-sophomore attacker Betsy Angel took a pass at the top of the crease but fired her shot just wide to the right. Keeping possession of the ball, JMU tried to break the Loyola defense but the Greyhounds stood tall until Finley collected the ball with less than 10 seconds left and drove toward goal from the left side of the field. Getting around her defender, Finley fired from point-blank range past Loyola goalie Molly Wolf to give the Dukes their fourth-straight win over the Greyhounds dating back to the 2012 season.

Finley was one of three JMU players to score twice in the win as both Angel and sophomore midfielder Taylor Gress tallied two goals apiece. Finley’s first goal of the game opened the scoring just 50 seconds into the first half. She also tallied eight of JMU’s 15 draw controls in the game, which tied her career high she set last year against Jacksonville.

In the first overtime session, Gress capitalized after the Dukes lulled Loyola to sleep on defense, to give JMU a 10-9 lead, but the Greyhounds equalized with 8.4 seconds left in the period on a rebound after a nice save by JMU goalie Schylar Healy on a free-position shot.

Senior midfielder Alison Curwin led all JMU scorers with three goals. Two of her strikes came in the second half when the Dukes were in the midst of a 4-0 run after the Greyhounds jumped out to an 8-5 lead to open the frame. Her final goal of the game came with 4:44 to play to put the Dukes ahead 9-8, but Loyola forced overtime with a goal from Molly Hulseman with 42 seconds to go. Curwin also had two assists in the game, the second of which came on Angel’s second goal of the game with 24:33 to play in regulation, which started the 4-0 JMU run.

The Dukes outshot Loyola 31-23 in the game and earned 15 draw controls to the Greyhounds’ nine. Healy made eight saves in the win while Wolf stopped 11 JMU shots in the cage for Loyola.

More than half of JMU’s goals had an assist to go with them, as Angel finished with three assists and Curwin had two. Junior midfielder Brooks Lawler had the final assist for the Dukes.

Madison returns to action Friday, Feb. 6, in the second game of its three-game road trip against in-state rival Richmond. First draw is set for 6 p.m. inside Robins Stadium.

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