Women's Lacrosse Repeats as Patriot League Champions
BALTIMORE, Md. -- For the second consecutive season, the No. 10 Navy women's lacrosse team (16-3) defeated No. 9 Loyola (15-4) in the Patriot League Championship to receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Mids led 9-5 at halftime and did not trail in the second half, picking up the 17-10 victory. The Midshipmen will find out who and when they play in the NCAA Tournament during the selection show tonight at 9:30 p.m.
Navy placed four players - Ingrid Boyum (Herndon, Va.), Jenna Collins (Clarksville, Md.), Julia Collins (Clarksville, Va.) and Blake Smith (Sykesville, Md.) -on the All-Tournament Team with Julia Collins being recognized as the Tournament Most Valuable Player. Julia Collins tied the Patriot League Tournament record with 11 goals and 13 total points en route to MVP accolades.
"What a special team this is for Navy women's lacrosse to back it up with a second title, playing and beating an incredible Loyola team," head coach Cindy Timchal said after the game. "The players put it all out on the field and came up with a victory. I always say I am so proud of them, and I really am. They played and fought so hard today. They earned this win and I couldn't be prouder."
Defense played a key role in the Midshipmen's victory. Boyum finished the game with nine saves, holding the potent Greyhound offense to just 10 goals. It was the sixth consecutive game for the defense, holding an opponent to 10 goals or less. The Mids backline caused eight of Loyola's 14 turnovers with Sarah Childress (Annapolis, Md.), Natalie Irwin (Annandale, Va.) and Smith each being credited with two caused turnovers apiece.
The two teams tied with 12 ground balls apiece. Annalise Heyward (Charlotte, N.C.), Marie Valenti (Bechtelsville, Pa.), Boyum and Smith each picked up a pair of GBs apiece, including several at critical stages of the game to stop potential runs by the Greyhounds.
For the second straight game of the tournament, Andie O'Sullivan (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) led the team in draw controls with the junior securing five of the team's 13 draws. Julia Collins snagged three while Jenna Collins and Kayla Harris (Annapolis, Md.) each grabbed two.
Offensively, Julia Collins paved the way for the Midshipmen. The senior captain tallied six goals on 10 shots, tying the Patriot League Tournament record with 11 goals and 13 total points during the two games. Meg O'Donnell (Forest Hill, Md.) recorded a hat trick scoring four goals and chipping in her first assist of the season for five points. Jenna Collins, Kelly Larkin (Alexandria, Va.) and Nicole Victory (Issaquah, Wash.) each tallied three points, netting two goals with an assist piece.
For Jenna Collins, the three points gave the senior 100 points for the season. She joined Larkin as the only players in school history with multiple 100-point seasons.
In the first half, Loyola jumped out quickly with a goal in the first 25 seconds of action. Navy answered with back-to-back goals by Julia Collins to take its first lead of the game. Following a Greyhound goal, the Mids used a 3-0 run to take a 5-2 advantage. Larkin opened the run with an assist from O'Donnell, and Julia Collins followed with a pair of goals to give her four goals in the first 10 minutes of play.
The home team responded with a 3-0 run of their own to knot the game at 5-5, but Navy closed out the half with a 4-0 run to go into halftime in front, 9-5. O'Donnell converted a free-position opportunity to open the run. Childress picked up a ground ball off a missed shot by Loyola and carried it coast-to-coast for her first goal since the opening game of the 2017 season. Jenna and Julia Collins each scored with under one-minute to play in the half to provide the four-goal edge heading into intermission.
In the second half, Loyola scored the first two goals to cut the deficit to 9-7, but goals by O'Donnell and Larkin pushed the Navy lead back to four, 11-7. The two teams would trade goals over the next 10 minutes.
Leading 13-10, the Midshipmen closed out the game on a 4-0 run to secure their second consecutive Patriot League title. Julia Collins started the run with her sixth goal of the game. Victory hit O'Donnell in stride for a goal and then picked up her fourth multi-goal performance of her plebe year with her second goal of the game. O'Donnell closed out the scoring with a free-position goal to provide the final score of 17-10.
The championship is the sixth in Navy's 11-year history and gives the Midshipmen the Patriot League's automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA Tournament.