CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - A pair of Loyola University Maryland women’s lacrosse defenders have been honored for their play in the Greyhounds’ upset win over No. 8 Virginia last week, as senior Maddy Lesher has been tabbed the Corvias Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and freshman Kristen Yanchoris has been named the League’s Rookie of the Week, as announced by the League office Monday.
Senior Maddy Blakeman was also named to the League’s Honorable Mention performances after scoring three goals in the 7-6 win over the Cavaliers, her first hat trick of the season and fourth of her career.
Defensively, Lesher and Yanchoris teamed to shut down Virginia’s offense, as the nationally ranked Cavaliers entered the game averaging 12.5 goals per game, 29.3 shots per game and a .426 shooting percentage. Loyola’s defensive unit kept them to just six goals, 16 shots and a .375 shooting percentage through the 60 minutes.
Individually, Lesher caused four turnovers and scooped up four ground balls in the game, while holding Virginia’s Kelly Reese, who was averaging five shots and 2.17 goals per game coming into the contest, to no shots. The Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, native also forced Reese into two of her four turnovers, including on in the final minutes after Virginia had closed the gap to 7-6, which gave the Greyhounds the ball and allowed Loyola to hold on for the victory.
Yanchoris, a defender from Sykesville, Maryland, had three caused turnovers and two ground balls in the win. She played all 60 minutes without committing a foul and caused an early turnover that helped Loyola in its 4-0 run to start the game.
For the season, Lesher leads the Patriot League with 3.20 ground balls per game, while she’s also tied for second on the team with seven caused turnovers. Yanchoris leads Loyola with 10 caused turnovers and is fourth on the team with 11 ground balls.
These weekly awards mark the second time a Greyhound has picked up defensive and rookie honors this year, as senior Molly Wolf was named the defensive player of the Week on February 29 and freshman Hannah Powers was tabbed the rookie of the week on March 7. This is also Lesher’s third career weekly award from the Patriot League, while it’s the first for Yanchoris.
Loyola will open Patriot League play tomorrow when it hosts American at Ridley Athletic Complex. Opening draw is scheduled for 7 p.m.