Loyola leads the series, 23-15, and has won two straight.
The Greyhounds took the 2010 contest on March 20 by a score of 12-8 in Harrisonburg, Va. Meg Decker and Grace Gavin each recorded three goals with Decker adding an assist for a team-high four points.
The series dates back to 1982 and the foes were members of the South Atlantic Lacrosse League and the Colonial Athletic Association.
Scouting the Dukes
James Madison joins Loyola as one of nine unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I (through Thursday).
The Dukes have scored nine or more goals in all six games and their closest contest was an 11-9 win at then-No. 20 Virginia Tech. Loyola has reached double figures in scoring in all five games and is winning by an average of 5.4 goals per game.
There are no common foes thus far, although James Madison hosts Virginia in its next outing and hosts conference rivals Towson and Delaware in mid-April.
Off And Running
Loyola's 5-0 start is its best since the 2003 Final Four team raced out to 14 straight victories en route to a 17-2 final record. That team ended the regular season ranked No. 1.
The Greyhounds moved up to No. 5 in the Inside Lacrosse/deBeer Media poll while remaining No. 6 in the IWLCA Coaches poll.
The rankings are the highest for Loyola since the 2004 season.
Leaving Maryland, My Maryland
Loyola left the state of Maryland for the first time this season Wednesday, crossing the state line into Delaware for the 14-13 win over the Blue Hens.
The Greyhounds remain within the state lines through the month of March, not leaving the state again until a BIG EAST trip to Cincinnati and Notre Dame on the first weekend of April.
Last year, the Greyhounds opened the season with four consecutive road games before hosting nearby-rival Towson in the home opener.
Loyola swept this week's BIG EAST awards as senior Grace Gavin earned the Offensive Player of the Week nod for the first time this season while junior Kerry Stoothoff collected the Defensive Player of the Week accolades for the third time in four weeks.
Gavin matched her career-highs with seven goals and eight points in the 14-8 win over Cornell and finished the week with 12 points on 10 goals and two assists. She earned a spot on the BIG EAST honor roll the previous week.
Stoothoff picked up her third recognition of the season by recording her fourth straight victory with wins in both games during the week. She collected a combined 15 saves in the games and held her fourth straight opponent this season below eight or fewer goals.
Loyola is the first BIG EAST team to sweep the awards through four weeks of honors.
Lions, Tigers and Bears
After a two-week layoff following the 15-8 season-opening win over Virginia, Loyola played the Tigers, the Lions and the Bears over the next week.
The run started with a 12-2 win at the then-No. 17 Towson Tigers. The Greyhounds returned home to host and collect wins over the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-7) and the Cornell Big Red (14-9).
Talk of the Nation
In the latest NCAA statistical information, Loyola ranks nationally in several statistical categories:
First in winning percentage (one of nine unbeaten teams)
First in caused turnovers (13.50 per game)
Fifth in scoring defense (6.25 goals allowed per game)
11th in scoring margin (+6.50 goals per game)
Turning Delaware Blue
Freshman Marlee Paton scored with 34 seconds remaining to give Loyola a come-from-behind 14-13 win Wednesday at Delaware.
Loyola trailed 13-10 with 5:12 remaining before mounting the furious comeback.
Senior Meg Decker tallied four times and added a pair of assists for six points. Paton and Grace Gavin each scored three goals for the Greyhounds.
Senior Meg Steffe collected her first win of the season, entering the game in the second half and recording a pair of saves.
Making Cornell See Red
Senior Grace Gavin matched her career-best with seven goals for half of the Loyola output in the Greyhounds' 14-8 win over Cornell. She assisted on an eighth goal to equal her career-high for points in a game.
Junior Kelly Stoothoff collected 12 saves for her fourth straight win to open the season. She turned away 10 first-half shots.
Senior Abby Rehfuss was the only additional multiple-goal scorer with two as five other Greyhounds tallied once.
The Greyhounds picked up their third win with a 10-7 victory over Penn State on March 8, rallying from a 5-1 deficit early in the second half by scoring nine in the second stanza to win.
Meg Decker and Grace Gavin tallied hat tricks in the win.
Kellye Gallagher set a new career high with five ground balls to lead the team in that category. Decker controlled seven draws in the win, one away from her career high.
Loyola took the 39th meeting with local rival Towson on March 5 by dominating both ends of the field, rolling to a 12-2 win at Towson's Unitas Stadium.
The 12-2 result matched the biggest Greyhounds win over the Tigers since March 28, 2001, when Loyola turned in a 13-3 win on the road. Loyola now leads the all-time series, 30-9.
Kerry Stoothoff came up big for Loyola once again, making 10 saves, including seven in the second half, for her second win of the season.
Four Greyhounds scored two goals each (Grace Gavin, Caroline Hager, Marlee Paton and Abby Rehfuss) and four more each tallied one (Cara Filippelli, Taryn VanThof, Ali Carpenter and Ashley Cahill). With the result, Loyola boasted eight different scorers for the second straight game.
Cahill, VanThof and Carpenter each scored their first career goal in the win.
Heck UVa Win
Loyola began its 39th season in impressive fashion, knocking off the then-ranked No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 15-8 on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Eight different Greyhounds tallied goals for Loyola, including freshman Marlee Paton, who led all scorers with four goals. Grace Gavin added three and Caroline Hager and Meg Decker each chipped in two.
Prior to the win against Virginia, the last time Loyola boasted eight scorers in a game was on March 24, 2010, when the Greyhounds topped Stony Brook, 18-7. Nine different players scored for Loyola in the win over the Seawolves.
Loyola hosted the England national team on February 24 in exhibition action and bested the British visitors, 14-9.
A pair of freshmen enjoyed a successful evening as Marlee Paton and Taryn VanThof tied for the team lead with three goals each. Eight different players scored for the Greyhounds on the night. Joanna Dalton and Meg Decker each added two, and Grace Gavin, Abby Rehfuss, Caroline Hager and Alison Habicht all added one apiece.
Freshman Marlee Paton was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on February 21 after scoring four goals in her collegiate debut against Virginia, leading all scorers.
For her effort, Paton was named the WomensLax.com Rookie of the Week the week of February 21 as well.
Grace Gavin enters the year with the chance to make significant strides in the Loyola record books. She sits 56 points short of tying the Loyola career point record, 50 goals short of the career goal mark and 61 assists shy of the career assists record.
Gavin enters this week on a 45 game goal streak after scoring seven in the team's 14-8 win over Cornell on March 11.
Hard Road to Travel
The Greyhounds' 2011 schedule includes five opponents in the March 14 edition of the IWLCA Top 20. Loyola has already defeated No. 7 Virginia (15-8).
Other opponents appearing on the Greyhounds' schedule in the top 20 include: No. 9 James Madison (March 19), No. 14 Notre Dame (April 3), No. 13 Georgetown (April 19) and No. 11 Syracuse (April 29). The Greyhounds also play Rutgers (April 23), who is receiving votes in the poll.
Leaders of the Pack
Midfielder Cara Filippelli, midfielder Abby Rehfuss and goalkeeper Kerry Stoothoff serve as captains for Loyola this year. Filippelli (2010 Second-Team All-BIG EAST, 23 goals and 28 assists) and Rehfuss (2010 Second-Team All-BIG EAST, 23 goals and seven assists) return as captains for the second year, while Stoothoff (9.47 goals-against-average and .497 save percentage) makes her debut as a captain.
Big Respect in the BIG EAST
BIG EAST coaches predicted Loyola to finish fourth in the conference in the annual preseason conference poll. The Greyhounds went 5-3 in BIG EAST play last year en route to a fourth-place finish. Georgetown took top honors, followed by Syracuse and Notre Dame.
Grace Gavin, Cara Filippelli and Abby Rehfuss were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team on January 25. Gavin was a unanimous selection, as well as taking BIG EAST Preseason Attack Player of the Year honors. The announcement marked Gavin's third straight year on the team, Filippelli's second and Rehfuss' first.
Old `Hounds, New Tricks
Loyola returns 10 starters from the 2010 team that ended the year ranked No. 13, including 2010 BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year Grace Gavin. Gavin finished the year with 64 goals and 23 assists for 87 points, also earning IWLCA Second-Team All-American and WomensLax.com All-American honors. The returners for Loyola in 2011 combined for 198 goals and 81 assists last year.
The team also sees three Second-Team All-BIG EAST selections from 2010 return for this season. Rehfuss and Filippelli earned the honor in addition to junior defender Ana Heneberry, who ranked second on the team with 35 caused turnovers and third with 39 ground balls.
The Greyhounds lose only two starters from last year's squad that reached the BIG EAST Semifinals, but two players who served big roles for Loyola. Emily Gibson tallied 48 points for the Greyhounds (33 goals and 15 assists), second-most on the team, while Tara Gardner led the team from the defensive end, starting all 18 games.
Party at Our Place
Loyola will host the 2013 BIG EAST Women's Lacrosse Championship at the Ridley Athletic Complex on May 2 and 4, 2013. The event will mark the first BIG EAST postseason event Loyola has hosted. In nine years, BIG EAST teams have made 23 appearances in the NCAA tournament and six teams have made it to the final four. Three teams (Syracuse, Notre Dame and Georgetown) have appeared in the tournament for three years straight.
Loyola welcomes seven freshmen to the team in 2011. Top incoming players include Ali Carpenter (Baltimore Sun Player to Watch, hat trick in the IAAM-A Maryland State Championship Game), Taryn VanThof (Led high school team in goals, assists and ground balls for all four years and scored first goal against Towson) and Marlee Paton (Youngest player on the Australian Senior National Team that took the silver medal at the 2009 Women's Lacrosse World Cup, scored four goals in debut against Virginia).
Steering the Ship
Head Coach Jen Adams returns to lead the Greyhounds for the third year, looking to build on a 22-13 record at Loyola. In 2010 under Adams, Loyola reached its first ever BIG EAST Semifinal and led the nation in caused turnovers (13.06/game) for the second consecutive season. The team also enjoyed its best-ever season in the BIG EAST (5-3) and ranked in the top 25 in five statistical categories.
Assistant Coach Dana Dobbie also returns for her third season. A two-time All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist at Maryland, Dobbie has overseen a Loyola midfield unit that has produced four All-BIG EAST selections and led the in caused turnovers over the last two years.
Loyola adds new assistant coach Katie Chrest to the coaching staff this year. Chrest, a three-time All-American at Duke, played on the championship-winning 2009 U.S. Women's World Cup Team after becoming the Blue Devils' all-time leading scorer and winning the 2005 Tewaaraton Trophy.