One of Riley Dolan’s duties at practice last season was prepping Brennan Dwyer for the draw control.
It’s serving her well, now that Dwyer is gone and playing lacrosse at Northwestern. A senior, Dolan is on a committee of six players taking draw controls for the nine-time defending state champion Ramblers, who beat Mother McAuley 16-1 at home Saturday.
“My role was to make Brennan better, but it was very helpful for me, too,” said the Holy Cross-bound Dolan, a three-year varsity veteran.
With Dwyer, Loyola (3-0) won 69.1 percent on its draw controls last season. Although it’s a small sample size, the Ramblers are showing no signs of losing their advantage in the circle. In addition to Dolan, the rotation includes junior Anna Gordon, junior Brynn Holohan, sophomore Annabelle Burke, sophomore Kelsey Koch and freshman Maley Starr.
“We still are dominating,” Loyola head coach John Dwyer said. “I think we are winning at a rate of 85 or 90 percent right now. That won’t be the case by the end of the season, but all of the girls have done a really good job.”
Winning draw controls sets up offensive success, evidenced by the 49 goals the Ramblers have scored in three games. On Saturday, Dolan and junior Maggie Gorman each scored three times. Junior Emily Doell and freshman Ellie Lazzaretto each had two goals apiece. In all, 10 Ramblers scored. Starr finished with a team-best four assists.
For the season, Dolan leads Loyola with eight goals. Senior Claire Caffery, Gorman and Koch all have six. Sophomore Sophia Rucker and Doell both have four. A total of 12 Ramblers have at least one goal this year.
“I like our balance,” Dwyer said. “We have a number of girls who can score. We have work to do, but we are in a good spot right now.”
Loyola opened the season Thursday with an 18-1 win over Fenwick. The Ramblers beat St. Ignatius 15-1 on Friday. They have three more games before they leave for their annual trip to the Washington D.C. area, where they face some of the country’s top teams.
“It’s always a little bit of a culture shock to go there because the competition is so good,” Dolan said. “It’s good for us to play a few games before we leave to get ourselves prepared. I can already see us coming together and gaining confidence.”