Colgate vs. Loyola
March 29, 2014
The Game Story:
HAMILTON Saturday's 10-8 loss to No. 1-ranked Loyola causes Colgate a slight slip in the Patriot League standings, although likely not so much in the national polls. But the 17th-ranked Raiders still hold the cards if they want to land a second-place Patriot League finish and first-round bye in the postseason tournament. That event likely will take place at Loyola after the Greyhounds held on Saturday to improve to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play. Colgate drops to 7-3 and 3-2, which settles the Raiders into fourth place with three games remaining. Two of those games are against the teams directly above Colgate, beginning next Saturday at Lehigh (4-2) in a 2 p.m. start. The Raiders also finish the season at home April 18 against Army (4-1) after a date with Holy Cross (0-5) April 12. "There are no moral victories, obviously, but this shows we can play with anyone in the country," said Matt Clarkson, who scored three goals against Loyola. "We have a huge one Saturday against Lehigh. If we win these next three, we can lock up that No. 2 seed and that's what is most important." Tyler Rigo The first- and second-place teams earn opening-round byes to the Patriot League Tournament semifinals. Seeds 3-6 play at home sites April 22, with the semifinals and final set for the regular season champion's home field April 25 and 27. Good Moving Forward Saturday against Loyola, Colgate traded punches with the nation's top-ranked team until a four-goal outburst in the third quarter tilted the game toward the Greyhounds. Colgate drew within one goal on a couple of occasions thanks in part to Clarkson and Tyler Rigo (pictured right), who scored his first two collegiate goals. "There are no moral victories in this program," Raiders head coach Mike Murphy said. "I'm very proud of my team's effort, but if you play good teams you've got to play a full 60 (minutes). There was a stretch there where we gave up a four-goal run and we didn't answer very well. We had a little trouble in the clearing game, and that was a recipe for the L. "If we're going to be a successful team, we can't be a one-man band. To see that midfield really get going with Mattie getting the three goals and Tyler getting two off his line is good for us. That's good moving forward." Clarkson's scoring outburst resulted in his second career hat trick and the first since he scored five in the 2013 season opener at Bryant. The junior midfielder scored in the second, third and fourth quarters and is now tied for third on the team with 17 points. He is fifth with nine goals. "It's bittersweet when you come up short like that," Clarkson said. "We knew they weren't going to slide to us at the top so we practiced dodging deep all week. I was lucky enough to get three of them." First Two for Rigo Rigo scored his goals midway in the second to make it 3-3 and at the end of the third to pull Colgate within 8-7. Kevin Boyle "You never complain about a couple of goals, but not getting the W today took away from that a little bit," Rigo said. "I was happy to get on the board and contribute to the team as much as I can." The sophomore says games like today, while disappointing, prove that the Raiders are moving in the right direction. "There are some things we've got to touch up, but it definitely will bring us some momentum heading into next week when we take on Lehigh. And we could still see these guys again in the tournament, which is all you can ask for." Cameron Williams also scored two goals for the first time in his career. The sophomore tied the game 1-1 late in the first period, and then struck again to start the third and hand Colgate its only lead of the game at 5-4. That lead, however, seemed to wake the Greyhounds as Loyola scored four straight over a 6:58 stretch to take an 8-5 advantage. "That one run was tough," said Jimmy Ryan, who sparked the defense with four ground balls and one caused turnover. "We obviously made some mistakes in the clearing game, giving them opportunities. In the 6-on-6 we played pretty well. Our goalie played outstanding today and really kept us in the game at some points. But that run really hurt us. We just gave them some opportunities and we've got to learn from those mistakes and move forward." Brendon McCann McCann Dishes Three Assists Kevin Boyle (pictured middle right) had the other goal for Colgate, scoring with four seconds left before halftime to tie it 4-4. It was the fourth tie score of the first half. All three Raider assists went to Brendon McCann (pictured right), who matched his career high in helpers. Junior Ryan Walsh was held scoreless for the first game of his Colgate career, ending his streak of scoring at least one point in all 42 games he has played for the Maroon and White. Walsh's streak was the fourth-longest active one in the country. "Ryan had a great cover today in Joe Fletcher," Murphy said. "There's a reason why Joe is one of the best in the country and that was an epic matchup that Joe got this time. I know Ryan will be hungry for the next time that maybe we see those guys. "But I'm proud of our offense. We did some nice things today. We just didn't do enough of them." Loyola was led by Nikko Pontrello's hat trick, giving the junior 36 goals for the season. Justin Ward added two goals and three assists, and Ward now has 33 assists for the year. Team shots were even at 35, as were saves at 12. Loyola held a 29-23 ground ball edge, while Colgate claimed a 13-9 advantage in faceoffs. Loyola had one more turnover, 13-12, but the Greyhounds were 17-of-18 on clears to Colgate's 22-of-27. "Again, it goes back to the clearing part of it," Murphy said. "We gave them too many second-chance opportunities. They got a rebound goal that we talked about all week. We did a good job defending them in early offense; but, again, a good team like that you can't give extra opportunities. "We have to be able to carry it over. We've got to learn and grow as a team that when you play really good teams Lehigh, Loyola, Cornell you've got to play for 60. You give up a four-goal run and you're not going to be able to recover from that against the good ones."