BALTIMORE - With winds wipping through Ridley Athletic Complex at over 40 mile per hour gusts, the 14th-ranked Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team made a major second-half rally to overcome a five-goal deficit and defeat the United States Naval Academy, 9-8, on Saturday afternoon in the Greyhounds' season opener.
Loyola, which trailed 7-2 after Navy's Cade Norris scored with 5:53 to play before halftime, held the Midshipmen scoreless for 28 minutes, 5 seconds, covering both halves.
Patrick Fanshaw tied the game at 7-7 with three ticks left on the third-quarter clock, and he then scored the game-winner with 1:08 left in regulation, taking a Chris Basler pass from the right side of the crease and tallying his second goal of the game.
"We preach family, and today we showed that," senior co-captain Matt Langan said. "We had contributions from everyone, from freshmen to fifth-year seniors. At halftime (Assistant Coach Dan) Chemotti said that there are no four-point goals, no two-point goals. We had to go out there and battle back one goal at a time, and that's what we did."
Possession was the key to Loyola's comeback in the second half. Faceoff specialist John Schiavone won 14-of-21 restarts during the game, all five attempted in the third quarter and 3-of-4 in the fourth.
The Greyhounds picked up 21 second-half ground balls to Navy's three and doubled up the Midshipmen, 32-16, in the game.
"Anytime you win 21 of 24 ground balls (in the second half), you are likely to win," Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "We played with a lot of hustle in the last 30 minutes, and I thought that we stepped up for each other."
Josh Hawkins led all players with seven ground balls, Schiavone had five, and Scott Ratliff and Mike Sawyer each had four.
"I am lucky to have `Hawk' and Ratliff on my team," Schiavone said. "I think I only had two or three ground balls in the second half. The rest were them."
Loyola only allowed one Navy shot in the third quarter while taking 16 of its own. The Greyhounds outshot the Midshipmen, 35-24, in the game.
Trailing 7-2 after Norris' second-quarter goal, Hawkins picked up the ground ball for Loyola on the ensuing faceoff, but Loyola turned the ball over before taking a shot.
Navy had two shots on its offensive end, the latter saved by Jake Hagelin, and Dylan Grimm stripped Andy Warner of possession, and Ratliff got to the loose ball for the Greyhounds.
A good offensive possession by Loyola was culminated when Langan fired a pass from X to D.J. Comer who was waiting in front of the goal. Comer's hard shot found the net for his second of the game, pulling Loyola within four, 34 seconds before halftime.
Neither the Greyhounds, nor Navy scored in the first eight minutes of the second dhalf, but Mike Sawyer found a crease and ripped a shot past Navy's R.J. Wickham with 6:46 to play in the frame.
Hawkins again won the ground ball on the restart, and after a Navy penalty on Tucker Hall for offsides, Stephen Murray took a Langan pass and scored Loyola's second man-up goal of the game.
Loyola forced another Navy turnover after one of its own following Murray's goal, and Davis Butts ran down the right alley, scoring his first goal of the season with 2:51 left in the third, cutting the Midshipmen's advantage to 7-6.
A Midshipmen timeout could not stop Loyola, as Hawkins picked up the ground ball on the face-off, his third in a row. His shot in an unsettled possession bounced wide left, and Navy forced a Loyola turnover moments later.
Loyola, however, forced a Midshipmen turnover, and after setting Sawyer missed wide right, the Greyhounds set up for the final shot of the quarter. Langan started the play from X and fed Fanshaw who ripped a goal with three seconds left in the third quarter, making it a tie game going into the fourth.
After Ratliff picked up the ground ball on Schiavone's fourth-quarter opening face-off win, Michael Hirsch caused a turnover for Navy, and Brian Striffler had two shots for the Midshipmen. The first went right and Hagelin made a save on the second with 11:53 remaining in regulation.
Sawyer then tallied his game-high third goal 20 seconds later, giving Loyola its first lead of the game, 8-7.
Navy did not back down, however, as Jay Mann took a Sam Jones pass and tied the game with 7:48 to play.
The Midshipmen won the ensuing face-off, their only win of the second half, but Hagelin saved a Jones shot, and Loyola cleared the ball to its offensive end.
Wickham made two saves, and another went wide before Basler found Fanshaw for the game-winner with 1:08 left on the clock.
Loyola earned the next possession, but a turnover gave it back to Navy with just over 30 seconds left. Striffler had a shot sail wide left, and Navy called timeout with 5.2 seconds remaining.
Andy Warner took the ball in his stick and went left around a pick, but Hagelin stopped his shot with a second left, securing the win.
Loyola's victory was reminiscent of last season's 8-7 win to open the season at Navy when Cooper MacDonnell scored the game-winner in overtime.
The Greyhounds are back in action next Saturday, February 26, when they take on Towson at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ABC-2 in the Baltimore area, ESPN3.com nationally, and it can be heard in Baltimore on WNST-AM 1570.
|Matt Langan||(0, 3)|
|Mike Sawyer||(3, 0)|
|Chris Basler||(0, 2)|
|Patrick Fanshaw||(2, 0)|
|Dj Comer||(2, 0)|
|Stephen Murray||(1, 0)|
|Davis Butts||(1, 0)|
|Jake Hagelin||6 (0.429)|