Loyola Closes The Door on the Irish

Loyola Closes The Door on the Irish

Loyola Closes The Door on the Irish

Loyola Closes The Door on the Irish

Four losses by a total of five goals. Three one goal losses. Maybe Notre Dame is the best D1 team with a losing record; maybe not. As the Irish basketball team was nipping at the Dukies heels in the NCAA hoop fun, so to were the Fighting Irish nipping at the heels of the Loyola Greyhounds in lacrosse on Saturday, tying the game 6-6 with 2:34 left, keeping them at bay in the first overtime and letting a goalie rebound pass in the second overtime period to lose a heartbreaker 7-6. Loyola used to own the Irish, earning a 10-0 record that last resulted in a win two years ago in South Bend in a 12-2 shellacking. But not so for the last two times they met, with Notre Dame both jumping out to early leads and shutting down the Hounds with their defense. Its hard to characterize this game. The Irish defense played admirably, with their starting longsticks of AJ Wright, Eric Simon and Mickey Blum inflicting some major welts on the Hounds and stripping them of the ball in critical times. Simon had at least 5 such strips, and three of those were ones he picked up off the ground before his victim ever knew the ball was out of his pocket.

Before the game, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan had relied upon his usual pre-game comments that in order to win, the Irish had to play "good, smart lacrosse". They did. Sort of, at least for awhile. Corrigan is pleased with his defense that is averaging only seven goals a game give up agianst some tough times. "We are still a young team and we have to find out just exactly who we are offense." His opponent, Bill Dirrgl was fairly reticent on the sidelines and his hair doesn't appear to show any grey at all, even though the Hounds have been in three close (1 or 2 goal) games. He worried about how his players would react to the Irish and it was more of a matter of fatigue, "What concerns me most is that we are playing a lot of games on the road, and we have such a young, it concerns me how they are handling the flying, the hotel. This is the thrid time we have flown and I want to make sure that the guys pay attention to detail on the field, play hard and try to get out of here with a win." He wanted his troops to also play smart and felt the assistant coaches had done a good job in preparing the Hounds. As for their 3-0 record, Dirrgl is still suspect of those wins: "I don't know if we're as good as our record indicates. I think people get on the bus and watch the game films and wonder how did we lose to those guys. But, we are playing with our hearts and paying attention to detail and usually when that happens, good things happen." Good things did happen today to the Hounds, and afterwards many an Irish player was wondering how they lost to Loyola. Many more teams will wonder the same during the balance of the season.

This was not a game of offense. Both teams use a slow, methodical offense only turning it up in the fourth quarter and OT periods. They worked the ball around and probed for the right opportunity. However, both defenses weren't generous and turned their opponents away may times. Junior Eric Simon of the Irish is on his way for a lower team AA selection at the end of the year as is sophomore Mickey Blum. Chad Debolt, the football playing-middie for the Irish had his best game at the face, taking 11 of 16 from Hound Ryan Radonis. Debolt used a number of different moves to beat Radonis, not only relying upon his size to win a clap, but also used a rare quick back and side rake at times.

Debolt won the first face but an Irish miscue let the Hounds have the ball. Eric Simon stripped the ball but a loose ball push gave it back to the Hounds, and the Irish stripped it again. The Irish are a young team on offense, and lost six of their top seven scorers from last year. The youth will serve them well in the future, but today the offense dropped at least 7 passes, two at critical times, and the others serving to disrupt the tempo of the attack. Hound Jim Fink opened the shooting after three minutes, unleashing a laser from the right that Irish netminder Nick Antol easily looked into his stick. Two possession for each gave the ball back to the Hounds and the Loyola duo of attacker Steve Brundage and middie Mike Sullivan went to work. Sullivan had three goals and one assist on the day, while Brundage inverted his numbers with 1 goal and three assists. Brundage brought the ball behind the net, came around the right side, waited for Sullivan to appear at 2 o'clock ten feet out, and Sullivan quickly beat Antol to put the Hounds up 1-0. If the Irish had any problem on defense today, it was in the hole. Twice, they got rung up with goals from a Hound that should have been leveled.

A procedure call gave the ball to Notre Dame on the face and John Flandina, the Irish assist leader this year, took a shot from the right that initially had good mustard on it, but a Hound D-man disrupted it with a stick to Flandina's stick as it was coming down in the shot. This happened three times to Flandina and the Hounds used it successfully to take the Irish out of the offensive side of the game. The other defect in the Irish offense was that they didn't get Hounds goalie Mark Bloomquist to move much in the net. A standing goalie always looks like an All-American.

The Hounds recovered brought the ball down and John Halip, an exciting freshman attacker from Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Michigan let loose a cannon on Antol. Antol was too slow to react but relied upon his friend, the pipe, to take down the shot. Halip's shot hit the top left corner of the pipe and rebounded up past the restraining line. Take note of this kid, he's fast and sly, and played a key role today for the Hounds. The rebound went to the Hounds, and Simon stripped the ball again from them. At 6:20, Brundage scored solo to put the Hounds up 2-0 as he approached Antol, who dance a bit and Brundage put down an ankle-biter 2 foot off the goal line on Antol's right.

Debolt won the next faceoff, this time with a quick back rake to a defender who brought it down downfield. Flandina would try a spin, pass off to Chris Richez, who passed to Owen Mulford. Mulford shot and his stick was checked, resulting in a high ball that was recovered by the Irish. Travis Wells recovered for the Irish and passed off to Mulford who shot while he was falling after an uncalled trip. The Hounds recovered but couldn't get past defender Blum who stripped the ball. The Irish held the ball for the last 18 ticks to let the first quarter die, down at 2-0.

Notre Dame was called for procedure on the face. Middie Joe Case tried a behind-the-back shot that was netted by Antol, who quickly cleared the ball. Loyola was called for a thirty second hold on Devin Ryan, which looked more like a garroting than a hold, and the Irish were presented with their only man-up opportunity for the day. Flandina and Ryan set up in tandem behind the goal and passed up to Richez, who was stripped by a Hound, as he ran toward the goal and brought his stick away from his head. Rookie mistake, veteran response, "ball down". The two teams battled for possession of the ground ball, with the Hounds moving it across midfield into the Irish zone, until AJ Wright picked it up. Eric Simon brought it down for Notre Dame as Loyola went even-man and a pass was made to Travis Wells at 1 o'clock. Wells leaped for the ball, and quicksticked it toward Bloomquist but with out any accuracy, and the shot went long. Irish leading scorer Dan Berger received the ball 10 feet off the crease and went forward and was pressed into spam by a double up by Loyola, resulting in another wide shot. Berger was rankled by this pressing and took the ball again from Richez at 8:26 at the top right and let loose a laser that smoked past Bloomquist on the right to put the Irish down 2-1. Loyola won the face and brought it behind to Brundage (at his most dangerous position), who fed a streaking Sullivan. Quick shot. Loyola was up 3-1 less than a minute after Notre Dame scored. The Irish lost the face on a procedure call, recovered the ball and called time-out. The time out allowed Corrigan to set the offense up straight and it worked, as junior middie Kyle Frigon came in at 7:01 from 10 feet out, did a simple shoulder dip, and forced Bloomquist left, but put the ball in the right. 3-2. Loyola longstick Mike Stromberg cleared the ball on the next position bringing it north into the Irish zone, lost the ball and Notre Dame could not bring the ball down quick enough to take advantage of what was a self-created man-down situation. The Irish had three opportunities for fast breaks such as this and failed to capitalized on any of them. The half ended with the Irish moving on the goal, but again a slow and methodical went with 31 ticks left, one wonders why they weren't peppering Bloomquist.

The second half began with Loyola taking possession and Simon once again stripped the ball. Wright cleared it. A dropped pass resulted in a turnover to Loyola, and Simon once again stripped the ball. Both teams exchanged slow and deliberate possessions for six minutes until at 9:16 Devin Ryan, curled from up top on Loyola and came down the right side to hit the top left corner of the net to tie the game at 3-3. This was the first two goal deficit the Irish came up from in the game. At 5:04. Loyola went up 4-3 on a goal by Chris Summers off an assist by Brundage. Three minutes later at 2:32, Jim Fink scored unassisted to put the Hounds up 5-3. Fink took advantage of an unsettled situation, came down the right, and slid as he was shooting. The ball rolled toward the net, stayed for a second or two ahead of the goal line and then ever so slowly crossed, resulting in the goal call by the officiating crew. The two goal deficit again inspired the Irish, and at 1:24, Notre Dame scored to cut the lead to 5-4, and the quarter ended.

It took six minutes again for the Irish to get going, and at 9:57, Devin Ryan came down the left and passed to Frigon behind the goal at X, who quickly cradled the ball, dipped his shoulder and passed back to Ryan, who tied the score at 5-5. At 6:52, John Halip, the fast freshman, took a hard shot from the left top and finally nailed the inside corner of the net, rather than the pipe to put Loyola up 6-5. Ryan, the senior Irish Middie, showed his poise and tie the game 6-6 with as assist to Owen Asplundh at 2:34, who curled from the back right of the net and rolled one in past Bloomquist. With two minutes left, Hound Jim Fink let loose a rocket that nailed Irish longstick middie John Souch square on the head. Souch went momentarily blank and fell to the turf, causing an official time out as unfortunately, Notre Dame was chasing the rebounding ball into the Loyola zone. Souch is fine, as is his helmet. At 1:31, Notre Dame was making its move and was striped twice of the ball, killing an offensive hopes. Loyola set up after a time out and couldn't penetrate the wagons of Simon, Wright and Blum that Corrigan had circled in front of the goal. Pressure by the Irish resulted in a passing error and Notre dame recovered the ball at 0:01 and time ran out with the score tied 6-6.

Debolt won the first OT face with a side rake out to Souch. The Irish brought the ball down and set up behind the net with an attacker and three men stacked up top, waiting to break. Irish middie Owen Mulford held on to the ball too long and got stripped of the ball behind the net, and the ball falling into the crease. Loyola couldn't penetrate and John Souch stripped Halip of the ball and Flandina took it down for the Irish. He was pushed to the ground, yet called for a loose ball hold, and Loyola took the ball at 0:42. AJ Wright again stripped a Hound of the ball as the clock ran down.

Debolt won the face to begin the second overtime and tossed the bal back to Antol, who threw a long pass to the left midfield line, and it was intercepted by Hound Ray Erickson, and he created an unsettled situation for the Irish. They held off the Hounds - initially. Loyola changed lines at 2:46, and a low ground ball by Brundage was stuffed by Antol who came out of the crease on his right to do so. Unfortunately, the ball rebounded out of his stick, and the rebound was picked up Sullivan, who notched his third and final goal of the game to end it 7-6. His shot hit the top left of the net, narrowly missing an Irish longstick trying to cover for Antol.

Dirrgl was frank in his comments at the end of the game, "Notre Dame's a good team and we're not great. We didn't have a full week of preparation with the flu going around and guys not practicing because of it, but it all came together. I was worried after win against Duke last week that we might not be up. I don't want to say we are lucky, but we're fortunate to come out of here with a win today." His strategy at the end was to get the ball to their best players, and the 8-point duo of Brundage and Sullivan were exactly the go-to guys for the Hounds today. "We were lucky to get a ride at the end, but we rode them very well today, and at the end, we ended getting a riding goal to win the game. It really wasn't our offense, it was more or less our riding and getting the ball to the right people." Loyola meets Sacred Heart on Wednesday while Notre Dame awaits Hofstra next week in Indiana.

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respect for sullivan
    by (#24353) on 3/19/02 @12:37PM
everyone talks about players like mike powell and conor gill. mike sullivan is just as good. he is the heart of the #2 team in the country and he is playing on 2 knees that have no ligaments left in them at all. give credit where credit it due
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Bryan England
    by (#24162) on 3/19/02 @7:00PM
I think Bryan England is the best player in D1. He is #1
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Sullivan is good but...
    by (#22975) on 3/20/02 @8:44AM
I agree that Sulivan is a good player, but I wouldn't start ranking him up as one of the absolute best.

Loyola is a great team because they work well as a team. Their offense involves every player and thats what makes them hard to defend and makes them effective scorers.

Sullivan is good, and he is scoring despite his injuries, but he just plays a part in the offense. Who's to say he is any better than any other player, say Fink, or anyone else? Props to his performance, but Loyola is badass because of their team, not their individual players.
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Ryan Fisher
    by (#22795) on 3/20/02 @1:41PM
You Suck want some milk! Purple Panties! Way to go Bloomy, stand tall!
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Dan Berger...........
    by (#15026) on 3/21/02 @12:52PM
has breasts.
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    by (#25277) on 3/27/02 @9:03PM
Gotta say that i am getting a little sick of seeing cuse and princeton take it home every year. gotta love cuse, like everyone else that knows anything about the way the game should be played. but i gotta say that i wouldnt mind seeing Loyola and Towson start turning the tide a bit. as much as i'd like to shit on something here i cant really. but bar none the best player in D1 can get forgotten real quick unless he wins on Monday. praise all the individuals you want, talk up your boys, fact is if there the players you say, there just out to win games as a team. Towson last year? that was a team, Loyola and the Irish are in the same mold. bout time we had some new faces.
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