Behind six-goals from senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell, including the game-winner, Loyola squeaked by Navy 8-7 in OT.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE
MacDonnell's OT Goal Lifts Men's Lacrosse Past Navy
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Loyola University Maryland's Cooper MacDonnell scored his career-high sixth goal of the game with nine seconds left in the first overtime period, lifting the No. 15 Greyhounds to an 8-7 victory over No. 11 Navy on Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
MacDonnell's six goals eclipsed his previous best of five set last season against Syracuse and Georgetown. He also had an assist to finish with a career-high seven points.
"This was a big win for our team and for our program," Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "I am extremely proud of our guys for playing hard against a physical, though Navy team. I am very proud of the way that we battled for 60 minutes plus today."
Navy (1-1) won the first faceoff in overtime, but an errant pass led to a turnover, and Steve Layne picked up the ground ball for Loyola.
Taylor Ebsary appeared to get free in front of the crease on the ensuing possession, but he was checked as he shot, and the attempt went high of the goal. A turnover ended Loyola's possession, leading to a transition opportunity.
Ryan O'Leary came open on the left side of the goal for the Midshipmen, but Greyhounds goalkeeper Jake Hagelin made a point-blank save on O'Leary's shot, prolonging the game.
Hagelin picked up the ground ball, and Loyola cleared the ball successfully to its offensive end.
MacDonnell, the Preseason ECAC Player of the Year, drew a long-pole defender and curled around the right side of the crease, drilling the game-winning goal past Navy's R.J. Wickham.
Loyola (1-0) led 6-3 in the third quarter, but Navy scored three unanswered to tie the game at 6-6 on an unassisted Andy Warner goal with 12:41 remaining.
Collin Finnerty threaded a pass from behind the cage to MacDonnell who ripped a hard shot from right to left, giving the Greyhounds a 7-6 advantage with 9:14 left in regulation.
Navy, however, rallied again, knotting the score at 7-7 as Joe Lennon came out of a scrum with the ball and assisted on a Patrick Moran goal with 3:03 to play.
The Midshipmen won the ensuing faceoff and wound nearly a minute off the clock before shooting. Hagelin denied a Nikk Davis shot and then turned away an attempt by Tim Paul, registering his first two saves of the game.
"Jake saved his saves for the most important shots of the game," Toomey said. "He did a great job of composing us, and then he stepped up when he had to and made the stops."
The teams traded turnovers on each of their next possessions, and Loyola had the ball on offense as Toomey called a timeout with 42 ticks left on the fourth-quarter clock.
MacDonnell took a shot from the right side with 11 seconds left, missing high, but Stephen Murray picked up the ground ball. Murray wrapped around the left side of the crease only to have his shot with six seconds remaining blocked, forcing overtime.
Navy went ahead 1-0 less than three minutes into the game as Brendan Connors scored off a Warner assist.
After that, however, MacDonnell went to work. The senior scored the next three goals -- the first two on Matt Langan assists and the third unassisted -- to post a 3-1 lead for Loyola with 4:04 left in the first half.
Paul scored for Navy, making it a one-goal Loyola lead. Eric Lusby struck back for the Greyhounds, scoring on a MacDonnell assist for a extra-man goal with 1:23 before the break. Moran, however, pulled Navy back within one, 4-3, 23 seconds before halftime.
MacDonnell scored the first goal of the second half on a Murray assist, and Davis Butts recorded his first collegiate goal with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter, giving Loyola a 6-3 lead, its largest of the game.
Warner scored twice, wrapped around a Moran man-up tally, to knot the game at six.
Loyola outshot Navy, 44-21, but Wickham made 19 saves for the Midshipmen. The Greyhounds also had a 33-31 advantage in ground balls, while the Navy committed 24 turnovers to Loyola's 14.
Langan led Loyola with six ground balls, while Josh Hawkins, Layne, Lusby and MacDonnell each picked up three.
Loyola's win snapped a five-game losing streak in season-openers.
The Greyhounds return to action on Saturday, February 27, when they travel to Hamden, Conn., for a 1 p.m. game against Quinnipiac, the ECAC opener for both teams.