A Duke lacrosse team that had been scaring highly rate opponents all season finally claimed a big one as a victim.
The Blue Devils (5-4) rallied from an 8-4 second-quarter deficit to topple No. 6 Loyola College, 11-10, on two fourth-quarter goals from Greg Schmalz at rainy Curley Field. The loss for the Greyhounds (5-3) was the second in the past three weeks on their home field and puts Loyola deeply in trouble in its hopes for a NCAA tournament spot. Only a miraculous comeback against Towson State last Saturday prevented Loyola from losing all three home games.
"It's the biggest win Duke has had in a number of years, probably going back to the Virginia game of 1987," said Duke's first-year coach Mike Pressler. "We've been battling back all year, but in this one we came all the way back."
Duke, which had lost by four goals to Virginia, two to Maryland and one to Navy earlier this season, scored five straight goals, while holding Loyola scoreless for over 25 minutes in the middle of the game, to take a 9-8 lead after three quarters.
"When it was 8-4 we didn't hang our heads," Pressler said. "Early in the game Loyola's attack was beating us off the dodge, but we made adjustments. And then [goalie] Carter [Hertzberg] made some saves and that ignited us a little."
Hertzberg, a sophomore from Landon School in Bethesda, finished with 16 saves, including a point-blank stop against Loyola's Gary Miller with just two seconds remaining.
"I was lucky that I got a piece of [the shot] and lucky that it deflected off the pipe," said Hertzberg. "But the rest is history. We've been coming close to a big upset all season, we were as hungry as hell. It feels great."
After Paul Cantabene tied the game for Loyola in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Duke's Schmalz (three goals) scored two unassisted goals, giving the Blue Devils the lead for good three minutes into the final quarter and added the game-deciding goal with less than four minutes to play.
Trailing 11-9 with time running out, Loyola, which had been playing without starting goalie Tim Dunnigan (shoulder sprain), lifted freshman goalie Andrew Manos and inserted junior midfielder Kevin Anderson in the goal.
Cantabene scored his second goal of the last quarter to make the count 11-10, and Anderson made a big save, keeping Loyola within range. But Hertzberg made the biggest save of the day against Miller to preserve the win.
Miller and Chris Colbeck each scored three goals for Loyola, but leading scorer Kevin Beach was shutout by Blue Devil defender Joe Sileto. And the Loyola passing game was shut down by the Duke defense, which limited Loyola to just two assists and forced numerous errors.