Moments after Loyola College had rocked the University o Maryland Baltimore County, 17-6, yesterday, Loyola coach Dave Cottle had a warning for the rest of the college lacrosse world: "We're not ready to concede 1991 yet. This is where our memories start."
A lot of people have tried to figure out where things have gone wrong this season for the eighth-ranked Greyhounds (6-3), who were preseason choices by many to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship.
Don't bother, was the word from Cottle yesterday.
"Our season started today," he said. "We came here [UMBC] thinking like we have seven games to win the NCAA championship. Now we have six -- the last two regular-season games and four in the playoffs."
Cottle believes Loyola must win its final two games, against Delaware and C.W. Post, to make it to the 12-team NCAA tournament.
UMBC coach Dick Watts disagreed yesterday after watching a nearly flawless Greyhounds team pick apart his Retrievers (7-5).
"Loyola is in the tournament no matter what happens in the last two games," he said. "Who else would they take and leave Loyola out? They're an extremely talented team and do all the fundamental things it takes to win."
Loyola was so efficient in the first quarter yesterday that it was almost scary.
Junior attackman Jim Blanding scored twice in the first 2 minutes, 40 seconds, and the Greyhounds went on to a 5-0 lead only 5:56 into the first quarter.
With senior midfielder Steve Vaikness coming up with nearly every faceoff, Loyola had the ball most of the first half. The lead grew to 8-0 at the end of the first quarter (a school record for goals in a quarter) and 14-0 at halftime.
"I think our kids were a little nervous and hesitant because of Loyola's reputation," Watts said. "At halftime, I let them know we weren't playing with any determination or aggressiveness."
The Retrievers collected themselves after Loyola's lead had grown to 16-0 in the third quarter. They scored six straight goals before Todd Sloper closed out the scoring for the Greyhounds.
Cottle said: "We played as well as we could in the first quarter and a half. We only had two turnovers in the first quarter, but we're still not where we want to be. No one can accuse us of peaking too soon."
Cottle said he wasn't among those people ranking Loyola No. 1 in the preseason polls.
"I was ranking us eighth while others were picking us No. 1," he said. "We have little margin for error in our team. We usually don't get rewarded for playing good defense, and some people believe goalkeeping is our Achilles' heel. But I don't agree with them."
Loyola 8 6 2 1 -- 17
UMBC 0 0 1 5 -- 6
Goals: L--Blanding 4, Miller 2, K. Beach 2, Colbeck 2, Sloper 2, Haas, Smith, Radebaugh, Burnam, Keller; UMBC--Marohl 2, Smith, Arthur, Duncan, Stewart Walker. Assists: L--Colbeck 2, Nugent 2, Blanding 2, K. Beach, Sloper, Smith, Cantabene, Vaikness; UMBC--Marohl, Stecher, Sam Walker. Saves: L--Anderson 4, Dunnigan 9; UMBC--Bailey 17, Antonopoulos 1. Shots: L 49; UMBC 29. Penalties: L 8; UMBC 6. Faceoffs: L 20; UMBC 8. Extra-man Goals: L 3, UMBC 0.