TOWSON — Saturday's matchup between Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference rivals Severn and Loyola had promise of being a tight-fought battle between two evenly matched squads.
Severn was coming off an emotional week that started with a win over Boys' Latin and ended in a disappointing defeat to cross-town nemesis St. Mary's.
The Dons, on the other hand, started the week on an up note defeating St. Mary's, but were later turned away by Boys' Latin, leading one to believe that Saturday's contest would surely deliver some excitement.
Unfortunately, it didn't.
The Dons jumped out to an 8-1 lead after only one quarter, en route to a 17-8 win over the Admirals.
Loyola (4-1) dominated the Admirals in every facet of the game, but it was the faceoffs, especially in the first half, that led to Severn's demise.
The hosts controlled 15 of 16 first-half faceoffs, reducing Severn's attack to a non-factor and allowing the Dons to breathe an early sigh of relief as they headed to the locker room with acozy 11-2 lead at halftime.
"You can't lose as many faceoffs as we did to a good team like this and expect to do anything," said Severn interim coach Pete Trau. "We just have to start winning more faceoffs, that's all there is to it."
Loyola coach Joe McFadden was pleased with the way his team came out of the blocks and attributed his team's explosive start not to the power of the pen, but to the power of the chalk.
"Before the game, we put a message on the blackboard to the players reminding them that in our first four games this year,we were outscored, 7-4, in the first period," said McFadden, standing on the soggy turf at Hargaden Field. "I think they got the message.They came out ready to play and put together our best quarter of theseason."
The Dons opened the game with six unanswered goals that pleased the home crowd and forced Trau to utilize both of his allotted first-half timeouts.
Senior midfielder Spencer Reckner got the Admirals on the board 2 minutes, 19 seconds before the end of the first quarter on an unassisted shot that found its way past Loyola keeperPaul Speargas. Trau's pep talk to his troops apparently wore off, asthe Dons tallied two more goals in the waning seconds of the period.
Loyola picked up where it left off in the second quarter netting three goals, but more painful for Severn was the fact that the Dons maintained almost constant possession of the ball.
Severn managed to scrounge out a second goal before the half's end, when junior attackman Jason Wade found the net on an assist from senior Matt Long withjust four seconds remaining.
The Admirals (12-4, 1-4) came out strong in the third quarter, tallying three goals and cutting the Loyola lead to seven goals, 12-5. Providing the scoring for Severn were Wade, Long and junior Todd Muendel.
Wade scored his third and fourthgoals of the game in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Wadeshoveled in his first goal of the period and found the net again 15 seconds later on a feed from Milford Marchant.
A Mike Gately-led Loyola team answered with four goals to put away the Admirals for good. Gately finished as the game's leading scorer with fives goals and two assists, followed by Wade with four goals and an assist.
Severngoalie Court Durling had a busier day than he would liked to have had as he faced 41 shots on goal. The junior goalkeeper finished the day with 15 saves and was one of the few Admirals praised by their coach.
"I couldn't blame Court for any of the goals," said Trau. "Our close defense was asleep, our midfield was asleep and our attack never had the ball.