Loyola defenseman Chris Ginter spoke with conviction:
"This was the turn-around. We won't lose again."
Ginter, a junior, saved the day and perhaps the lacrosse season for the Dons yesterday, diving headlong in front of an empty goal to stop a St. Mary's shot with three seconds remaining. That slick move preserved Loyola's 4-3 victory and halted a two-game skid.
"There was no way we were going to lose three in a row," said Ginter. "I saw Jason [goalie Jason Johnson] move out of the cage and knew I had to cover for him. Then I saw the shot coming. I'm glad I was able to get there in time."
The victory gave the Dons (7-3) the MSA A Conference Division I title. The Saints also ended the regular season at 7-3, but Loyola secured first place and the No. 1 seed for next week's MSA tournament because of the head-to-head tie-breaker rule. Loyola also had defeated St. Mary's previously, 11-10, in overtime.
Loyola will play host to St. Paul's next Tuesday (3:45) in the tournament semifinals. St. Paul's (6-4) stopped Calvert Hall (5-5) yesterday, 9-4, to secure second place in Division II.
Boys' Latin (8-2) had clinched the Division II title even before downing Severn yesterday, 9-4. The Lakers will entertain St. Mary's in the other tournament semifinal next Tuesday (3:45).
The week-long respite may help Loyola more than the other semifinalists. The Dons have been without attackman Mike Gately, nursing a pulled hamstring.
The Dons' Mike Boyle drew praise from coach Joe McFadden for helping fill in for Gately yesterday. Boyle, normally a midfielder, scored the game-winner yesterday with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Ginter and his backline mates, Dan Radebaugh and Shaun McKenzie took over from there with help from defensive-minded midfielders Colin Brune and Brian Doyle.
But it was Ginter who stood out, marking St. Mary's All-Metro midfielder David Jones.
"Jones ate us up the first time," said Ginter. "This time, I just sat on his left and forced him to go the other way."
Jones did manage two goals, but couldn't pull the trigger down the stretch, and Doyle shut down the Saints' Ryan Kelly.
The hero in defeat for St. Mary's was goalie Chris Brown, who stopped 15 of 20 shots.
In girls lacrosse yesterday, Loch Raven won the Baltimore County championship, outlasting Dulaney, 19-16, in overtime.