The Massachusetts Minutemen came to town hoping to take advantage of "a third-string goalie" for Loyola College, and they left town muttering to themselves and ousted from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I lacrosse tournament in the first round.
"We heard they had a third-string goalie, so we went right after him," said UMass senior midfielder James Kushner. "We thought we could exploit him [sophomore Kevin Anderson], but we kept hitting him with our shots. We wound up shooting the ball right at him most of the day."
The result was a 20-9 romp for Loyola over Massachusetts in a game that was supposed to be much closer than that, according to the NCAA lacrosse committee, which had the Greyhounds seeded eighth and the Minutemen ninth.
But the crowd of 1,082 at Curley Field barely had to raise its collective voice yesterday to cheer for Loyola.
The game was never much in doubt after the first four minutes of the second quarter, when Loyola (9-3) bolted to a 8-2 lead with six straight goals in a nine-minute stretch.
Loyola advances to the quarterfinals Sunday, meeting top-seeded North Carolina at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.
It was the Jim Blanding and Gary Miller show on offense in the early going, and Anderson was more than taking care of things in the net.
Blanding scored the first four goals for Loyola and Miller tossed in the seventh and eighth goals for the runaway Greyhounds.
Anderson, a converted midfielder who went on to win the goalkeeping job from junior Tim Dunnigan and freshman Andrew Manos with three games left in the regular season, shut UMass (9-4) down time after time in the early going when the visitors desperately needed a goal to stay in the game.
Anderson finished with 15 saves and improved his record to 4-0 this season.
Adding to the Anderson saga is that he didn't even join the team until after the season had started and he hadn't played in the goal since 1988 at Loyola High School.
When Loyola opened its lacrosse season against Rutgers on March 2, Anderson was preparing to start at small forward for the Greyhounds basketball team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
However, Loyola coach Dave Cottle turned to Anderson after Duke had upset the Greyhounds, 11-10, dropping the team to a 5-3 record.
Anderson said: "I didn't feel any pressure out there. I know what the other teams are thinking, but it doesn't bother me. The defense is playing better than it did early in the year and that is making me look better."
Blanding threw his game into cruise control after the early scoring spree and wound up with five goals and one assist.
Kevin Beach had four goals, Miller three goals and Chris Colbeck two goals and two assists.
Cottle said: "We played a lot of midfields and hustled for 60 minutes. I think one of the keys was when No. 2 [starting UMass defender Richard Mullins] got hurt. Jimmy [Blanding] went wild on the new guy [sophomore defender James Panetta]."
Mullins, an All-America defender last season, suffered a strained right knee at 7:31 of the first quarter when he tried to stop Blanding, who scored an unassisted goal for a 2-1 lead.
Mullins never returned to action and the already-suspect UMass defense was in over its head in the 90-degree heat.
It looked as if the Minutemen wore down badly in the heat, but UMass coach Ted Garber said, "No way.
"We were ready for the heat. It was hotter in practice last night [Tuesday]. Loyola out-hustled us for the ground balls, and we squandered a lot of shot opportunities."
Massachusetts.. .. 2.. 3.. 2.. 2 -- 9
Loyola .. .. .. .. 4.. 8.. 2.. 6 -- 20
Goals: M--Gueadlianone 2, Senatore, H.O'Callaghan, Kushner, Schlits, Millon, Cain, Begien; L--Blanding 5, K.Beach 4, Miller 3, Colbeck 2, Smith, Haas, J.Beach, Ervin, Udo, Sloper. Assists: M--McAleavey 2, Cain, Millon, H.O'Callaghan; L--Radebaugh 3, Colbeck 2, Blanding, J.Nagle, Sloper, Ervin. Saves: M--Kellerman 24; L--Anderson 15, Dunnigan 0.