Seniors Jim Blanding and Gary Miller each scored four goals in limited action to lead host Loyola College to a 19-7 victory over Nazareth College in the opening game of the Loyola Fall Lacrosse Classic at Curley Field yesterday.
The Greyhounds will play Syracuse, which defeated Navy, 14-7, in the second game, for the championship at 3 p.m. today. The consolation game will begin at noon.
It took an early offensive run by Division III semifinalist Nazareth // to get Loyola on track in the opener. Falling behind, 3-2, midway in the first quarter as the Golden Flyers scored three times in a four-minute span, the Greyhounds soon assumed control.
Miller fired in a 15-yard liner to even the score at 3-3, and less than a minute later Kevin Beach (two goals and an assist) put Loyola ahead to stay. Beach's goal came after a pass from freshman defender Stan Ross (Boys' Latin), who had intercepted a clearing pass near midfield.
Loyola increased the lead to 6-3 before the end of the first quarter, scoring a pair of goals in a six-second spurt. Gene Ubriaco scored on an extra-man play after Miller had chased down a loose ball near the sideline. Then Tom Welsch controlled the next faceoff and fed Blanding for the quick score and a three-goal lead.
Nazareth opened the second-quarter scoring on an unassisted goal by Carl Jutzin, but Loyola's offense then went on a nine-goal streak, while Nazareth went scoreless for 24 minutes. Midfielder Bob Curry scored into an open net with a shot from near midfield, and then sophomore attackman Pat Ervin fed both Mark Nugent and Derek Radebaugh to build a 10-4 halftime bulge.
Loyola scored the first five goals of the second half, completing the nine-goal Greyhound run, and reserves saw most of the action after that.
"I don't think it was anything that we were doing wrong," Loyola coach Dave Cottle said of the early Nazareth lead. "It was more that they were doing something right."
But Cottle was satisfied with his team's overall effort and was especially pleased with the work of his two starting freshman defensemen, Ross and Jason Foley (Yorktown), and his two goalies, senior Tim Dunnigan and freshman Tim McGeeney (North County), who combined for 12 saves. "The goaltending was fine and we did a good job of riding," Cottle said.
In the second game, Syracuse rushed out to 4-0 lead over the Midshipmen in the first six minutes of the game and that was a key factor in the win, according to head coach Roy Simmons.
"We have several freshmen that we wanted to see, and the early lead allowed us to play our style game," Simmons said. "Against a team like Navy you can't allow them to play their game."
The Midshipmen rallied in the second quarter, cutting what was a 5-0 deficit to 6-4 with just over four minutes left in the half. But the high-powered Syracuse offense answered that run with a four-goal spurt in 1 minute, 22 seconds to build a 10-4 halftime lead.
Some brilliant goaltending by Navy junior Michael Groth, who recorded 16 second-half saves, kept the score respectable in the second half, but Navy never got closer than five goals.
Syracuse got three goals each from Matt Riter and Charlie Lockwood and two goals and an assist from Tom Marachek. Plebe Charles Bertrand scored twice to lead Navy and junior Matt Pawlikowski had a goal and an assist.
The championship matchup is the same as the 1990 NCAA championship game, won by Syracuse, 21-9.
"It should be a great game, between two evenly matched teams," said Simmons. "I don't think we're as strong now as we'll be in the spring, but we're strong enough to give Loyola a run."