Towson State attackman Don Connolly scored the game's last two goals, including the game winner with 1:57 left in the four-minute overtime period, as No. 4 Towson defeated No. 2 Loyola, 8-7, last night at Minnegan Stadium before 4,950.
Connolly's last goal finished a great comeback for Towson, which trailed 7-4 with 11:16 to go. The victory kept Towson (5-0) the only unbeaten team in The Baltimore Sun top 10. Loyola dropped to 6-2 and has lost its past two games. It's the first time Loyola has lost two straight games since 1986, and the loss broke a four-game winning streak over Towson.
"Those were the two biggest goals of my college career," said Connolly, a senior who has been the Tigers' top reserve on attack the past two years. "After the last one, all I could think of was respect. I haven't played much here, so I wanted to get some respect. On that last goal in regulation I knew there wasn't much time left, so someone had to do something big. I said, 'Why not me?' "
"Connolly didn't start for us, but he played a great game and we're going to have to give him more consideration now," said Towson coach Carl Runk.
Another key player was Towson senior attackman John Blatchley, who played despite bruised ribs. Blatchley gave Connolly a perfect feed on the crease, and after a series of high fakes, Connolly beat Loyola goalkeeper Tim McGeeney on a low shot.
Connolly sent the game into overtime off a fast break, as Towson defender Rich Regan gave Connolly a perfect clear on the crease. Connolly then rolled past a Loyola defender for for an easy goal with 1:27 left in regulation.
Loyola coach Dave Cottle gave Towson credit.
"It was a great game, and Towson did what they had to do to win," said Cottle. "They were great finishers, and we were not."
Loyola seemed to control the game when Greyhounds attackman Kevin Jedlicka scored with 11:16 left to put Loyola ahead 7-4.
But Towson's rally started with a goal by midfielder Tim Speers with 8:23 left. Towson midfielder Lindsay Dixon then scored with 4:36 left to cut Loyola's lead to 7-6, setting up Connolly's tying goal in regulation.
Loyola's cold finish was similar to its sluggish start. Towson controlled every phase of the game in the first period, but still trailed the Greyhounds 2-1 at the end of the quarter.
The Tigers outshot Loyola 9-5 in the quarter, as the Greyhounds had only three shots in the first 12:10 of the game. Towson took a 1-0 lead when attackman Joe Genovese took a pass from fellow attackman Steve Carcaterra just outside the crease and scored with 10:25 left in the period.
But Loyola, after a dissatisfied Cottle called timeout, scored on a 20-foot shot from the left of the crease by midfielder Gary Miller with nine minutes remaining in the period.
Todd Sloper scored on a 25-foot shot with 20 seconds remaining to put Loyola ahead 2-1.
Loyola seemed to step up the tempo in the second period, but neither team dominated. Towson took eight shots and Loyola 11. Towson failed to capitalize on two extra-man opportunities and Loyola failed on one.
Loyola went ahead 3-1 when attackman Kevin Beach found midfielder Dan Burnam cutting outside the crease for a goal with 9:11 left in the half.
Towson pulled within one when Blatchley, dodging one Greyhound outside the crease, scored off a fast break with 2:31 remaining in the second quarter.
Loyola started out fast in the third period, as Greyhounds midfielder Mark Nugent, assisted by Derek Radebaugh, scored at the 1:52 mark for a 4-2 Loyola lead.
OC But Towson refused to quit, this time answering with two goals.