DURHAM, N.C. -- Following a 10-5 loss at Duke yesterday, Loyola lacrosse players have to be wondering: "What are we doing wrong?"
The Greyhounds, ranked fourth in the nation, have lost three straight after starting the season at 6-0. They have scored only 19 goals in those losses, after averaging more than 15 goals a game when they were winning.
Loyola coach Dave Cottle thinks he knows what the problem is, but he's not sure he can do anything about it.
"I'm discouraged by the lack of fight in our players," Cottle said. "We work hard in practice, but come game time, we just don't have what it takes. We need more desire. We need more fight from our players."
For the 15th-ranked Blue Devils (4-4), defeating Loyola was worth a shower from a Gatorade cooler for second-year coach Mike Pressler.
"Our backs were against the wall," Pressler said. "We needed a big win to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. We had to play our best. I'm not saying we're in the tournament yet, but we're back in the hunt."
Duke did it with defense. After missing two weeks with an ankle injury, junior goalkeeper Carter Hertzberg led the effort with 22 saves.
Duke led 4-1 at halftime and 8-2 late in the third quarter.
"We simply were out-hustled," Cottle said. "I see three things that have happened to us these three games. One, we're not recognizing situations properly. Two, we haven't shot the ball well. And three, some guys are trying too hard. They're just pressing too much."
Loyola outshot Duke 39-28, but they were not good shots. Duke took the Greyhounds out of their game.
"The last thing I said to my team before this game was, 'We have to defend Loyola,' " Pressler said.
Attackman Joe Matassa and midfielder Gregg Schmaltz led the Duke offense with three goals apiece. Midfielder Gary Miller had two goals for Loyola, while attackman Kevin Beach had a goal and two assists.
Loyola had not lost three straight games in a single season since 1978.