No. 1 St. Paul's winning streak hits 26 barely Crusaders hold off No. 3 Loyola, 9-8 Boys lacrosse

April 08, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

After 26 straight victories, the pressure is rising for St. Paul's, the top-ranked, two-time defending Maryland Scholastic Association boys lacrosse champion.

"Being No. 1 for so long, everyone wants to beat us," said coach Mitch Whiteley, standing on the Crusaders' field moments after escaping with a 9-8 decision over third-ranked A Conference rival Loyola (3-2, 2-2).

The win was the Crusaders' (5-0, 4-0) fourth over a ranked opponent, having edged No. 2 Gilman, 8-7, in a double-overtime season opener, No. 15 Severn and No. 14 Fallston.

"It's a challenge no matter who we play," said Whiteley, whose squad trailed 6-5 against Loyola in the second period.

Yesterday's game was especially tough for sophomore attackman Tucker Radebaugh.

The Loyola transfer had two goals and three assists against his former teammates, whose previous loss came by 7-5 to Gilman.

Radebaugh found All-Metro teammate Michael Watson (four goals) for the Crusaders' final two goals, the last of which gave St. Paul's a 9-7 cushion with 3:50 remaining.

Loyola's John Cusson (14 goals, nine assists) scored the Dons' final goal -- his third of the game -- with nine seconds left.

But the time elapsed after St. Paul's midfielder Ben Strutt -- whose assist on a Jamie Pollock goal tied the game at 6 -- fired the ensuing faceoff deep into Crusaders territory.

"There was a lot of talk on the field and I wanted to get the team going," said Radebaugh, who has seven goals and 20 assists this year.

Watson, who has 126 career goals and 49 assists, expressed confidence in Radebaugh's control under fire.

"He was really fired up and I knew he'd perform well," said Watson. "He wanted to show his friends on their team that he made the right choice."

St. Paul's had an advantage in shots (30-26), faceoffs (15-5) and ground balls (38-25), but had trouble with passing and catching.

"We just dropped the ball too many times," said Watson. "Loyola moved the ball well and got into position for close shots."

Defenders Dave Daniecki and Carl Zeller and keeper Greg Zorella (21 saves) anchored the Dons, who outscored the Crusaders 5-1 after trailing 4-1 early in the first period.

Scott Diggs had made it 4-2, before Cusson scored twice to tie the game for the second of four times on assists from Mike Keeney and Daniecki.

Watson put the Crusaders up 5-4 at the 8:15 mark, but All-America midfielder Bill Evans scored the equalizer.

Brian Zeller's first of two goals gave Loyola its only lead, 6-5, with 2:15 left in the half.

"When we had our full team on the field, we could stop them," said Daniecki. "They kept scoring on their man-down, fast-break and unsettled situations."

The Crusaders capitalized on three of the six extra-man penalties against the Dons, who converted just once in five extra-man situations.

"We fouled them too many times unnecessarily, far away from the goal," said Loyola coach Joe McFadden. "You can't give their team that many opportunities."

St. Paul's led 1-0 just 1:49 into the game on midfielder Brad Read's unassisted goal. Loyola's Paul Cortos tied the game with 6:31 left in the period before the Crusaders went up

4-1 with a brilliant passing attack over the next 1:27.

TC A Watson-to-Radebaugh-to-Unitas relay made it 2-1, with Unitas

scoring to the left of Zorella from point-blank range. Radebaugh made it 3-1 on a feed from Steve Karvounis, and Watson scored unassisted.

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