No. 1 Loyola running foes into ground

Priority on conditioning key to Greyhounds' success

April 30, 1999|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUNSTAFF

Perhaps top-ranked Loyola should consider changing its nickname from Greyhounds to Reservoir Dogs.

Every Monday before practice, Loyola players must run a half-mile lap around the nearby reservoir under 2 minutes, 30 seconds three times. This first-year conditioning exercise is what many coaches and players believe has made the Greyhounds the best fourth-quarter team in the nation.

Loyola has outscored its 10 opponents, 29-8, shutting them out four times. No team has registered more than two goals on the Greyhounds in the final period all season.

"I think we're in a lot better shape than most teams," attackman Gewas Schindler said. "We just wear down teams."

The Greyhounds (10-0) look to finish the end of their season strong as well, aiming for just their second perfect regular season in school history. With a win over Hobart tomorrow, Loyola would record its first 11-0 start.

Lions' struggle

Exams might start next week for players on No. 11 Penn State, but the Nittany Lions' biggest test comes tomorrow. Penn State (8-3), seemingly a bubble team for the past decade, could secure its first NCAA tournament bid in school history with a win to close out the regular season at No. 4 Duke.

The Nittany Lions have lost all four meetings with the Blue Devils, including a 10-6 setback last year.

With the top eight seeds nearly locked up, the Nittany Lions are battling Hofstra, Maryland and UMBC at this point for one of the final three spots. In head-to-head matchups, Penn State has beaten UMBC and lost to Maryland.

Look out for Tigers

If three straight national championships weren't enough warning, teams should be wary of No. 8 Princeton.

The Tigers leapt from a possible fringe team for the NCAA tournament to one of the top eight seeds with a quadruple-overtime win at Syracuse on Sunday. Princeton (7-3), which has won seven games in a row, is now 35-0 in April and May since the start of the 1996 season.

And favorable signs have been turning up for the Tigers as the tournament approaches.

Four-year starting defenseman Kurt Lunkenheimer returned to the lineup last weekend after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament 42 days ago and played the final 51 minutes against the Orangemen. Then scan a couple weeks ahead to the NCAA tournament quarterfinal round, where one of the top four seeds may have to face the Tigers at Princeton Stadium, a predetermined site along with Hofstra.

Going out with bang

Mount St. Mary's has a chance to deliver a parting blow to Fairfield tomorrow.

The Mountaineers (9-5), whose losses included defeats to UMBC, Delaware and Navy, could clinch their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title with a victory over the three-time defending league champion Stags. Fairfield, which could move into a share of the championship by beating the Mount, is in its final season in the MAAC because it will expand its scholarship pool above the league limit.

Stat of the week

Top-ranked Loyola has outscored opponents in the fourth quarter, 29-8, and has blanked four of its 10 opponents in the final period. In fact, opponents have only converted 10 percent of their shots in the fourth against the Greyhounds. A look at the game-by-game breakdown of the goals and shots by Loyola and its opponents in the fourth quarter:

...................................Opp.................... Loy.

Opponent...................G-Sh..................G-Sh

Hofstra........................0-9...................... 3-8

Hopkins.......................1-9...................... 3-8

Fairfield.......................1-7.................... 3-12

Notre Dame................ 1-6......................1-6

Brown....................... 0-13.................... 3-17

Towson..................... 1-10.................... 6-14

Syracuse................... 2-11..................... 2-7

Massachusetts............ 0-2..................... 3-7

Butler ..........................0-4.................... 4-12

Delaware................... 2-10...................... 1-9

Totals........................ 8-81................ 29-100

Pub Date: 4/30/99

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