Syracuse crushes Greyhounds' run

Loyola's perfect season ends in 17-12 defeat

May 24, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Loyola men's lacrosse team hoped a victory over Syracuse would create a new distinction for the program. A loss, nevertheless, accomplished the same result.

A year after registering the worst margin of defeat for a top seed, the Greyhounds became the first No. 1 seed to exit in the quarterfinals in the 29-year history of the Division I tournament, slipping to the No. 8 Orangemen, 17-12, on the rain-soaked grass of Princeton Stadium yesterday.

Loyola's perfect season collapsed with a series of uncharacteristic flaws before a crowd of 6,526, the team's largest audience of the season. The Greyhounds' defense, the stingiest in the nation, cracked for the first time this year under relentless pressure, allowing the most goals since Maryland racked up 19 in Loyola's last playoff appearance.

Syracuse was, well, Syracuse. The Orangemen (10-4) logged in another successful quarterfinal effort, pulling away with a 5-1 second-half run to advance to an unprecedented 17th consecutive Final Four, where they will collide with Georgetown.

"It's the playoffs and it's the end of it," defenseman Tim O'Hara said. "The clock starts ticking down and you start to think about all of the season. It's a tough pill to swallow."

Try to digest these statistics.

The Greyhounds (12-1) failed to clear the ball just twice in the first half, and Syracuse rapidly cashed those easy chances into goals both times. Loyola attempted no shots on two extra-man opportunities for the game and played a man down for five minutes. Loyola lost 16 of the first 23 faceoffs and, consequently, fired 15 less shots.

Whenever the Greyhounds tripped, the Orangemen shoved them down further.

As the game closed, the unachieved expectations splashed across all of the Loyola players' actions.

Midfielder Peter Haas slammed his stick into the turf after throwing a misguided fourth-quarter pass. Goalkeeper Jim Brown slouched, counting the blades of grass during one of his brief breathers.

And there was coach Dave Cottle, who consoled his team during its last timeout with 1 1/2 minutes remaining. He then stood quietly with his arms crossed and could only reminiscence about Loyola's 4-1 first-quarter lead.

"Today we had the opportunity to do what we needed to do, and we didn't do it," said Cottle, whose Greyhounds had won 24 of 25 coming into yesterday's quarterfinal, with their only loss during that stretch coming to Maryland in last year's national semifinals. "Sheez, we lost once this year. Unfortunately, we lost at the wrong time. I'm going to have nothing but pleasant memories about these kids, that's for sure."

It all seemed pleasant until the third quarter.

After a fast-break goal by Loyola's Tim Goettelmann tied the score at 8, the Greyhounds were forced to play defense for the next two minutes. By the time Loyola returned to offense, Syracuse had already climbed ahead, 10-8, with 8: 15 left in the third on unassisted goals by Matt Cutia and Chris Cordisco.

The Greyhounds, who received possession only because of a Syracuse conduct foul after Cordisco's goal, lunged back to 10-9 less than a minute later, when Gewas Schindler took advantage of an unsettled ground-ball situation, in which the goalkeeper Rob Mulligan got caught out of position, and scored on the open net.

Loyola then watched its defenders wilt and its attack rust as the Greyhounds managed just two shots over the next 12: 40. The Orangemen applied the hammering attack, as Liam Banks and Tim Byrnes beat fatigued Loyola on simple cuts to the goal to lift Syracuse to a 12-9 advantage late in the third.

"We weren't able to get the ball," O'Hara said. "We can't get goals if you can't get the ball to the offensive end. We played a lot of defense."

Said Cordisco, who had three goals on Syracuse's second midfield unit: "You could see at the end of the game, Loyola was a little worn down."

Worn down physically and mentally.

In the opening minutes of the final quarter, the Greyhounds were flagged for too many men on the field. The Orangemen thanked Loyola with some flash -- a no-look pass from Matt Caione to Brian Solliday for a score. And it was about time for Loyola to look away.

That goal began a 4 1/2-minute stretch in which Syracuse connected on four straight shots to pump its margin up to 16-11 with 4: 47 remaining.

The Greyhounds tinkered with their entire defensive scheme to slow down the Orangemen. They switched when they double-teamed. They altered who they double-teamed.

But it didn't change the results on the scoreboard, which showed Syracuse more than doubling Loyola's 6.6 season average for goals allowed.

"They did a great job against our slides," Cottle said. "And I think that's where they won the game. Their offense was better than our defense. We tried to find something to work, and we couldn't find it."

Loyola 4 2 3 3 -- 12

Syracuse 3 4 5 5 -- 17

Goals: L--Schindler 4, Goettelmann 2, Frye 2, Battista, Vizcarrondo, Haas; S--Cutia 4, Cordisco 3, Banks 2, Caione 2, Byrnes 2, Coffman 2, Solliday, Darcangelo. Assists: L--O'Shea 2, Goettelmann, Schindler; S--Powell 7, Cutia 3, Caione 2. Saves: L--Brown 11; S--Mulligan 11.

NCAA lacrosse

Division I tournament

Yesterday's quarterfinals

Syracuse 17, Loyola 12

Virginia 17, Delaware 10

Final Four

At College Park

Saturday's semifinals

Syracuse (11-4) vs.

Georgetown (13-2), noon

Johns Hopkins (11-2) vs.

Virginia (11-3), 3 p.m.

Next Monday's championship 10: 55 a.m., ESPN

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