Loyola has edge in heart against Duke

On paper, Devils stronger, but Greyhounds refuse to fold in 11-10 home win

March 12, 2000|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Loyola Greyhounds only appeared to be short on size and manpower against a Duke team boasting one of the nation's premier attack units.

After spotting the Blue Devils an early three-goal lead, the No. 7 Greyhounds flashed the grit that has propelled them to the longest regular-season winning streak in NCAA history.

In yesterday's tense, 11-10 victory before 1,798 at rainy Curley Field, Loyola (3-0) opened its home schedule without starting defenseman Joe Rodrigues, while All-America midfielder Peter Haas played sparingly with a sore hamstring.

That didn't stop Loyola, led by junior David Metz, from stuffing Duke's attack.

Duke's trio of T. J. Durnan, Jared Frood and Greg Patchak, who average 6 feet 1, 210 pounds, managed just three goals between them against a smaller, swarming Loyola defense.

And the Greyhounds' midfield lowered the offensive boom on the No. 6 Blue Devils. Midfielders Mike Battista and Mike Sullivan led Loyola with three goals apiece. Gavin Prout added two goals and an assist.

The Greyhounds defied logic somewhat as they won their 26th consecutive regular-season contest. For starters, Duke won 17 of 25 faceoffs, including every attempt in the fourth quarter, after losing top faceoff man Joe Maier to a concussion in the third period.

No matter. Loyola forced key turnovers, converted key shots, chased down critical loose balls -- whatever it took to maintain a one- or two-goal lead throughout the second half.

In the end, the Blue Devils blinked by throwing the ball away twice in the final two minutes while trailing, 11-10.

"We weren't good at a lot of things today, but I loved how we cared and I loved how we hustled," Loyola coach Dave Cottle said.

All Duke coach Mike Pressler could do was shake his head, mainly over the ineffective play of his standouts.

"You can survive when one [of the attackmen] doesn't play well. But when all three don't play well, that's the heart of our offense," Pressler said.

" We had a chance to win at the end, and one of our attackmen tried to do something heroic, as opposed to what we wanted him to run. We just didn't measure up today."

Except for the opening stretch, in which Duke jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the second quarter, the Blue Devils rarely were able to bull their way inside to attack goalkeeper Jason Born (eight saves) with point-blank shots.

Once Sullivan and attackman Tim Goettelmann (two goals, one assist) converted on back-to-back goals to cut Duke's lead to 4-3 with 8: 56 left in the first half, the Greyhounds awakened.

Then came a turning point. With the Greyhounds in an extra-man offense midway through the period, Loyola lost the ball to Duke on an errant pass, which Patchak appeared to convert in the crease for a 5-3 advantage. But Duke defenseman Kevin Cassese was ruled offside on the play, negating the goal.

Battista then sent the Greyhounds on a 4-0 run that put Duke behind for good. First, he blew past middie Craig Schubert and ripped a 10-yard shot past goalie Matt Breslin (13 saves) to tie the score at four.

Then, he scooped a loose ball and ran about 40 yards uncontested before nailing an 18-yarder that gave Loyola its first lead at 5-4 with 2: 12 left.

"It was a blatant foul that gave us some momentum," Cottle said. "It became a big play when we scored off of it."

Prout then used a great feed from Bobby Horsey to make it 6-4 just before halftime. Battista immediately hurt the Blue Devils to start the second half by making it 7-4 just 11 seconds into the second half.

Duke regrouped enough to close within a goal on four occasions, but Loyola never lost its poise. Goettelmann's second goal, after a Battista takeaway and a Prout assist, gave the Greyhounds an 11-9 advantage with 2: 02 left.

"We knew we were going to get back into the game," Battista said. "The question was when. We're not a pretty team, but we'll get it done."

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