Back from bench, Born takes charge for Loyola

Solid work ethic helps fifth-year senior goalie win back starting job

College Lacrosse

March 18, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Loyola goalkeeper Jason Born didn't envision being on the bench as a fifth-year senior, but that's how his season began.

The Mount St. Joseph grad waited three years, working hard in practice for the day when it would be his turn to start.

When his chance arrived last season, Born turned back 53 percent of opponents' shots and posted a 9.85 goals-against average. Despite a season-ending, 15-13 upset loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament's opening round, Born for the most part felt satisfied with his work.

Then came the off-season, with healthy competition surfacing. In the season opener against Delaware three weeks ago, he wasn't starting.

"It was tough, and I was upset," Born said. "To start and then become a backup again, it's like you have nothing to look forward to, being a backup as a fifth-year senior. It's like, you're not going to be playing next year, anyway."

Words from his mother helped.

"She was like, `Go out, do the things the way you do them, and things will work out for you,' and that's how I did it," he said. "So I just went out and kept working hard in practice and didn't let it bother me too much."

Senior defender David Metz, an All-American and team captain, could hear Born from the other end at practice.

"Even when he was down at the other end with the non-starters, he was yelling and screaming, trying to get people at spots and doing the absolute best he could," Metz said. "I trust Jason completely. I just told him to keep going, keep doing what you're doing and they'll see."

It wasn't that sophomore keeper Mark Bloomquist was playing poorly when halftime came the next week against Hofstra and the Greyhounds were down. Loyola coach Dave Cottle just felt the team needed a spark, and Born, the senior, provided one in a 17-12 win.

Back as a starter last week against Duke, Born made some big saves early and bigger ones late -- 11 in all -- for a 10-8 win that puts the No. 5 Greyhounds at 3-0 going into today's revenge game against No. 6 Notre Dame at Curley Field.

"They had four shots in the first two minutes," Born said of the Duke game. "The first one got me right in the stomach, knocked the wind out of me, the second one got me right in the chest about 20 seconds later. It was pretty nice."

Cottle agreed.

"I think what he's brought this year is just some great leadership, and his communication has really helped simplify some things for us," Cottle said.

"When he wasn't starting, he helped Mark with his communication to try to make him a better goalie. When you do things like that, you're a good person and you really care about the team -- that's a big reason why he's playing right now."

Along with the playing time, Born also is having fun. He said there were times last season when pressure had him worrying about making the next save.

"This year, I just take the relaxed approach like it's not that big of a deal. It's just if I go out there and play, things will happen," he said.

One thing Born makes sure happens is organizing his defense in front of him. His booming voice brings plenty of confidence, a strength that comes from being around as long as he has.

"I guess you could say he's like our field general," Metz said. "Basically, he's our eyes, and what you can't see, he's there for us. So we've got our trust in him."

That's just what Born wanted to hear.

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