No. 2 Loyola hits ground running, dominates No. 5 St. Paul's, 17-5

Crawford debuts as coach with MIAA `A' opening win

Boys lacrosse

March 26, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Loyola truly had been waiting for yesterday's boys lacrosse game against St. Paul's.

The Dons spent the past five weeks practicing against themselves, often in the school gym, and were hungry to get out on the field and play someone else.

Channeling that energy effectively yesterday, No. 2 Loyola cruised to a 17-5 victory over No. 5 St. Paul's in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game at Towson Stadium.

Loyola (1-0 overall, 1-0 league) gave new coach Jack Crawford his first win at the school.

"I thought we looked a little jittery in the first few minutes," Crawford said. "But after that we settled down. They were very excited to get out there and play."

The Dons got a lot of help from several places. Andrew Baird led the team with three goals, while Sam Wagner and Tim Cyphers both had two goals and two assists. Ben Rubeor (two goals, one assist), Brendan Smith (two goals) and Sean Tillman (two goals) also pitched in.

Ted Melanson helped the Dons win most of the faceoffs and then control the ball for long stretches. The Dons also broke down the St. Paul's defense with numerous slick cuts and passes. Loyola repeatedly got scoring chances and goals on quick passes from behind the cage to a cutter right in front.

"We have a lot of seniors and we've been playing together for four years," said Wagner, a senior bound for North Carolina. "We work on the fundamentals every day in practice, and we work on them very, very hard."

St. Paul's (3-1, 0-1) had played good defense in winning its first three games and slowed the Dons for stretches early, but Loyola eventually created numerous scoring chances. Loyola took charge of the game in the final part of the second quarter.

After Bart Wagner scored to get St. Paul's within 5-3 with 4:53 left in the first half, the Dons reeled off three goals in 2:24 to take an 8-3 halftime lead.

Sam Wagner made a strong individual play, wheeling and firing a shot past St. Paul's goalie Matt Landsman from 10 yards with 4:21 left. Baird then scored with 3:13 remaining before Cyphers added a goal 76 seconds later. The Dons then broke it open with four straight third-quarter goals for a 12-3 lead.

Brian McGettigan (three goals) sparked St. Paul's offense, but Loyola goalie Pat Vaughn (12 saves) made a number of tough stops to keep the Dons in command.

"Our youth and inexperience really showed today," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley as he shook his head afterward.

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