Loyola finds transition game, runs right by Mt. St. Joseph

No. 3 Dons clinch outcome with 9-0 start, prevail, 14-6

Boys lacrosse

April 16, 2003|By Mike Keegan | Mike Keegan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In order for No. 7 Mount St. Joseph to upset No. 3 Loyola in lacrosse yesterday, the Gaels had to do several things well: capitalize on their opportunities, control the tempo and play solid transition defense.

They couldn't manage any of the above. After missing several early point-blank scoring opportunities, Mount St. Joseph couldn't prevent the visiting Loyola midfielders from pushing the ball up field, finding the open man and rolling to a 14-6 victory.

"We showed in the first couple minutes that we could play with them," Gaels attackman Brian Gargan said. "Our shots weren't falling. If we make a couple of those it's a whole new ballgame."

Instead, goalie Pat Vaughan made some big saves, then quickly looked up field to spark the offense. Loyola coach Jack Crawford wanted his team to exploit the Dons' depth at midfield in the warm weather.

It worked, and the Dons (6-2, 5-2 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) jumped to a 9-0 lead before Gargan put the Gaels (4-4, 3-4) on the board with 1:21 left in the first half. Dons attackman Andrew Baird benefited most from the play of the fast-transitioning midfielders, putting away a career-high five goals.

"We've started to step it up in transition and upped the pressure on defense to get some turnovers," Baird said.

Loyola's aggressive defense, forced the Gaels into several long, desperation passes. Vaughan simply fetched them and started the transition back the other way.

"I tell our defenders to check their sticks when they throw the Gilman pass, and I come out behind and pick it up," said Vaughan, who sat out the second half. "It's easy when you have the fabulous defense I have."

The Loyola defense also held the Gaels to an 0-for-6 performance on extra-man offense. And Ted Melanson helped Loyola to a 15-9 advantage on the draws.

Brendan Smith had a goal and three assists for the Dons, and Sam Wagner (two goals) sparked the transition game all afternoon. Gargan led the Gaels with three goals. But with Loyola averaging 16 goals in five straight wins, it wasn't enough.

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