Underdog Greyhounds overcome No. 2 Hoyas

Loyola 14 Georgetown 10

April 16, 2006|By SAM ATKINSON | SAM ATKINSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The 20th-ranked Loyola College men's lacrosse team stormed Diane Geppi-Aikens Field as the final horn sounded in yesterday's 14-10 upset of second-ranked Georgetown.

The win before 2,211 could signal the triumphant return of a storied men's lacrosse program that has been through two losing seasons, the firing of coach Bill Dirrigl in December (he filed a $3.5 million breach-of-contract and defamation lawsuit against the school more than a week ago) and a senior class that hadn't defeated a team this highly ranked since it got to campus.

"I am happy for our kids and our program," said Loyola coach Charley Toomey, whose team improved to 5-4. "They flat-out earned it today."

Toomey, in his first year at the helm after serving as an assistant for seven years at Loyola, was presented with the game ball by his team. Player after player came up to Toomey in the locker room, embracing the coach, slapping him on the back or remarking about the win.

"It's unbelievable!" Loyola junior Greg Leonard said. "We knew all year we could do this."

The Loyola win creates a logjam atop the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings, where the Greyhounds, Hoyas and Penn State are tied for first with 4-1 conference records. Penn State beat St. John's, 13-3, yesterday in New York.

Georgetown (8-2) had won eight straight coming into yesterday's game and had a four-game winning streak against Loyola. The win ended another streak in which Loyola hadn't won at home against Georgetown since a 16-4 victory in 1996. Loyola is 4-0 at home this season.

"You have to give Loyola a lot of credit," Georgetown coach David Urick said. "We can look for a lot of excuses, but we aren't going to do that."

The game went back and forth in the first half as Georgetown led throughout. Loyola was able to tie it on three occasions but still trailed 6-5 at halftime.

In the second half, Loyola's offense took over as it held the ball for most of the third quarter while scoring at will on Hoyas sophomore goalie Miles Kass (nine saves).

Loyola received two goals apiece from Leonard (three goals, two assists) and junior Ryan Rabidou (three goals, one assist) as the Greyhounds outscored the Hoyas 6-2 in the decisive third quarter.

Loyola took its first lead at the 6:54 mark of the third when Rabidou scored an extra-man goal off an assist from Leonard. The Greyhounds' extra-man unit - the second best in the country - converted two of the three opportunities in the game.

Freshman midfielder Tyler Gale scored with 1:45 left in the quarter, giving Loyola an 11-8 lead. Urick had seen enough from Kass and inserted senior Rich D'Andrea (two saves), who had started the previous two games because Kass had been injured.

"I probably should have done that earlier," Urick said of the goalie switch.

On the other end of the field, Loyola senior goalie Michael Fretwell (St. Mary's) was racking up save after save to finish with 13.

"I knew we could win," Fretwell said. "Our offense really gave us a spark in the second half."

The last major win for Loyola came against Georgetown in the 2001 NCAA tournament, where the Greyhounds defeated the Hoyas, 11-9, in the first round.

"We are going to do our best to get the next one [at Fairfield on Saturday]," Loyola assistant coach Bobby Benson said.

Georgetown 3 3 2 2 - 10

Loyola 3 2 6 3 - 14

Goals: G-B. Cannon 2, P. Cannon, Baird, Casey, White, Paolisso, D'Agnes, Gahan, Molinari; L-Leonard 3, Rabidou 3, Richards 2, Bauers 2, Spack, Willcox, Gale, Coffman. Assists: G-B. Cannon 2, Baird, P. Cannon, Wilson; L-Apack 3, Leonard 2, Richards 2, Alfone, Rabidou, Ricci. Saves: G-Kass 9, D'Andrea 2; L-Fretwell 13. A-2,211.

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