Midway through the second quarter of yesterday's matchup between No. 4 Loyola and No. 5 Calvert Hall, Dons midfielder Tim Donovan leveled a Cardinals player who was trying to carry the ball across midfield.
While that play helped set the physical tone for the visiting Dons on defense, Donovan was equally effective on the attack, scoring four goals in Loyola's 10-6 victory over its rival. After dropping their first two Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference games this season, the Dons are hoping yesterday's win will be the catalyst for a strong run to the playoffs.
"That is a great Calvert Hall team over there, but we are just starting to come together," said Donovan, who will attend Johns Hopkins next year. "We wanted to come out quickly and get some early goals so we could have a good feeling throughout the game. This is a building block for us. We need to have a big push this year to get to the playoffs because we started 0-2."
The two teams played even in the early part of the game, and Loyola carried a 3-1 lead into halftime. The Dons (2-2 overall, 1-2 league), however, opened up their attack in the second half and led by as many as six goals in the closing minute to put away the pesky Cardinals.
Joe Cummings had two goals and an assist for the Dons, while Steele Stanwick, Jared Gangler, Andrew Pataki and Scott Hahn had a goal each. Loyola outshot the Cardinals, 31-27.
"Any time you play a team that is as athletic and as gritty as Calvert Hall, you better be ready to play a very physical game," Loyola coach Jack Crawford said. "It was important for us to make sure in the first quarter that we were ready to play at a high level, not only skill-wise, but also athletically and physically."
Calvert Hall (2-2, 1-2) did manage to spread out its attack, and six players - Jason McFadden, D.J. Comer, Tyler Dolphin, Kent Groff, Sean Maguire and Alex Bogucki - scored goals. Cardinals coach Bryan Kelly said the key for his team will be how well it responds over the next few games.
"This is the best lacrosse league in the country and you are not going to go undefeated," Kelly said. "Loyola is a great team. They have tons of talent and are loaded in a lot of areas. Offensively, we just stood around too much and they kind of took us away from some things."