Loyola upsets Navy in OT, 8-7

Men's college lacrosse

MacDonnell's sixth goal is game-winner

February 20, 2010|By Mike Preston | Baltimore Sun reporter

Navy goalie R.J. Wickham had played a superb game, but the one player he couldn't shut down in regulation Saturday victimized him again in sudden-death overtime.

Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell scored with nine seconds remaining in the five-minute overtime to lift No. 13 Loyola to an 8-7 upset of No. 6 Navy.

The game-winner by Cooper was his sixth goal of the game, and ended several comeback attempts by a stubborn Navy team (1-1) that refused to quit at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

Navy, though, had no answer for MacDonnell. On his last shot, MacDonnell blew by Navy defenseman Michael Hirsch to the left of the goal, and then squeezed a shot by Wickham seconds before a late slide from Mids midfielder Nikk Davis.

The goal set off a mad dash by Loyola players, who smothered MacDonnell outside of the goal as Loyola won its season opener.

"That was the game of my life," said MacDonnell, from Darien, Conn. "I thought they were going to slide a lot quicker than they did. I watched them play last season on film and they slid quicker from the inside. It just turned out to be the perfect opportunity."

For an early season game, this one had a lot of drama. Loyola controlled the pace and the Greyhounds outshot Navy, 44-21. But Wickham was outstanding with 19 saves.

Wickham kept the Mids within striking range, and Navy tied the score at 7-7 with 3:03 left in regulation on a 20-foot low shot by senior midfielder Patrick Moran, who finished with three goals.

Navy won the opening faceoff in overtime, and the Mids had one point- blank shot by sophomore attackman Ryan O'Leary. Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin, made a terrific save, and seconds later Navy made an unforced turnoverm setting the stage for MacDonnell.

The Mids had 24 turnovers, which is why they had only one lead, which occurred in the first three minutes of the game.

"That was the biggest problem about today's game," Moran said of the turnovers. "You can't win games with that many unforced turnovers. In the first half, we were always climbing uphill. But once we got the momentum, we just didn't finish."

Hagelin had only three saves, but they were big ones, two in the closing minute of regulation, and the one stop of O'Leary.

"It was a great lacrosse game," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "Jake didn't have a lot of saves, but I'll take the ones he did have. I thought we had our looks and we shared the ball well. Wickham made some great saves and at times stopped us. But this was a big test for us, and now we can go into our league play with some added confidence."

The first quarter was extremely sloppy, with both teams committing three turnovers. Navy took a 1-0 lead when junior attackman Brendan Connors scored at the top of the crease with 12:05 left in the period.

MacDonnell tied the score at 1 on a shot from the side of the goal on a feed from behind the net by fellow attackman Matt Langan. The Greyhounds had one other major scoring opportunity in the period, but failed to get a shot on goal despite a penalty on Mids defenseman Jaren Woeppel for an illegal body check.

Loyola controlled the pace of the second quarter, outshooting Navy 21-4 in the period, but the Greyhounds could only come away with a 4-3 lead at the half. MacDonnell scored the first two goals of the second period, as Loyola built a 3-1 lead with 4:04 left, but Navy pulled within 3-2, as Navy's Tim Paul beat Loyola's Steve Layne just outside the left post for a goal with 3:16 left.

Both teams scored on extra-man opportunities in the final 1:23 of the half. Wickham had 11 saves in the half.

Loyola scored the first two goals of the third quarter to open a 6-3 lead, but Navy scored two goals in the final five minutes to cut the Greyhounds' advantage to 6-5.

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