Duke deflates Loyola in 'Hounds' new arena

March 13, 2010|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Baltimore Sun reporter

For a brief moment Saturday, the No. 10 Loyola Greyhound lacrosse program felt like the king of the world.

Despite miserable weather, a huge crowd showed up to celebrate the opening of the Ridley Athletic Complex, the university's $62 million athletic facility. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien were on hand for the stadium's dedication, and students and alums bellowed with excitement through the wind and rain as Loyola won the opening faceoff against No. 8 Duke. The Loyola players admitted later the moment gave them goosebumps.

Less than three minutes into the game, senior attackman Collin Finnerty fired a shot low and hard past Duke goalie Dan Wigrizer, and when the ball found the back of the net, it was punctuated by three things: a tiny explosion of raindrops, a fist-pump by Finnerty, and a roar from the sold-out crowd. It was exactly the opening act the Greyhounds were looking for to christen their new digs.

It was also the last highlight the Greyhounds would have for quite some time.

Duke scored the next six goals, and never really let No. 9 Loyola recover from a sloppy second quarter as the Blue Devils put a bit of a damper on the debut of the Greyhounds new facility with an 8-5 victory.

Loyola didn't play particularly sharp -- especially on offense or when it came to clearing the ball, but they also don't have any players quite as talented as Duke all-American attackman Max Quinzani and Ned Crotty, and it showed.

Quinzani scored four times and Crotty had a goal and four assists, and a number of their points simply came on broken plays where the duo scooped up Loyola's mistakes and turned them into goals.

"When you hold a team like that to eight goals, you feel like you in part did your job," said Loyola coach Charlie Toomey. "But we didn't do a very good job of taking care of the ball and getting to our offensive end."

The game was actually tied 1-1 after the first period, but in the second period, Duke's pressure started to overwhelms the Greyhounds. The Blue Devils -- who were coming off consecutive losses to Maryland and North Carolina -- got their sticks into passing lanes, knocked the ball down, and then pushed their advantage. Steve Schoeffel scored in the second period to push Duke's advantage to 2-1, but it was the Crotty and Quinzani who essentially delivered the knockout blow.

Midway through the second, Crotty found Quinzani cutting through the middle of the Loyola defense, and Quinzani whipped a shot past Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin to make it 3-1. Minutes later, Loyola had a man advantage thanks to a pushing penalty on the Blue Devils, but a bad pass resulted in a loose ball, and Crotty scooped it up and whipped it 30 yards down the field to Quinzani. The 5-foot-8 sharp shooter beat Hagelin again to make it 4-1.

He made it 5-1 with less than a minute remaining before halftime, short-hopping a deflected pass from Crotty and one-timing it past Hagelin.Ten seconds into the third period, Quinzani struck again, scoring on a pass in traffic from -- guess who? -- Crotty.

"Nobody likes losing, but that's something we've been dealing with this season," Crotty said. Loyola finally got into the game on a goal by Cooper MacDonnell, who was back after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and the crowd was re-energized. But Quinzani silenced them with a great defensive play. Finnerty scored consecutive goals to make it look respectable, but the damage was done.

"We talked about it a bit in the pre-game that we feel like we've got the nicest facility in Division I," Toomey said. "Now we need to make it the toughest place to play in Division I."

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