Loyola comes up short in ECAC battle with Denver

Greyhounds drop 12-8 decision to visiting Pioneers

March 16, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The Loyola men's lacrosse team got a taste of its own medicine Wednesday night.

Accustomed to winning faceoffs and creating scoring chances off those draws, the No. 15 Greyhounds surrendered six goals off faceoffs, propelling No. 17 Denver to a convincing 12-8 victory between Eastern College Athletic Conference rivals before 1,077 at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.

During a 6-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters, the Pioneers scored three goals off of faceoffs — a development Loyola coach Charley Toomey had seen before.

"We're used to having that run," he said. "We're certainly used to having that offense off of the X, and it just didn't happen tonight. They were so quick that even when we did get it out, they seemed to be right on our heels. They were trail-checking, and they did a great job. But again, we're used to a make-it, take-it game, and the couple times we didn't get the 50-50 [ground ball], we were pulling out of the back of the net, and that was tough."

The Greyhounds actually finished with an advantage in faceoffs, winning 12 of 23. But Denver (4-2 overall, 1-0 in the ECAC), the reigning conference champion, was just more opportunistic.

After junior attackman Alex Demopoulos (one goal, two assists) converted a pass from senior attackman Todd Baxter to give Denver a 7-6 lead with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter, sophomore Chase Carraro won the ensuing faceoff and passed the ball to Baxter, who fed junior attackman Mark Matthews on the left wing for a goal with 6:24 remaining.

After another Pioneers goal extended their lead to 9-6 with 1:17 left in the period, they opened the fourth quarter with a faceoff win that quickly became a fastbreak. It ended with Demopoulos faking a shot, swimming under the stick of sophomore defenseman Reid Acton, and beating senior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin from the doorstep just 13 seconds into the period.

Denver won the next faceoff and freshman midfielder Jeremy Noble found Baxter (a game-high five points on two goals and three assists) in the slot to give his team an 11-6 lead 29 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Carraro, who entered the contest with a 62.2 faceoff percentage (56-for-90), said his objective was to be faster than Greyhounds senior John Schiavone.

"With faceoffs, at least between me and him tonight, it was just who was quicker," Carraro said. "We played him last year, and he's a great faceoff guy. He's really, really super quick, and this year, I came out and anticipated the whistle a little bit and sort of evened it out a little bit. So it was good to get some wins."

Pioneers coach Bill Tierney praised the play of Carraro, who was credited with 11 of 23 faceoffs, and his wings in sophomore midfielder Cameron Flint and freshman midfielder Jeremy Noble.

"I thought Chase was a man tonight," Tierney said. "If you look at the numbers, we lost faceoffs tonight 12 to 11. But I think we got four or maybe five goals off faceoffs — his individual one and two or three fastbreak goals. Those are just backbreakers, momentum-changers. They got back to 5-4 at one point, and we got one to make it 6-4. And when we went on that little run in the third and start of the fourth, the faceoffs were key."

Loyola (3-2, 1-1) got on the scoreboard just 47 seconds into the first quarter, but the team trailed at halftime for the third time this season.

"I definitely think it's on the offense," said sophomore attackman Mike Sawyer, who extended his team lead in goals to 18 with four against the Pioneers. "We can definitely do a better job in the first half and not play from behind as much. That's something we've got to work on."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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