Loyola finds a way in OT, beats Fairfield, 7-6

Greyhounds move to second place in ECAC on Comer's goal

April 09, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

It's unclear whether D.J. Comer was a second or even third option in overtime.

What is certain is that the senior midfielder became the reason the Loyola men's lacrosse team vaulted into second place in the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings, as his blast from the right alley 49 seconds into overtime lifted the No. 20 Greyhounds to a 7-6 win over visiting Fairfield before 1,283 at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on Saturday.

After senior John Schiavone won the opening faceoff of the extra session, Loyola (6-3 overall and 3-2 in the ECAC) ran a play designed to have sophomore midfielder Davis Butts use his speed from either wing.

"As that was happening, I just kind of saw that they slid," Comer said of the Stags defensemen. "It was like slow motion. The whole right side opened up, so I called it and I just went."

Comer said his shot that tickled the left side of the net was the biggest of his career. More importantly, the outcome moved the Greyhounds ahead of Fairfield (5-5, 2-2) for second place in the conference, further solidifying their bid for a spot in the four-team ECAC tournament.

"It's not where we want to be," coach Charley Toomey acknowledged. "But we recognize the fact that you can't be in fifth place. You have to be in first, second, third or fourth to get a chance to play in this tournament. We don't have the resume right now for an [at-large bid]. We have opportunities in front of us, but right now, we have to take care of conference, and that's something we're going to continue to talk about and address. So it means an awful lot."

Loyola, which scored the first three goals in last week's 12-9 victory over Ohio State, appeared destined to take a similar path when Butts and sophomore attackman Mike Sawyer (one goal and two assists) scored in the first 2 minutes, 25 seconds of the first quarter.

Stags junior attackman John Snellman cut the deficit in half with 11.7 seconds left in the period, but senior attackman Matt Langan gave the Greyhounds another two-goal cushion with 10:12 remaining in the second quarter.

In the second half, however, Fairfield overtook Loyola for the lead on two occasions. Freshman attackman Jordan Greenfield's goal with 7:34 left in the third quarter gave the Stags a 4-3 lead, and then senior midfielder Max Trunz's tally from the right wing with 4:39 remaining in the final period gave them a 6-5 lead.

But with 2:50 left in regulation, fifth-year senior attackman Chris Palmer used a screen to the right of the goal to lose his defender and beat Fairfield junior goalie Charlie Cipriano (16 saves) from point-blank range. That set up Comer's heroics in overtime.

The Stags scored 13 goals against Bellarmine last Saturday, but could not manage similar production against the Greyhounds.

Senior attackman Doug Kuring, Fairfield's leader in goals, was shut out by senior defenseman Steve Dircks, and junior midfielder Brent Adams, who recorded four goals and two assists last Saturday, scored just once while being shadowed by sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins.

"We talk about stopping the knowns on Tuesdays," Toomey said. "When we start prepping for an opponent, we kind of look at who their knowns are, and we talk about taking their knowns away. I felt like defensively, our guys did that today."

The Stags lost the battle in shots (38-24), ground balls (33-22) and turnovers 16-11), and coach Andrew Copelan lamented that the team let one slip away.

"We just didn't get it done," he said. "Told the guys all week that I felt it was going to be a one-goal game. It didn't shock me at all it was an overtime game. When you play a one-goal game, the margin for error is very slim, and today, we just made too many mistakes."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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