Loyola-Johns Hopkins Result Good for Both Sides
Make no mistake about how the final outcome affected each team in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's 10-9, overtime victory by No. 10 Johns Hopkins over top-ranked, previously-undefeated Loyola. The Blue Jays woke up in a great mood on Sunday. Loyola had to be a bit dejected over how close it had come to knocking off its Charles Street rivals for only the fourth time in 50 tries.
The opinion here is Saturday's result in retrospect helped both teams.
Hopkins (10-3) certainly needed the victory the most. The Blue Jays snapped a two-game losing streak and broke out of its terrible funk on offense, just in time for May. And as it looks ahead to its regular-season finale against visiting Army, Hopkins has clinched a home playoff game in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
In addition, if they beat Army as expected and get a little help during this week's handful of conference tournaments, the Blue Jays might find themselves with a top four seed in the big tournament.
Loyola (12-1) made just enough mistakes in a classic, miscue-laden battle to blow a chance to stay unbeaten and knock off Hopkins for the first time in 13 seasons. A win would have locked up a top four seed in the NCAAs. But the Greyhounds can take care of that business on Wednesday at fourth-seeded Denver in the ECAC tournament semifinals. It won't be easy.
The Greyhounds, who should have a first-round home game locked up, know they have to clean up their act in May. But the Hopkins loss afforded Loyola a glimpse at their heart, since the Greyhounds have rolled through so many opponents in 2012. On Saturday, Loyola never led, trailed 5-0 in the second quarter, and three times were behind by four in the second half. Loyola's gutty, fourth-quarter comeback will pay dividends down the road, when the NCAA tournament will demand more courage from the Hounds.