March 22, 2012

Undefeated Loyola Tops Hoyas With Second Half Run

by Gary Lambrecht | LaxMagazine.com

BALTIMORE - It took a while for the Mike Sawyer-Eric Lusby show to get rolling on Wednesday night for fifth-ranked Loyola. But once the Greyhounds' superb scoring combination caught fire in the second half, the visiting, sloppy and inconsistent Georgetown Hoyas were powerless to stop them.

Lusby matched his career-high with five goals, and Sawyer added three goals – all in the second half – as Loyola turned a close game into an 11-6 rout over No. 18 Georgetown before 1,264 at the Ridley Athletic Complex.

The victory, Loyola's fifth straight over the Hoyas, stretched the Greyhounds' perfect record to 7-0. Georgetown, which got 14 saves from senior goalie Matt Winter but turned the ball over 20 times, fell to 4-2.

On a night when the Greyhounds started slowly and weren't especially sharp overall in the first half, Loyola brought their top weapons to bear and feasted on enough Hoya mistakes to overwhelm Georgetown in the second. While the Loyola defense shut out the Hoyas over a stretch of 22:19 in the second half, Sawyer and Lusby got open enough to put the game out of reach by scoring three goals apiece after halftime.

Georgetown was often its own worst enemy. The Hoyas, who got two goals each from midfielders Brian Casey and Dan McKinney but only one goal from their attack, actually held a 3-1 lead midway through the first quarter, and pulled even with Loyola at 5-5 nearly two minutes into the second half on split dodge and score by Casey.

But Georgetown began to unravel after that. Loyola moved in for the kill behind its two sharpshooters with a 6-0, knockout run. Lusby completed Loyola's scoring with 9:21 left to give the Greyhounds an 11-5 lead. Loyola outshot Georgetown by a whopping, 48-24 margin. The Hoyas put only 12 shots on goal.

"Our philosophy is we like to play at a fast pace," said Lusby, the fifth-year senior lefthander who made five of eight shots and now has 21 goals, three behind Sawyer, the team leader with 24. "We took some poor shots. We take our chances. But if we get our shots on goal, eventually they're going to fall."

Sawyer had to battle for his scores. Junior defenseman Chris Nourse effectively forced Sawyer away from the net in a scoreless first half, and leg cramps affected Sawyer during his 3-for-13 shooting night. But the junior attackman still got open to knock down back-to-back, third-quarter goals – on a 12-yard, extra-man blast from up top and a 15-yard runner – to give Loyola a 7-5 lead with 7:53 left in the third.

"[Georgetown] started favoring [Lusby's] side of the field," said Sawyer, who found more open seams as a result. "When we get some momentum at our backs, it's hard to stop that."

Georgetown, meanwhile, could maintain no momentum, as it continuously threw the ball away. The Hoyas' offense never found any rhythm after the first quarter.

"A lot of our turnovers were totally unprovoked. We were just throwing it over our guys' heads by four or five feet. Mistakes like that come back to bite you in the butt," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said.

"I'm glad [Loyola] didn't shoot the ball better. It was a one-goal game at halftime [Loyola led, 5-4], and we hadn't played very well. I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel, but it was a train coming from the other direction."

Georgetown rocked Loyola goalie Jack Runkel (six saves) in the early going with three straight goals after the Greyhounds had taken a 1-0 lead on a six-yard bullet from the left wing by midfielder Sean O'Sullivan.

The Hoyas responded by scoring three goals in less than three minutes, including two by McKinney, who found the back of the net twice from up top. His second goal of the run, which followed a 12-yarder by midfielder Francis McDonogh, made it 3-1 with 8:11 left in the first quarter.

But then, the Hoyas got careless with the ball, combining some poor shot selection with unforced turnovers, and Loyola returned the favor by seizing some momentum that translated into a 4-0 run, giving the Greyhounds a 5-3 lead early in the second quarter. Lusby scored twice during the run, including a right-handed goal in close shortly after Loyola had won a face-off.

By halftime, Loyola had out-shot the Hoyas, 27-13, yet held just a 5-4 lead. Winter's 10, first-half saves were huge.

But after Casey's game-tying goal with 13:07 left in the third quarter, the Hoyas were done offensively, as the close defense of Joe Fletcher, Reid Acton and Dylan Grimm put the clamps on attackmen Zac Guy, Jason McFadden and Travis Comeau, while long-stick midfielder Scott Radliff did the same to midfielder Zack Angel.

"We felt like we left some things out there," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "I don't like being labeled a second-half team, but we did what we had to do."


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