May 19, 2012

Loyola Maryland Turns Back Denver in NCAA 2nd Round Matchup of ECAC Foes


ANNAPOLIS, Md.--Graduate student Eric Lusby notched five goals and Mike Sawyer became the most prolific goal-scorer in Loyola Maryland single-season history as the top-seeded Greyhounds defeated fellow Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) opponent Denver, 10-9, on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship. 

Sawyer registered his 51st goal of the season with 4 minutes and 30 seconds gone in the first quarter to open the scoring for both squads.

Freshman Wes Berg and senior Mark Matthews led the Pioneers with four points and three goals, respectively.

Loyola University Maryland Game Recap (Greyhounds Team Page)
Graduate student Eric Lusby scored five goals and had a career-high seven points, and J.P. Dalton won 17-of-22 faceoffs, as the top-seeded Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team defeated the University of Denver, 10-9, on Saturday afternoon to advance to next weekend's NCAA Semifinals for the first time since 1998.

Lusby's five goals tied his career-best, and he added two assists. Dalton dominated at the faceoff `X', winning 77.2-percent of restarts against a team that had won 67.8-percent against the Greyhounds in two previous meetings this season.
The Greyhounds (16-1) will play the winner of No. 4 seed Notre Dame and No. 5 seed Virginia on Saturday, May 26, in the NCAA Semifinals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
"What a day for the Greyhounds," Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "I'm just so pround of these guys. It's hard for me not to get emotional because this team has worked so hard for so long together through good times and bad this spring."
Loyola will make its third trip to the NCAA Semifinals, joining the teams from 1990 and 1998 that also played on Championship Weekend. Toomey was the starting goalkeeper and team co-captain of the 1990 team that lost in the NCAA title game to Syracuse.
Lusby scored the second of two Loyola goals, the first was an unassisted tally from Mike Sawyer who wrapped around the crease on the right side and beat Denver goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante with a low-to-low shot at 10:30. Lusby then scored on an extra-man opportunity at 9:01, taking a Sean O'Sullivan and converting on a shot from the high right side.
Denver (9-7), however, would battle back and tie the game by the end of the first quarter. Mark Matthews found himself in space and scored from eight yards out with 2:20 left in the first, and he added a second goal at the end of a Jeremy Noble transition run with just six ticks left on the clock to tie the game at 2-2 heading to the second.
Noble put Denver briefly in front, 3-2, with a goal at 8:46, putting Loyola at a disadvantage on the scoreboard for the first time in over 201 minutes of game action, dating back to the regular-season finale against Johns Hopkins on April 28.
Loyola was not down for long, however, as Scott Ratliff passed it to Eric Lusby on the right side, and Lusby drew a double team. Lusby then got the ball right back to Ratliff who scored after using a shot fake, tying the game at 3-3 with 7:21 to play before halftime.
Kevin Ryan then scored just his second career goal - the first also came against Denver in the ECAC Semifinal - on a man-up possession. Ryan took a Brian Schultz feed near the crease and dumped an over the shoulder shot into the goal to put the Greyhounds in front at 6:27.
The Pioneers rallied with a Cameron Flint goal at 5:05, and then Lusby struck twice in a row to close the second quarter.
Both times, he scored off Justin Ward assists, the first coming from eight yards out on the right side, and the second with 1:09 left in the period after Ward fed him on the crease.
During the second quarter, as Loyola outscored Denver, 4-2, Dalton won all seven faceoffs.
"I would give a lot of credit to (Volunteer Assistant) Coach (Steve) Vaikness," Toomey said of the faceoff success. "He spends countless hours with (J.P.) watching film. We know what we've got coming in off the wings. (Ratliff, Josh Hawkins, Kevin Moriarty and Davis Butts) are very athletic and are ground ball hawks. J.P. answered the bell today for us; J.P. was a beast."
Chris Layne put Loyola up three, 7-4, 1:53 into the second half when he beat his man from behind and scored after getting topside. Denver, however, scored two in a row, as Wes Berg fed a pass from behind to Flint who scored on a Pioneers extra-man, and Berg then buried an off-balance shot from five yards out to pull Denver within a goal, 7-6, with 10:21 left in the third.
Lusby again tallied back-to-back goals to re-extend the Greyhounds' advantage to three, 9-6. The first came when he cut to the middle and caught a Butts pass and scored from seven yards out. He then used a Schultz feed from behind to score an extra-man goal at 2:06.
"We see (Lusby's shooting) every day," Toomey said. "We know what we have on the corners, whether it's Mike Sawyer or Eric Lusby. I think Eric would be the first one to tell you he was the recipient of Mike getting shut off. (Eric) shoots the ball with such velocity, but the one thing that we see is that he is so unselfish with the ball. When people are getting to his hands, he's creating other opportunities."
Schultz had his first career multi-point game with two assists, a career-high.

The Greyhounds extended their lead to a game-high four goals 4:31 into the final quarter when Lusby flipped the ball to Butts 15 yards from the crease, took two defenders with him and allowed Butts to run free down the right alley. Butts then converted a jump-shot to make it 10-6 Loyola at 10:29.
With his two assists, Lusby was involved in seven of Loyola's 10 goals on Saturday.
Denver scored the next three goals, one by Matthews, a second from Noble and the third an unassisted Berg goal with 2:43 left in regulation.
Hawkins, who tied for game-high honors with six ground balls, came away from the faceoff after Berg's goal with the ball, but Denver took back possession after a Loyola turnover at 1:47.
Berg appeared to have an open lane on the right side, but Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel stuffed the shot with one of his 11 saves on the day.
The Greyhounds cleared the ball, but a Butts shot was blocked, and Denver got the loose ball to set up one final transition opportunity.
Flint came free near the top of the box, and he took a shot from 10 yards out, but Loyola defender Joe Fletcher knocked it out of the air, and Ratliff picked up the ground ball and ran out the clock.
Loyola outshot the Pioneers, 48-31, and the Greyhounds had a 32-25 advantage in ground balls. Hawkins had six, while Ratliff and Runkel had five and four, respectively. Dalton picked up three, as well.

University of Denver Game Recap  (Pioneers Team Page)
Despite a late rally, the University of Denver men’s lacrosse team fell in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals to the Loyola University Greyhounds 10-9 in front of 13,390 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The loss ends the Pioneers’ season with a 9-7 overall mark, while the win sends the Greyhounds to their first Final Four since 1998 and improves their record to 16-1.

“I'm very grateful that these young men got the opportunity to show the courage and fortitude they displayed today," said head coach Bill Tierney. “Congratulations to Loyola, all the credit in the world should be given to them on a great season thus far. Things were stacked against us from the start and I couldn't be more proud of our seniors, as well as the entire team for a great season.”

Freshman Wes Berg (Coquitlam, British Columbia) led the Pioneers with four points off two goals and two assists, while senior Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) finished with three goals.

Also contributing for the Pioneers was junior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario) and sophomore Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) with two points each, while Noble also recorded an assist. Seniors Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.) and Henry Miketa (Fort Collins, Colo.) completed their final games for the Pioneers with one assist each.

Freshman goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) finished with 14 saves and led the way with six ground balls.

After getting down early, the Pioneers regained the momentum to take a 3-2 lead on a goal from Noble at the 8:46 mark in the second quarter. Following a pair of goals from the Greyhounds, Flint posted an unassisted goal with just 5:05 left before the half to tie the game at 4-4.

The Greyhounds continued to put the pressure on and netted two in the final seconds of the half to take a 6-4 lead heading into the locker room.

After Loyola opened the third quarter with a goal just two minutes in, the Pioneers recorded a pair of goals in the third quarter from both Flint and Berg. However, the Greyhounds netted two to end the third quarter to hold a 9-6 advantage. Loyola scored its final goal of the game with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter.

The Pioneers’ late rally started with 8:42 remaining as Matthews netted his 47th of his career, third of the game of a long pass from Miketa. Noble and Berg provided the final two goals of the game, getting the Pioneers to within one of Loyola. However, stingy defense and key saves by Loyola keeper Jack Runkel sealed the win for the Greyhounds.

Eric Lusby led the way for Loyola with seven points off five goals and two assists, while Runkel finished with 11 saves.

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With his three goals, Matthews finished his career with 30 hat tricks. The attackman finished his career at Denver with 155 goals, 61 assists for 216 points. Matthews also finishes his career with the fifth longest active point streak in the nation with a point in 45 straight games.

With his assist, Demopoulos finished his career with the second longest point streak in the nation with a point in 51 straight games. The senior finished his career with 94 points, 82 assists for 176 points.