Finnerty, Early Run Lift Men's Lacrosse Past Towson, 11-8

Feb. 21, 2009

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BALTIMORE - Loyola jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the first period and was able to sustain the momentum from that point, using four goals and an assist from attackman Collin Finnerty and a pair from Matt Langan to down neighbor Towson, 11-8, on Saturday in the Greyhounds' home opener at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field in front of 2,436 fans.

For Finnerty, the performance marked the second consecutive game in which the junior has scored five points on four goals--three of them coming in the first quarter. He also scored five in Loyola's season opener against Notre Dame last weekend in Atlanta.

The home win puts 16th-ranked Loyola at 1-1 and gets the team set for a slate of three consecutive road games, starting next weekend at Penn State in its ECAC opener.

"I have to give our team credit," Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "Anytime Loyola and Towson square off, you know it's going to be a tough, physical matchup. Our kids came out and played with a lot of effort and energy and it's great to get this victory."

Finnerty earned points on Loyola's first three goals and Loyola led 4-0 after the first quarter. He got the scoring started just 1:03 into the game with an unassisted goal.Sophomore Eric Lusby doubled the Loyola lead, 2-0, at the 8:07 mark as he scored with assist from Finnerty.

Four minutes later, Finnerty would again find the net with another unassisted tally. Then, midfielder Jimmy Daly closed out the 4-0 spurt with a goal with just 50 seconds remaining in the period.

Towson (0-1) attackman Tim Stratton put the Tigers on the board 4:07 into the second period, and Bill McCutcheon trimmed the Loyola lead to 4-2 three minutes later.

The Greyhounds would receive a bit of luck on their next goal, as a Towson defender passed it back to keeper Rob Wheeler--who wasn't ready for the lateral--and the pass rolled into the cage, resulting in a Loyola team goal and a 5-2 Greyhounds' lead.

Just 21 seconds before halftime, Finnerty snuck into the interior of the defense and received a pass from Cooper MacDonnell, burying his attempt high past Wheeler to give Loyola a 6-2 lead going into intermission.

"Collin is really playing some of his best lacrosse right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence and when he gets himself set to shoot, he can be very tough to defend," Toomey said.

MacDonnell opened up the third period with a goal assisted from Langan. After a goal by Sean Maguire brought Towson within four, 7-3, Loyola closed out the period with a pair of goals from Langan.

First, he made a diving attempt from the top of the crease to beat the goalie with 5:35 remaining for his first goal of the season. Just three minutes later, Langan took a long feed from freshman Mike Sawyer and beat Wheeler low to stretch the Loyola lead to 9-3.

A pair of goal by Towson's Matt Lamon opened up the fourth period and brought the Tiger's within 9-5, but Loyola quickly responded.

On the ensuing face-off after Lamon's second goal, John Schiavone earned the win and drove upfield, dishing off to Finnerty, who netted his fourth goal of the day and eighth of the season. A minute later--with 12:23 remaining--Sawyer earned his first collegiate goal, swooping on the right side of the field and zipping a shot into the upper-left portion of the cage to put Loyola back up, 11-5.

Towson's Brock Armour scored an unassisted goal with 8:27 to play, and the Tigers would earn scores in the final two minutes from Maguire and Mitchell Rosensweig to round out the scoring.

Towson outshot Loyola, 37-35, as sophomore Jake Hagelin made 13 saves in the cage for the Greyhounds. The Greyhounds picked up 44 groundballs--with P.T. Ricci and Taylor Ebsary both picking up eight for team-high honors.

Loyola won 11 of 23 face-offs, with Schiavone going 11-for-22 and senior Michael Atkinson 0-1.