March 8, 2008
BALTIMORE - No. 13 Loyola College was toppled by a Duke team primed to assume the top spot in the men's lacrosse ranking0s, as the Blue Devils handed the Greyhounds a 21-8 defeat at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.
"Duke is a terrific team, they're very opportunistic," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "They're at their best when the ball's on the ground, and we put it there too much. Theyreally exposed some of our weaknesses.
"To win a national championship, you have to play at that caliber. That was a playoff atmosphere."
A crowd of 1,544 and a national cable television audience saw No. 2 Duke take leads of 2-0, 4-1 after one period and 10-4 at the half. With top-ranked Johns Hopkins losing earlier to Hofstra, Blue Devil coach John Danowski's former team, his Blue Devils are expected to assume the No. 1 ranking.
The Greyhounds were one of only three teams to beat Duke last year when the Blue Devils went to NCAA Finals.
Loyola had a two-game win streak snapped. Senior midfielder Paul Richards was the only Greyhound to collect more than one goal. Freshman goalie Jake Hagelin, the reigning ECAC Rookie of the Week, had 12 saves, as the Blue Devils held a 48-29 advantage in shots.
Loyola got unassisted goals from Richards and junior Jake Willcox to get within 8-4 midway through the second quarter, but Duke responded with six straight goals and led 14-4 five minutes into the second half.
It was the worst loss for Loyola (2-2) since an 18-5 setback to Johns Hopkins in the 1995 NCAA tournament quarterfinals. Duke (4-0) came in averaging a nation-leading 16.5 goals per game.
Loyola nearly held its own in ground balls (43-44) and faceoffs (15-17), but couldn't counter Duke's ability in the open field and in settled situations. Max Quinzani had five goals for the Blue Devils, Zack Greer had four goals and four assists, and Matt Danowski had two goals and four assists.
"If you want to get to the playoffs and make a run, you have to be where Duke is," long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci said, of the veteran Blue Devils.
The game began in a driving rain. The second half began in bright sunshine, but gusting winds brought a weather system that produced hail as the Greyhounds left the field.
Loyola has a week to prepare for a March 15 ECAC game at St. John's. Its next home game is March 18, against Siena.
"We talked about the next two weeks," Toomey said, when asked how his team will rebound. "We have to take this, and learn from it. We have to get back to our winning ways."