March 10, 2009
BALTIMORE - Seniors Shane Koppens paired three goals with a career-high six assists and P.T. Ricci established career-highs with three points and 13 groundballs to propel No. 14 Loyola to a 15-11 non-conference win over Bryant on Tuesday afternoon at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.
The Greyhounds (4-2) used 11 goals in the second half--including seven in the fourth quarter--to secure the victory, which opened a four-game homestand.
"This was a good effort against a quality opponent in Bryant," Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey. "We talked to our guys at halftime about having a better shot selection in the second half and we were able to find some success as a result."
Finding itself down 6-4 at halftime, Loyola came out of the gates quickly in the third, scoring three straight--all on Koppens' assists--to take a 7-6 advantage. Just four minutes in, Ricci sent in his attempt from 15-yards out high into the net. Then, sophomore middie Stephen Murray scored his first goal of the season on a bounce shot. Freshman midfielder Mike Sawyer closed out the run to give Loyola its first lead of the game.
A goal by Bryant (4-3) attackman Zach Greer--his first of the game--would briefly halt the momentum. But Koppens would again have the answer, assisting on a goal to Finnerty to give Loyola an 8-7 advantage.
Daly opened the fourth period with his second goal, an unassisted score from 15 yards out. After a goal by Bryant's Kevin Hoagland, Koppens answered with his first goal of the game. On the ensuing possession after the face-off, defender Steve Layne raced upfield for an unassisted goal, his first of his career, to lift Loyola to a three-score advantage,11-8.
A putaway by Bryant's Matt Larson cut the lead to two,11-9, with 7:36 remaining, but goals by MacDonnell and Koppens followed two minutes later. Bryant's Max Weisenberg and Finnerty exchanged goals, and with 0:39 seconds left, Koppens would find the net for the hat-trick. The goal marked his career-best ninth point. His previous high was seven (5 G, 2 A) which he set back on April 12, 2008, in an 11-9 Loyola victory over Georgetown.
Greer would close out the scoring with a late goal. All afternoon, Greer,the NCAA's All-time leading scorer, was harassed by Layne, Loyola's top close-defenseman. Entering Tuesday's matchup averaging 4.66 goals-a-game, Greer was held to just two goals.
"Our leaders had an opportunity to make big some plays. Whether it's P.T. scooping up groundballs, Shane's decision-making or Steve's defense, everyone stepped it up in the second half," Toomey said.
Meanwhile, Loyola forced 27 Bryant turnovers while only committing 12 itself. Senior goalkeeper Alex Peaty made his season debut by playing the entire second half. He made two saves.
A pair of unassisted goals by Bryant midfielder Bryant Amitrano put the Bulldogs up 2-0 eight minutes into the first.
Loyola would cut the lead in half off a Bryant turnover with 2:06 left in the first, as senior midfielder Jake Willcox beat his defender and converted on a bounce shot to put Loyola on the board. Despite outshooting the Bulldogs 11-5, Loyola entered the second down, 2-1.
Amitrano would pick up the rare first-half hat-trick just 1:54 into the second, sending his attempt high past Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin. On the ensuing face-off, Bryant's Andrew Hennessey won the draw and raced downfield to score, and suddenly, the Greyhounds faced a 4-1 deficit.
Loyola, though, responded with three unanswered goals over a six-minute span. First, senior midfielder Tyler Gale found the net 5:17 into the period, as he trailed into the middle of the defense and converted a Koppens feed. Just three minutes later, MacDonnell dodged past his defender and sent his shot into the upper-right of the cage.
To close out the spree, Daly found the net to knot the teams at 4 apiece. Bryant's Bryan Kauffman, though, tallied a pair of goals under the last two minutes to take a two-goal lead into the locker room.
Loyola outshot the Bulldogs 40-26, while Bryant won the groundball battle, 38-37. The Greyhounds will return to action on Saturday when they host undefeated and No. 15 St. John's at 1 p.m.