Men's Lacrosse Comeback Effort Falls Short To UMass, 8-6

March 21, 2009

Final Stats

BALTIMORE - Cooper MacDonnell's third goal of the day trimmed a Massachusetts lead to two with 10:25 remaining, but No. 12 Loyola was held scoreless the rest of the way as the visiting Minutemen handed the Greyhounds an 8-6 setback on Saturday afternoon in ECAC play at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.

After a goal by attackman Jim Connolly put UMass up 8-4 with 2:49 left in the third, Loyola made its run. MacDonnell responded with two unassisted tallies that spanned both periods, and the Greyhounds climbed within 8-6 with over 10 minutes left, carrying momentum on their side.

But Loyola wouldn't get any closer. A shot by Collin Finnerty with two minutes left banged the post and a point-blank attempt by Loyola middie Jake Willcox was saved by Minutemen goalie Doc Schneider with 1:15 to play. Schneider, a first team preseason All-American, nearly single-handedly ceased the Loyola rally, making five of his season-high 17 saves in the final period.

"I thought Doc Schneider was the best player on the field today," Loyola Head Coach Charley Tooomey said, "More than that, they (UMass) played with a better sense of urgency."

"It's a loss that can hurt us if we let it. But we've got to get stuff figured out because we've got a very good Syracuse team coming to town next weekend," said Toomey, who was handed his first conference loss at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field. He is now 11-1 against ECAC opponents at home.

The teams exchanged a pair of goals in the first three minutes to open the action. Bobby Hayes put the Minutemen on the board just 1:36 in. Willcox had the response though, with a driving high-to-low putaway from 15 yards away.

Over 11 minutes of scoreless action would ensue before either side would score again, this time a goal by midfielder Evan Blum put UMass (4-3, 1-0 ECAC) up 2-1 with 31 seconds left in the first.

Massachusetts midfielder Rory Pedrick scored four minutes into the second and a bounce shot by Connolly, the league's leading scorer, stretched the Minutemen advantage to 4-1 at halftime.

Loyola (5-3 overall, 2-1 ECAC) outshot UMass, 16-15, in the first half but Schneider made six saves.

Just 1:55 into the third quarter, Loyola found the net. Off a recovered groundball, MacDonnell directed his pass to Finnerty, who buried his attempt.

But less than two minutes later, UMass attackman Tim Balise scored on a sweep from behind the goal and a tally by Bobby Hayes stretched the UMass advantage to four, 6-2.

The Greyhounds would cut into the lead on a rebound goal by attackman Matt Langan.

A wild sequence would then follow, as attackman Art Kell scored the next time UMass earned the ball to stretch the lead to four, 7-3. And on the ensuing face-off won by John Schiavone, MacDonnell scored off a feed from Langan. Unassisted tallies by Connolly and MacDonnell put the Massachusetts advantage to three, 8-5, going into the final period.

MacDonnell led Loyola with four points on a hat-trick, while Langan, Willcox and Finnerty all chipped in with one apiece. Loyola won nearly every statistical category, outshooting UMass, 44-29 and winning the groundball margin, 41-28.

Coming off his 17-for-20 showing last week against St. John's, Schiavone answered with another solid 12-for-18 day. Senior long-stick middie P.T. Ricci collected a team-high eight groundballs and caused five turnovers. In goal, Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin made three saves and allowed six goals in nearly 42 minutes of action. Senior Alex Peaty played the remainder, making five saves.

The Greyhounds close out a four-game homestand next Saturday when they host No. 2 Syracuse. Face-off is slated for noon and it will be broadcast on ABC2 live.