Third Quarter Run Boosts No. 4 Men's Lax Against Buckeyes

March 31, 2012

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BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland scored twice in transition during a 4-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters, and the No. 4/5 Greyhounds held Ohio State University scoreless in the third frame to hold off the Buckeyes, 8-7, Saturday afternoon in an ECAC Lacrosse League game at Ridley Athletic Complex.

The Buckeyes (4-6 overall, 2-1 ECAC) slowed down the pace of the game in the first two quarters and took a 3-2 lead with 3:07 left in the half on a Logan Schuss goal.

Schuss, however, was called for a non-releasable cross-checking penalty on the ensuing face-off when he took down a Loyola player, and the Greyhounds stuck quickly on the extra-man.

Sean O'Sullivan faked a pass to the right side and quickly reversed the ball left to Mike Sawyer. The Greyhounds' leading scorer, who had already scored the game's first goal, took a step in and ripped a shot past Ohio State's Greg Dutton, tying the game at 3-3 at 2:36.

Ohio State appeared to have a chance to take the lead into the locker room, but Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel made a point-blank save on a Jesse King shot from just outside the crease with 40 ticks left in the first half, preserving the tie.

Runkel again made a nice save on a charging Dominique Alexander just over two minutes into the second half, and he sent an outlet pass over the top to Pat Laconi.

Laconi cleared the ball to the Greyhounds' box, and he found Scott Ratliff running down the middle alley. Ratliff's shot beat Dutton low, and Loyola was back in front 1:19 into the quarter.

The Greyhounds (9-0, 3-0) would score again in transition when Ratliff picked up a ground ball, and Josh Hawkins took it end-to-end. Hawkins then beat Dutton high-to-low to make it a 5-3 Loyola advantage with 9:15 remaining in the third.

Eric Lusby tacked on a third Loyola goal in the third stanza, off a Justin Ward assist, with 4:58 left, and Loyola did not allow an Ohio State goal for the rest of the quarter. Runkel made three of his eight saves in that frame.

"I have to hand it to Ohio State because they had a game plan, and they came out and executed it," Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. "Whether it was their two-man game (on offense), or being patient, or getting out an running a little on us, they put us in some tough situations. I was happy with our effort, though, and we are very pleased to get a win.

"(Runkel) stood in there, and he stood big. He made some key saves for us, and that is what we have come to expect from `Runk' this year."

The Buckeyes would break through quickly at the start of the fourth quarter. Turner Evans rolled topside and scored 48 seconds in, and Nick Liddil added an unassisted goal at 8:19 that pulled Ohio State back within a goal, 6-5.

Neither team would score for nearly six minutes until Ward rolled topside, using a Sean O'Sullivan screen to get free. Ward set his feet and shot inside the near post form eight yards out, pushing the Greyhounds advantage back to two.

Loyola was able to get another goal with 1:14 left in regulation when Ohio State was on a seven-man ride. Chris Layne slipped through two Buckeye defenders, and with Dutton out of the crease, he fed Lusby on the right side, and the graduate student completed his hat trick with a quick flick of the stick.

The goal would turn out to be very important since the Buckeyes scored twice in the final 10 seconds - Schuss tallied a goal with nine ticks left, and King tallied one off a Schuss assist six seconds later - to make the final score, 8-7.

Ward finished with a goal and three assists, while Lusby tallied three goals and Sawyer two. The Greyhounds were outshot for the first time this season, 33-27, but Loyola's defense held the Buckeyes to just 15 shots on goal.

Loyola won the ground ball battle, 39-26, and the Greyhounds had a 13-4 margin in the deciding fourth quarter. Reid Acton, J.P. Dalton, Ward and Hawkins tied for game-high honors with five ground balls each, while Sawyer had four.

Acton also caused five turnovers, while Joe Fletcher and Ratliff each caused three.

Dalton won 12-of-19 face-offs for Loyola against three different Buckeye players at the `X'.

Loyola will not be back at Ridley Athletic Complex for four weeks as the Greyhounds embark on a three-game spin through ECAC play. First up for Loyola is a 1 o'clock game on Saturday, April 7, at Fairfield University.