April 19, 2008
Fairfield, Conn. - Collin Finnerty scored twice in the opening two minutes of play and the Greyhounds never looked back en route to a 13-4 win at Fairfield on Saturday afternoon. The win sealed the ECAC conference title for Loyola, which clinched an NCAA Tournament berth with the league's automatic bid.
The Greyhounds dominated from the start, increasing their early 2-0 margin to three goals with a strike from senior Shane Koppens, and four goals after a score from senior Joe Landry. When it was all said and done in the first quarter, Loyola held a commanding 6-0 lead, holding an opponent scoreless in the first quarter for the fourth straight week.
That defensive trend continued in the second quarter, where Loyola blanked Fairfield, and for the first time this season, held an opponent scoreless in the first half of play. The Greyhound offense, meanwhile, showed its quick-striking capabilities with two more goals in a matter of seconds in the opening minutes of the second stanza.
Koppens set up junior Ryan Cunningham for the Greyhounds' seventh goal of the game, and on the ensuing face-off won by Michael Atkinson, Koppens bounced home his second goal of the day to give Loyola its eight-goal halftime advantage.
The Greyhounds maintained their big lead in the second half with five more goals, including one from sophomore Cooper MacDonnell, who leads the Greyhounds in goals scored this season with 19 on the year.
Overall, Loyola produced nine goal scorers in the win with Finnerty, Koppens, Landry and junior Jimmy Daly scoring two goals apiece. On the defensive end, freshman goalie Jake Hagelin made nine saves in 53 minutes of action.
Loyola is now 6-0 in the ECAC and wins its first league title since joining the conference in 2005. The Greyhounds, who earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2007, are in the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
The Greyhounds, now 7-4 overall, close ECAC play next Saturday at Hobart and wrap up the regular season on Saturday, May 3 against defending national champion Johns Hopkins. Next Saturday's game at Hobart is slated for a 2 p.m. start.