May 7, 2005
Baltimore, Md. - For about 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon, it looked like the Loyola Greyhounds would upset No. 1 Johns Hopkins in their homecoming at Homewood Field. Five unanswered third quarter goals; however, lifted the Blue Jays to a 12-6 win and the first undefeated regular season in Division I men's lacrosse since Loyola's 12-0 year in 1999.
"We played as good as we have all season in the first half of today's game," says Loyola Head Coach Bill Dirrigl. "Johns Hopkins won face-offs in the third quarter and that changed everything."
Loyola controlled the ball for 13 minutes of the first quarter, won all five first-quarter face-offs, but only had one goal to show for its efforts. The Greyhounds had several good looks at the cage, including a point-blank shot from freshman Shane Koppens at the 11 minute mark, but Johns Hopkins drew first blood with a goal from Kyle Barrie at 9:28 of the period.
Senior Pat Shek tied the game less than two minutes later, taking a feed from senior Chris Einhorn and firing the ball past Hopkins keeper Jesse Schwartzman. The Greyhounds remained aggressive, but the Blue Jays capitalized on turnovers and despite Loyola's time of possession advantage, led 3-1 after 15 minutes of play.
Sophomore Greg Leonard, who entered the game with six goals in Loyola's last two games, brought the Greyhounds within one with an unassisted bullet at 6:28 of the second quarter. After a quick response from Johns Hopkins to give the Jays a 4-2 lead, Leonard once again brought the `Hounds within one with his team-leading fifth extra-man goal of the season.
Although it won more face-offs, recorded more shots and more groundballs than Johns Hopkins did in the first half, Loyola still trailed 4-3 at intermission. Unable to take advantage of a dominant first-half effort, the Greyhounds fell further behind the top-ranked Blue Jays, who scored five unanswered goals in the third quarter.
Sophomore Andrew Spack started a late Loyola rally with an extra-man goal from 15-yards out to cut the deficit to eight. Craig Georgalas made the score 12-5 at 1:56 and freshman Paul Richards, who scored his first career goal last week, scored for the second straight game for the final six-goal margin.
"Johns Hopkins is a very good team," says Dirrigl. "They are well coached and deserve to be the No. 1 team in the country."
With the win, Johns Hopkins completes its first undefeated regular season since 1995 and seals up the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Greyhounds close the season with an overall record of 5-8, losing five of those games by two goals or less.
"It's been a hard year with many close games," adds Dirrigl. "Hopefully we've learned from it and it will make us a better team. Five of our top six scorers are back, not only for next season, but for the next two seasons. I think this team is very close to becoming something very special."