March 2, 2009
BALTIMORE - Life away from Baltimore continues for the Loyola men's lacrosse team on Tuesday, as it travels to non-conference foe Siena for a 1 p.m. start at Siena Turf Field, its second of three road games over a one-week span. On Monday, the Greyhounds moved up four spots to No. 14 in the USILA Coaches Poll, while they maintained their No. 16 ranking in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Poll.
Loyola (2-1, 1-0 ECAC) got its road swing started on the right foot, using hat-tricks from senior Shane Koppens and junior Cooper MacDonnell to spell the Nittany Lions, 8-7, Saturday at a chilly Bigler Field. It didn't take long for Koppens, playing in his season debut, to get his name back into the scoring column. The 2008 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year put Loyola on the board just 1:49 into the game and added two goals in a span of 2:30 in the fourth period, including a decisive insurance putaway that gave Loyola a two-goal cushion, 8-6. It was Koppens' fifth three-goal game of his Loyola career.
MacDonnell, the team's leading scorer from last year, also had an outstanding game against Penn State, finding the net twice in the first period to give Loyola a 3-0 lead, which it retained at intermission. The story of the first 30 minutes, though, was the Greyhounds' dominant defensive unit, which held the Nittany Lions to just 12 shots en route to its first shutout half of the early 2009 season.
Junior Steve Layne helped spear the unit, tying Taylor Ebsary with a team-high four groundballs, while limiting Penn State's top attackman Jack Forster (seven points entering the game) to only one goal. For their efforts, Koppens and Layne were named to the ECAC Honor Roll on Monday.
Siena (1-2) is coming off a big 15-2 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday at a neutral site in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. Chris Zarins, Bryan Neufeld and Chris Roth all tallied hat-tricks for the Saints, who accumulated 40 shots on goal and scored the first seven goals of the game. It was Zarins' fifth five-plus point game of his career.
Last season, the Saints knocked off then-ranked No. 17 Loyola, 5-4, at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field in mid-March. Siena broke a 3-3 halftime with two goals in the third period, and limited the Greyhounds to just one second-half goal. Siena's Brent Herbst, who has started two games this year, had 16 saves. Four different players--MacDonnell, Collin Finnerty, Taylor Ebsary and Paul Richards--found the net for Loyola.
In its season opener, Siena jumped on No. 4 Johns Hopkins early, taking a 3-2 lead into the second quarter before giving up nine unanswered goals to the Blue Jays in an 11-3 season-opening loss on February 20 in Baltimore. The Saints were dropped in double-overtime, 8-7, by the University of Albany a week later. Herbst had 13 saves in the loss, but Siena couldn't overcome the Great Danes' Joe Resetarits, who scored four goals on the afternoon, including one with three tics remaining to force overtime. Albany won the game on a man-up goal 32 seconds into the double-OT frame.
The Greyhounds will culminate their road voyage Saturday, when they travel to Durham, N.C., to face 13th-ranked Duke (2-2).