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Greyhounds Open Season With Big Win At Towson
Feb. 28, 2004
Towson, Md. - Matt Monfett scored three goals and added an assist in his Loyola debut and the Greyhounds dumped No. 10 Towson, 14-9 at Minnegan Field on Saturday afternoon. A well-balanced offensive attack and a stingy defense in the fourth quarter propel the 'Hounds to their 20th straight season-opening win.
"Our defense rose to the occasion; our offense shared the ball," says Loyola Head Coach Bill Dirrigl. "I'm really proud of the way our guys played today."
After Towson took an early 1-0 lead with an even-man goal at 12:55 of the first quarter, freshman Greg Leonard got the 'Hounds on the board with Loyola's second extra-man opportunity of the day. It was another freshman, Jordan Rabidou, who put Loyola on top with his unassisted score at 8:58 of the first quarter.
"A key to this season was seeing how fast we could mesh our veterans and underclassmen," says senior captain Stephen Brundage. "When I was a freshman at Loyola, I was frightened. This class came out and played very well. I couldn't be more proud of the poise they showed."
Junior John Halip drove in Loyola's third goal and one minute later, it was Monfett getting on the board for the first time.
"My man was bating me to go one-on-one," says Monfett. "Stephen [Brundage] set a great pick to give me room. I went around the cage and saw an opening. It felt great."
The 'Hounds continued to pour it on in the first quarter. Freshman Matt Cassalia capped a 5-0 run to give the Green and Grey a 5-1 advantage at 3:20. Towson responded with a pair of quick tallies, but Chris Einhorn ended the period with an unassisted goal of his own.
Ben DeFelice quickly closed the gap to 6-4 with a Towson score only 48 seconds into the second period. The 'Hounds, however, went on another run with Cassalia, Monfett and Brundage scored back-to-back-to-back goals. Towson rallied with a late flurry to end the quarter and the halftime score was 10-7.
The Tigers cut the lead to 10-9 with two third-quarter goals and what seemed like a comfortable lead for the 'Hounds turned into a one-goal game to start the fourth quarter.
"We practiced being down by one goal with one quarter to play," says Dirrigl. "The fourth quarter was a good test for us and I think we passed it."
Loyola scored all four fourth-quarter goals and sophomore Michael Fretwell, who came on as goalie after Towson's ninth goal, pitched a shutout. Fretwell made nine saves in the game's final 29:05, successfully keeping the Tiger attack off the scoreboard. Junior T.C. Behm earned the win and ended the game with four saves of his own.
"All I was thinking about was saving the ball," says Fretwell. "Sometimes its hard coming off the bench in the middle of a game, but I've kept my focus all spring and it paid off today."
Monfett and Einhorn each had three goals for the 'Hounds, Brundage had a team-high five points with two goals and three assists. Both Leonard and Cassalia finished with two goals while Rabidou and Halip had one apiece.
The Greyhounds cleared 19-of-21 opportunities and finished with 46 groundballs to Towson's 34. For the fifth straight meeting between the two squads, a five-goal margin decides the game. Loyola, ranked No. 13 in the preseason coaches' poll, is 1-0 while Towson falls to 0-1.
"This is a big win for us," says Dirrigl. "We've been preparing for this since the season ended last year. Our guys really wanted this win. Now it's time to prepare for next week and another big game."
Loyola heads to Hofstra next Saturday. Faceoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.