Faceoff Success, 7-0 Run Leads #14 Loyola Past #15 St. John's
March 14, 2009
BALTIMORE - Junior John Schiavone won a career-best 17 of 20 face-offs and senior attackman Shane Koppens scored two goals and two assists as the 14th-ranked Greyhounds overcame an early deficit to hand No. 15 St. John's its first loss of the season, 10-7, on Saturday afternoon in ECAC men's lacrosse action.
Attackman Cooper MacDonnell and midfielder Mike Sawyer added two goals apiece, all coming in a 7-0 Loyola run that spanned the second and third periods. Attackman Collin Finnerty (three) and midfielder Chris Basler (two) both added career highs in assists.
Despite outshooting St. John's 9-8 in the first period, Loyola (5-2, 2-0 ECAC) found itself down 2-0 after a pair of Drew Schanen goals.
Similar to last year's matchup in Queens, N.Y, though, when Loyola used a 9-0 first-half spurt to take the victory over the Red Storm, the Greyhounds had an overwhelming response. This time it was a 6-0 second quarter in favor of the hosts.
Off the opening face-off of the second period, MacDonnell converted a feed from Finnerty that sparked the run. Midfielder Taylor Ebsary scored his first goal of the season with an assist from Finnerty to tie the game 6:26 into the period. Just 20 seconds later, MacDonnell beat goalie Gavin Buckley high for his second of the game to allot Loyola a lead it would never relinquish.
Sawyer, a freshman, would get in on the action next, scoring twice over a two-minute span--the second on a shot from 15 yards off an extra-man opportunity--to earn the first multi-goal game of his career. An unassisted putaway by Koppens with 2:41 put Loyola up 6-2; the four-goal deficit was the largest deficit St. John's had faced all season.
In the second period alone, Schiavone won all six of his face-off attempts, helping Loyola gain valuable extra possessions. He also added a career-best 11 groundballs for the game.
"The difference in the second period was that we went out and won our face-offs," said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey, who improved to a perfect 11-0 in conference home games in his career.
"John (Schiavone) had a heckuva week of preparation, and we settled down defensively and our shots started to fall."
A goal by midfielder Tyler Gale from Basler opened up the third and put Loyola up, 7-2. After goals by St. John's Trevor Michaelsen and Malcolm Miles, midfielder Jake Willcox scored on an unassisted shot from 18 yards out. An unassisted goal by St. John's Carl Iacona with 11 seconds remaining trimmed the Loyola lead to 8-5 going into the final period.
Off a groundball three minutes into the fourth, MacDonnell had a breakaway attempt but his shot was denied by Buckley. On the ensuing possession, Michaelsen scored his second of the game and a goal by attackman Trerence Leach a minute later trimmed the Loyola lead to one, 8-7, with just over 10 minutes left.
But unanswered goals by attackman Matt Langan and Koppens--the latter coming with three minutes on the clock--extended the Loyola lead back to three to put the game away.
Senior long-stick middie P.T. Ricci continued his stellar play, picking up nine of Loyola's season-high 55 groundballs. He also caused six turnovers. In Loyola's two wins this week, Ricci scored a goal and two assists, picked up 22 groundballs and caused 11 turnovers. Sophomore goalie Jake Hagelin played the entire game in the frame and made five saves.
St. John's (4-1, 1-1 ECAC) was led by Michaelsen (2 G, 2 A) and Schanen (2 G), who did not score again after the first period. Buckley made 18 saves in goal.
For the first time in three weeks, Loyola will get a full week of preparation for its next opponent: Massachusetts. Game time for the ECAC matchup between the Greyhounds and the visiting Minutemen is scheduled for next Saturday at 1 p.m.