The Loyola men's lacrosse team has made a habit of dominating the third quarter this season.
So it's not exactly stunning that the No. 8 Greyhounds did it again, outscoring No. 20 Georgetown 4-1 in that period in an 11-6 victory before an announced 1,264 at Ridley Athletic Complex Wednesday night.
Senior attackman Eric Lusby and junior attackman Mike Sawyer each had two goals in the third quarter to turn a one-goal halftime lead into a four-goal advantage at the start of the final stanza.
For the year, Loyola has outscored its opponents 30-10 in third quarters. But coach Charley Toomey isn't too comfortable with the team's late-game heroics.
"I don't like being labeled a second-half team," he said. "I wish we'd start a little faster, but we did what we needed to do, and I'll give my guys a lot of credit. They've come out of the locker room at halftime and understood that they're in a dire situation, and they need to fight, scrap, and claw, and that's what they did tonight."
The team's 5-4 lead at halftime over the visiting Hoyas rehashed memories of Saturday's 15-8 rout of Air Force, in which the Falcons held a 7-4 advantage at intermission.
"If it's a close game at that point, we know we need to come out in the first five minutes and make a play and keep the tempo in our hands," Lusby said. "If that doesn't happen, the game can go either way. In the past couple games, we were down — 7-4 against Air Force, and we were up by one against Georgetown. So if it's a close game, we just need to come out faster in the first half and try to take advantage."
The Greyhounds, who improved to 7-0 for the first time since 2002, are the only team in Division I to score 10 or more goals in every game this season.
Lusby scored five goals, tying a career best he set in an 11-8 win against Bellarmine on March 3. Sawyer registered three goals, and junior midfielder Sean O'Sullivan chipped in a goal and an assist.
Trailing 5-4 at halftime, the Hoyas (4-2) got the equalizer 1:53 into the third quarter when junior midfielder Brian Casey curled around the right post and shoveled a shot under sophomore goalkeeper Jack Runkel (six saves).
Loyola retook the lead on an extra-man opportunity. With Georgetown junior attackman Zac Guy serving a 60-second penalty for slashing, Lusby passed the ball to Sawyer at the top of the box, and he blistered a shot past senior goalie Matt Winter with 10:44 left in the period.
Sawyer scored again from the right point with 7:53 remaining. Lusby then pasted the top left corner of the net from the right wing with 3:39 left and side-armed another one from the right wing with 22.1 seconds on the clock.
The Greyhounds opened the fourth quarter with goals from Sawyer off a feed from sophomore attackman Justin Ward and Lusby to put the game out of reach.
Sawyer said converting on the man-up chance turned the tide for Loyola.
"We definitely got a little bit of momentum there. … When we get the momentum on our backs, people make plays, and it's hard to stop us," he said.
Casey and junior midfielder Dan McKinney led Georgetown in scoring with two goals each, and Winter finished with a career-high 14 saves despite absorbing his first loss in four starts. But the Hoyas dropped their fifth consecutive game in the rivalry with their former Eastern College Athletic Conference foe, and coach Dave Urick was disappointed with the team's 20 turnovers, including 11 in the second half.
"We were our own worst enemy at times with self-inflicted wounds," he said. "Turnovers that were totally unprovoked. Just throwing it four or five feet over guys' heads more than once or twice. Against a team like that, that's going to bite you in the butt, and it did."