Any chance of Colgate pulling an upset disappeared in a 92-second span early in the fourth quarter as No. 1 Loyola Maryland defeated the Raiders, 12-6, in a Patriot League tournament semifinal Friday at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Colgate (9-6 overall, 4-5 Patriot League) had managed to pull within 7-4 with two goals in the closing minute of the third period, but the Greyhounds opened the final quarter with three straight goals, stunning the Raiders and turning the momentum.
Loyola (13-1, 9-0) is scheduled to play the winner of Friday night's other Patriot League semifinal between Lehigh and Army on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the conference championship.
“Because we played defense and got stops, it allowed our guys to run,” said Loyola coach Charley Toomey. “We wanted to stay with running, and even if we made mistakes, we had to be willing to get back and defend long possessions.
“To go on those little runs, and we talked about staying in the moment and staying in the run, will take the wind out of your sails when you put two or three goals together. I think our guys did a good job battling to keep us in our runs,” Toomey said.
The Greyhounds took control of the game when attackman Justin Ward (Old Mill) beat junior defenseman Matt Yeager from the left of the goal to push Loyola's lead to 8-4 with 13:31 left in the contest.
Fourteen seconds later, Greyhounds long-pole midfielder Ryan Fournier took a pass down the middle from midfielder Brian Sherlock for a goal and then senior attackman Brian Schultz scored an extra-man goal with 11:59 remaining.
The run finished off Colgate, which plays a deliberate style on offense.
Loyola led 6-2 at the half in a game that looked more like basketball than lacrosse. It was more about one-on-one instead of team play, and time and again the Greyhounds backed Colgate defenders in for easy goals.
Colgate junior attackman Ryan Walsh opened the scoring on a high shot with 12:12 left in the first period, but Loyola scored three straight for a 3-2 lead at the end of the quarter.
Ward backed in defender John Baker for a goal with 11:14 left, and senior midfielder Kevin Ryan, after a great dodge to get inside the restraining line, scored about seven minutes later. Sophomore midfielder Jeff Chase (Boys' Latin) closed out the scoring for Loyola in the quarter on a low bouncer with 2:41 remaining.
The Greyhounds outscored the Raiders 3-0 in the second quarter. Schultz scored 38 seconds in, fellow attackman Nikko Pontrello backed in senior defenseman Bobby Lawrence for a goal with 4:21 left in the quarter and Schultz did the same on Leo Stouros for the final goal of the half with 3:06 left.
“We allowed them to dictate the game the last time we played them,” Ward said of a 10-8 Greyhounds win March 29 in Hamilton, N.Y. “Our goal today was to definitely attack their defensemen, and we went to work with some one-on-ones and two-on-twos.”
There was a 38-minute delay in the third quarter because of lightning and thunder. Schultz extended Loyola's lead on an extra-man goal with 5:22 left in the third period, but Colgate rallied in the remaining time.
Walsh beat senior defenseman Joe Fletcher from behind the net for a goal with 1:03 left in the quarter, and sophomore midfielder Cameron Williams connected on a long-range shot to pull the Raiders within 7-4 with two seconds remaining in the third.
“I thought we let Nikko and Justin get into us too much,” said Colgate coach Mike Murphy. “We started to become more aggressive there at the end, but Loyola just outexecuted us.”
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