By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun
6:56 PM EST, February 25, 2012
The No. 17 Loyola men's lacrosse team's offense was so lethal against rival Towson on Saturday that Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey really didn't want to talk about it.
He doesn't want his players to get too cocky yet.
But most of the nearly 1,500 fans in attendance at Ridley Athletic Complex had to marvel at Loyola's offensive showing as the Greyhounds routed Towson, 13-6.
Attackman Mike Sawyer and midfielder Sean O'Sullivan each scored four goals and attackman Justin Ward (Old Mill) had five assists in what amounted to a shooting drill for the Greyhounds.
They scored just about every way possible: off fast breaks, extra-man opportunities and settled situations. They peppered Towson with 15 shots in the first quarter and virtually put the Tigers away in the second by outscoring them 6-1 for an 8-2 halftime lead.
By then, Toomey was warning his team about taking the Tigers lightly in the final two periods. But after the game, even he had to acknowledge that the Greyhounds were impressive.
"This is a huge game on our schedule, and it used to be the biggest game on our schedule," Toomey said. "I was a little caught off guard myself about our speed offensively. We came out with guns a-blazing."
The Greyhounds (2-0) had talked about possessing this type of offense during fall workouts, but they didn't flex this kind of muscle in their season opener last week against Delaware.
On Saturday, Towson couldn't keep pace with a faster, more explosive Loyola team. Midfielders Scott Ratliff and Pat Laconi started several fast breaks, and Towson couldn't match up with two other Greyhounds midfielders, Chris Layne and O'Sullivan.
With Sawyer also at his disposal, Ward had an easy time finding targets. It was like target shooting except Ward kept finding cutters.
The Greyhounds also ripped multiple 12- to 15-yard shots past Towson goalies Andrew Wascavage and Travis Love (Winters Mill).
"Personally, as a guy who thinks of himself as a feeder, it's a blessing to have so many guys on the outside who can bring it," Ward said. "But we've got guys on the inside who can finish as well. They make my job so much easier. It's just a matter of putting the ball where they want it."
Loyola dominated every phase of the game. The Greyhounds outshot Towson 49-22 and had 32-23 advantage in ground balls. Led by J.P. Dalton, Loyola won 14 of 21 faceoffs.
Towson (1-2) committed 13 turnovers and couldn't handle Loyola's starting defense of Reid Acton, Dylan Grimm and Joe Fletcher. The Tigers didn't have an attackman who could carry them or a midfielder who could break down a defense.
It was surprising that the Tigers played so poorly against a rival from several miles down the road.
"Beat down. They beat us in every aspect of the game," first-year Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said. "I thought were prepared coming into the game. We did not put any sort of effort onto the field to play against a team like Loyola. I will take 100 percent credit for it, and I have to better prepare our team day to day so we can come out here and win.
"It's frustrating. I think we're doing some solid things offensively, but sometimes we're not running them the right way with the right tempo or speed. We are getting decent looks at times, but sometimes we're not burying the ball in the back of net or sometimes the goalie makes a great save. We've got to find some answers. We've got to be able to answer the bell."
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