Loyola's attack was clicking far more efficiently than in the regular season. Sophomore goalie Acie Newton was steady throughout and often sensational in the net. And in Friday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse quarterfinal game, the No. 7 Dons were having the better of the play against No. 3 Gilman in all the other important areas of the field.
When it was all added up, the Dons had an impressive 17-13 upset win over the Greyhounds to advance to Tuesday's semifinals at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Loyola, which was seeded sixth and didn't qualify until Mount St. Joseph upset St. Mary's in Tuesday's regular-season finale, improves to 11-8 and will face No. 2 McDonogh, seeded second, on Tuesday.
To get there, the Dons got a three-goal, five-assist performance from Devin McNamara, five goals from Alex Roesner and 18 saves from Newton. Gilman, which got two goals and two assists from Chris Walsch, ends its season with a 12-4 mark.
Loyola started fast, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. And when the Greyhounds settled in and tied the game at 4, the Dons got answers from the potent attack, Newton and elsewhere to maintain an advantage throughout.
"Above all, we knew we would have to get off to a fast start which is something we haven't been very good at this year. And we knew that when we got opportunities early we'd have to find the range and put them in the net — we did that today," Loyola coach Jack Crawford said. "The difference today was that we were cashing in on the opportunities we had and that's been something that was giving us trouble all year."
With the game tied at 4 late in the first quarter, the Dons completely took over , scoring seven of the next eight goals to take an 11-5 halftime lead. McNamara began the run with 32 seconds left in the first quarter, then Roesner closed out the half with two straight goals coming off assists from Ryan Conrad. Midfielder Kevin O'Toole had a strong game on faceoffs and also chipped in two goals.
The Greyhounds tried to rally in the third quarter — getting three straight goals to cut the lead to 12-8 — but they would get no closer, with Newton coming up with timely saves to keep the momentum from completely swinging.
"I've had good leaders this year and they really settled me down today and throughout the week, so I felt ready today," Newton said. "And they really led us on the field, especially early on in the game and we settled down and played a good game."
The Greyhounds, who fell to McDonogh in Tuesday's regular-season finale to miss out on the second seed and quarterfinal round bye, never found any rhythm and coach Brooks Matthews said that was largely due to Loyola's play.
"In a game like this you always give the nod to the team that plays hard and fast and tough, and Loyola did that," he said. "They put us on our heels and we had a tough time getting some momentum. And, to their credit, they kept playing hard and fast and tough."
MIAA A Conference quarterfinals
No. 7 Loyola 17, No. 3 Gilman 14
Goals: L – Roesner 5, McNamara 3, Lombardo 2, Llewellyn 2, O'Toole 2, Jackson, Anderson, Conrad;
G – Morrill 4, Wittich 2, Walsch 2, Ruhl, Greene, DeSmit, Simms, W. McBride, Brown.
Assists: L – McNamara 5, Conrad 4, Williams;
G – Wittich, W. McBride, Brown, Walsch 2.
Saves: L – Newton 18;
G – T. McBride 6.
Half: L, 11-5Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun