For the second game in a row, Loyola went to a strategy of holding the ball and killing the clock, and for the second game in a row, the top-seeded Greyhounds had trouble with carrying out the plan.
Clinging to a 7-5 lead late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s NCAA tournament semifinal against No. 4 seed Notre Dame, Loyola employed the game plan it used in the last six minutes of a 10-9 decision over Denver in the quarterfinals on May 19.
The Fighting Irish were able to pressure Loyola’s ball carriers and create turnovers, but the offense was unable to convert those mistakes into goals. Although the execution was lacking, coach Charley Toomey said he didn’t have any regrets about trying to keep the ball away from Notre Dame.
“I hope to be in the same position on Monday,” he said. “The toughest thing to do with lacrosse is to hold the ball with two minutes to go. We changed it up a little bit and put some short sticks out there so if the ball did hit the ground, we could get back and defend. It's just so hard to keep it in the box with 6-versus-7 guys while they're chasing you around. Our philosophy is if that net is open, we're not afraid to shoot it. But it wasn't going to be today. They weren't going to let us get above the goal. So we'll go back to work on it and hopefully have a game plan that's going to allow us to kill a game down there if that's what it takes on Monday.”