The Loyola men's lacrosse team's quest for its second Patriot League tournament championship continues – barely.
Zach Herreweyers' goal with 5.3 seconds left in double overtime propelled the No. 11 Greyhounds to a 7-6 decision over Bucknell in the second of two Patriot League tournament semifinals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
An announced 1,563 that endured a mist before briefly turning into moderate showers watched Loyola squander three one-goal leads in the fourth quarter before Herreweyers' heroics.
With time running out in the second extra session, junior attackman Zack Sirico had the ball behind the Bison net. He passed the ball to Herreweyers just right of the net, and he fired the ball between freshman goalkeeper Christian Klipstein's legs to send his teammates into a frenzy near the Bucknell cage.
"I kind of just got the ball from Sirico," said Herreweyers, who scored two goals and has now scored 14 goals in his last four games. "I actually didn't realize there were only five seconds left. My defenseman kind of sloughed in a little bit, and I was able to get Zack's attention. I just did my best to shoot around him, use him as a screen, and I got the bounce I needed."
One possession before Herreweyers' game-winner, freshman goalie Jacob Stover turned aside two Bison chances. First, the Hunt Valley resident and McDonogh graduate used his helmet to block a shot from senior attackman Sean Doyle and then trapped an attempt by senior midfielder Thomas Flibotte that he didn't know he had stopped until redshirt senior defenseman David Manning informed him of the ball's location under his legs.
"I got the ball up and out," said Stover, who finished with a game-high 11 stops. "I was just praying. I was just like, 'Give it Herreweyers, I know he's going to put this one in the back of the net.'"
The win over No. 3 seed Bucknell sends the No. 2 seed Greyhounds (11-3) to the Sunday's tournament final at 1 p.m. where they will meet Army (10-5). The Black Knights, the No. 4 seed, defeated top-seeded Navy (10-4) for the second straight year in the semifinals, this time by a score of 9-3.
Freshman attackman Pat Spencer led Loyola with three points on two goals and one assist, and Sirico added one goal and one assist.
With 61 points, Spencer broke a tie with Dave Kasemeyer for the freshman record for points in a season. The Davidsonville resident and Boys' Latin graduate, who became the first player in Patriot League history to win Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year honors outright, grabbed sole possession of 14th place for the most points in program history in a season.
The Greyhounds opened the game's scoring with their bread-and-butter. After Bison freshman midfielder Reed Malas coughed up the ball in his team's offensive zone, sophomore long-stick midfielder Zac Davliakos (Severn) took the ground ball from defense to offense and fired a high-to-high shot past freshman goalie Christian Klipstein with 13 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first quarter.
After that, both sides went through multiple possessions that ended in either turnovers or saves. Spencer then converted a pass from senior midfielder Tyler Albrecht with 3:06 remaining before Bucknell sophomore attackman Will Sands scored on a swim move past sophomore defenseman Foster Huggins with 8.7 seconds left in the first period.
Sands scored his second goal of the contest with 10:49 remaining in the second quarter. Spencer ended a 15:53 drought when he lost his defender off a pick set by freshman midfielder John Duffy and scored from the left side of the crease with 2:13 left in the frame.
Spencer fed Herreweyers for a goal to give Loyola a 4-2 advantage with 6:12 left in the third quarter. But the Bison used scores from junior attackman Quinn Collison and sophomore midfielder Sean O'Brien to draw to a 4-4 tie just 49 seconds into the final frame.
In a 73-second span, Greyhounds redshirt junior midfielder Brian Sherlock scored with 11:45 remaining, O'Brien one-timed a pass from Sands with 10:55 left, and junior attackman Zack Sirico took a pass from Duffy to score with 10:32 remaining.
Bucknell junior midfielder Tommy O'Connor's blast from the left point tied the score at 6-6 with 4:34 left, sending the game into overtime.
The Bison was not the same team that lost to Loyola, 14-3, on March 26 at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore.
"You play them three weeks ago, and things probably went a little easier for us at home," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said. "I don't know that they did a lot of things too differently, but they had some goalie play [where] he really stepped up and played a great game. They just kept battling and made it a 60-plus-minute game."
Sands paced Bucknell (10-5) with two goals and one assist, and O'Brien finished with two goals. Klipstein was credited with just eight saves, but he anchored a defensive effort that held Loyola to more than three goals below its season average.
"I thought we made it really hard for them to get to the spots they want to get to," coach Frank Fedorjaka said. "I thought we played real physical on-ball defense and we timed up our slides and slid with physicality as well."