Loyola braces for Princeton in playoffs Defending champ tough at home


Loyola College lacrosse coach Dave Cottle enjoyed Saturday night's 19-8 win over Navy for only a few hours, and then it was time to prepare for Princeton.

Tenth-seeded Loyola (8-4) will meet No. 2 Princeton (12-1) Saturday (1 p.m.) in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals at Palmer Stadium. In other quarterfinal matchups Saturday, No. 1 North Carolina (12-1) plays host to No. 8 Army; No. 5 Virginia (10-4) is at No. 4 Johns Hopkins (10-3) and sixth-seeded Hofstra (10-5) travels to No. 3 Syracuse (9-2).

"Princeton is the defending national champion, they have won 25 of their last 28 games and they haven't lost a home game in the last two years," said Cottle. "That's all I need to know about them.

"The road gets tougher every step you take," he said.

Princeton has only lost to North Carolina this season, and the Tigers have three of the best players in the country in defenseman David Morrow, goalie Scott Bacigalupo and attackman Kevin Lowe.

"Lowe is the quarterback of the team and they have a bunch of other guys, like Taylor Simmers and Scott Conklin, who give them a real good mesh," said Cottle.

Cottle said he did not know if Morrow would match up with Greyhounds attackman Kevin Beach. Loyola has beaten Princeton in two scrimmages the past two years, but Morrow did not play against Beach.

Someone, though, has to stop Beach, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior out of Mount St. Joseph.

Beach had six goals against Navy, tying the career high he set March 20, when his overtime goal beat Syracuse. He dominated a Navy unit that wasn't the same without injured defenseman Kevin Boardman.

"Beach did a fantastic job of organizing our offense," Cottle said.

Beach has 43 goals for the season, a total bettered only once in Loyola history. He has 112 career goals, No. 3 all-time at Evergreen, and with 71 career assists -- 13 this season -- his 183 points are the third highest in school history.

The combination of Beach and a strong transition game helped Loyola beat Navy. Before Saturday night, the Mids and goalie Kevin Farrington, who stopped 17 shots, hadn't given up more than 11 goals.

Loyola (8-4) rolled up a 32-18 advantage in shots and an 8-1 lead in the first half. The Greyhounds then reacted well to an 8-4 rally by Navy that opened the second half. It was the fourth straight win for the Greyhounds since their April 21 loss at Johns Hopkins.

"I didn't have a true barometer of Navy, but I thought if we played well, we would win," said Cottle. "We had a great effort Saturday night."

This will be the second time Johns Hopkins, which had a first-round bye along with the other top four seeds, will face Virginia. The Blue Jays defeated the Cavaliers, 11-9, on March 27.

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