The No. 1 Loyola boys lacrosse team completed a sweep o the three teams it lost to during the regular season by defeating No. 4 Boys' Latin, 11-6, in yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference semifinals.
The victory avenged a 9-8 loss to the Lakers and put the Dons into Friday's 7 p.m. championship game at UMBC Stadium. Loyola (15-3) will meet No. 5 St. Mary's, which upended second-ranked St. Paul's, 8-7, in the other semifinal.
"We approached this game with one thing in mind," said Loyola coach Joe McFadden, whose team has won seven straight since it lost to Boys' Latin. "We lost to Gilman and St. Paul's and we got a chance to play them again and we beat them. We lost to this team and we had the opportunity to come back and play them. Today was simply about fixing that and getting to play a couple more days."
Senior midfielder Bill Evans led the way offensively for Loyola with five goals and two assists, but it was a Karl Zeller-led defensive unit that held the Lakers scoreless for nearly 18 minutes that enabled the visiting Dons to take a 7-5 lead into the fourth quarter.
"We came out slow in the first half and we just got beat to death on ground balls," said Evans. "The second half we picked up our intensity, got it together as a team and started to put the ball in the goal."
Two unassisted goals by Andy Sharretts and Scott Hochstadt and a third by Brad Gilroy on a feed from Hochstadt gave the host Lakers a 3-0 lead with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
Despite its limited possession, Loyola managed to tie the score at 3-3 following two goals by Evans and one from senior midfielder Mike Keeney.
Boys' Latin (13-4) continued to control the faceoffs in the second quarter and outshot the Dons 10-3 in the period but found itself tied at the half, 5-5.
"There's no question in my mind that we should have been winning by three or four goals at halftime," said Lakers coach Bob Shriver. "But, that's to Loyola's credit because they stuck in there and they kind of got to us athletically a little bit in the second half."
Evans opened the second half with a goal at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter that gave the Dons their first lead, 6-5. Senior Greg Smith added an extra-man goal for Loyola, giving the Dons a two-goal lead with one quarter remaining.
As if things weren't going bad enough, the Lakers had to play the first three minutes of the fourth quarter a man down when an official ruled that Gilroy was playing with an illegal stick.
Before Gilroy was released from the penalty box, Greg Hobelmann and Paul Corto would tack on goals to give the Dons a 9-5 advantage.
"Stick checks are a tough part of the game," said Shriver. "We haven't had one in three years and we get one in the biggest game of the year."