Entering the season, Loyola coach Dave Cottle predicted his team would struggle offensively, having lost three players who accounted for half the team's goals last year. But yesterday, nothing negative could be said of the Greyhounds' offense.
No. 6 Loyola distributed goals among 13 players en route to an 18-1 thrashing of Fairfield before 1,232 fans at Curley Field. It was the Greyhounds' 11th straight season-opening win, and their largest margin of victory since a 26-8 win over C. W. Post in 1990.
"We know we are going to struggle scoring goals this year, and it was good to a lot of players getting into the scoring list," Cottle said. "It was also great to see every player getting into the game. That doesn't happen very often."
Loyola (1-0) scored on five of its first seven shots, and went on to net 15 goals before Fairfield midfielder Devin Laden scored with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
Senior attackman Sean Heffernan (Dulaney) had two goals and three assists and junior midfielder Del Halladay added a goal and three assists for Loyola, which had no player with more than two goals and played its second unit the entire fourth quarter. Freshmen Kevin Haynes, Mike Keeney and Greg Carroll combined for four goals in their debuts.
However, the Greyhounds were facing a team in only its second year of existence and with freshman goalie Sam Peterson (Broadneck) in his first collegiate game. Peterson finished with eight saves, as the Greyhounds whipped 51 shots at him.
Tom McClelland, a 1988 All-American goalie for Loyola and graduate of St. Mary's High School, is in charge of building the Fairfield program, which went 2-10 in its first year. McClelland previously coached the goalies at Loyola (1989-90) and was the defensive coordinator at Maryland (1991-92).
"This is as tough as it is going to get for us," said McClelland, who made his head coaching debut in his home state. "We are just glad to play and get the exposure here. We want to show possible recruits what we are about."
Loyola will face a more physical challenge today at 1 p.m. at Curley Field, when the Greyhounds play Adelphi, top-ranked and defending national champion in Division II. The Panthers lost to Loyola, 13-9, last year.
"We just have to change our focus," Cottle said. "We have a lot of respect for them, and we know it will be a tough game."
But some players are already looking toward next week's showdown with No. 2 North Carolina.
"I guess it's good to get the win, but they're [Fairfield] rebuilding," said Heffernan, who scored twice and had two assists during the game-opening five-goal spurt. "We have to look forward to playing the big guys."
Loyola outshot the Stags 51-10, controlled 16 of 22 faceoffs and held them scoreless in four extra-man opportunities. Junior goalie Tim McGeeney (North County) and freshman backup Sean Gaiser (Mount St. Joseph) collected five and nine saves, respectively.