Loyola College lacrosse coach Dave Cottle looks over his list of defensemen, and without hesitation, says they are the best in his 13 years at the school.
And yesterday, the defense did little to prove him wrong as No. 5 Loyola easily defeated Michigan State, 15-1, at Curley Field.
Loyola defensemen Matt Dwan, Brendan Fry, Chris Lloyd and Jamie Hanford shut down Michigan State except for a few brief moments in the third period when Chris Clark scored a goal to ruin the Greyhounds' bid for their first shutout since 1948 when they beat Lehigh, 15-0.
"The defense hustled as much as I've seen in the first two games," said Cottle. "They care, play hard, and go after every ground ball. No question, they are the top group. No comparison."
It's an athletic group, one that can play aggressive man-to-man defense all over the field. And they have size, too. Fry is 6 feet 1 and weighs 190 pounds. Lloyd is 6-0 and 200 and Dwan is 6-1 and 172. Hanford is 6-2 and 215, and he's only a freshman.
Loyola outshot Michigan State, 38-9, yesterday, as the Greyhounds physically pushed the Spartans offense around and out of shooting range.
"There are no big, slow guys here and I think we can match up with anybody," said Dwan. "We're physical, but also quick enough to double team and then get back in position."
With its defense dominating, Loyola's offense had very little trouble scoring against Michigan State. Midfielders Brian Duffy and Mark O'Brien led the Greyhounds with three goals each.
Michigan State .. ..0 .. 0 ..1 ..0 ..-- ..1
Loyola .. ... .. ...5 .. 4 ..3 ..3 ..-- .15