Loyola coach Dave Cottle called it a stronger will to win. Brown coach Peter Lasagna called it an absence of pressure.
Whatever the reason, Brown has Loyola's number. The season changes, the players change and even the Brown coach changes, but the Bears continue to upset Loyola. It has become old stuff.
No. 12 Brown (2-2) dealt No. 3 Loyola (5-1) its first loss of the season yesterday, 13-10, before 1,550 at Curley Field. It was the fifth straight time Brown beat Loyola at Curley and raised its overall advantage in the rivalry to 8-2. Loyola's only home loss last season was to Brown in the NCAA quarterfinals.
More often than not, Brown has come into the game as the underdog, yet has managed to win. Why?
"Part of it is that we don't feel the pressure," said Lasagna, who's in his third year at Brown. "They're No. 3, playing great and on their home field -- the pressure's on them. Over the years, Brown seems to get up to play teams like this."
Cottle, visibly angry about his team's play, said: "They imposed their will to win on us. They played like their backs were to the wall. We played like things were supposed to go our way. This is the most discouraging thing I've seen here in five years. Their will to win was greater. The game must have meant more to them."
After a first half in which Cottle said "we couldn't have played worse," and trailed 7-4, Loyola rallied for four straight goals in the third quarter. Freshman Todd Vizcarrondo had two of his three during that spree, and Brian Duffy had the goal that tied the score at 8.
Then, unaccountably, the Greyhounds turned listless. Fourteen seconds later, Brown had the lead again, then scored four of the game's final six goals.
"That goal we gave up after we tied the score was a bad one," said Loyola defenseman Matt Dwan, a two-time All-American who had one goal. "It took the wind out of us and gave Brown extra momentum."
Loyola High grad David Evans, one of three Brown players with three goals, was ecstatic after the Bears again worked magic at Curley.
"No, it's not a jinx," the junior attackman said. "We struggled early in the season but kept working hard, so it was just a matter of time. This was a good scrap today."
Cottle was particularly irked that Brown's midfield play was superior. As the Greyhounds marched through their first five games, outscoring opponents, 86-27, midfielders accounted for 60 of the goals.
"On paper, our mids are better," Cottle said. "But Brown's played better. So we're going back to work."