WASHINGTON -- It was a day when Loyola coach Dave Cottle and his players listened to each other.
Trailing by four goals, Cottle asked his defensemen whether they preferred man-to-man or zone defenses. The answer completely changed the game.
The No. 7 Greyhounds clamped down on No. 13 Georgetown with a stringent man-to-man defense and ran away with a 16-8 victory before 1,724 at Harbin Field. It marked Loyola's first comeback win from a deficit larger than two goals this season and increased its chances of playing host to a first-round NCAA tournament game.
"To be honest, I had them playing a lot of zone early, and [the Hoyas] were popping the ball all around the goal," Cottle said. "In zone, you sometimes lose sight of your man, and they wanted to play man-to-man. That's when we picked up the tempo."
The Greyhounds (10-2) held Georgetown scoreless for 26:27, limiting the Hoyas to 12 shots in that span. The Loyola offense, which had been dormant for the previous 11 minutes, fed off the defense as it scored 11 straight goals, going from a 6-2 deficit in the second quarter to a 13-6 lead in the fourth.
Senior midfielder Zach Thornton scored all of his season-high four goals in that run, including three consecutive unassisted goals in a 3 1/2 -minute stretch.
"It had a feel of a playoff game with both teams needing to win," Thornton said. "They came out at us hard. But coach said that we needed to come in here ready to play 60 minutes."
And this time the Greyhounds listened to Cottle.
In Loyola's two losses -- to Brown and Syracuse -- the Greyhounds fell behind in the second quarter. They faced a similar scenario against the Hoyas. Georgetown, which is 2-4 against ranked opponents, opened the game like a team needing a win to stay in contention for a NCAA tournament bid.
The Hoyas (9-4) banged Loyola around, grabbing nearly every ground ball and winning eight of the first 11 faceoffs. Chris Remington maneuvered around the Loyola defense for his second point-blank goal to put the Hoyas ahead 6-2.
"In our two losses, our coaches have told us that we haven't played as well as we can," said Loyola goalkeeper Tim McGeeney, who made 16 saves. "They told us not to care about the score, just go out and play harder than Georgetown. They said if we did that, we would be happy with the outcome."
The Greyhounds finally showed resilience, battling back and checking Georgetown's shots on goal. Loyola defenseman Chris Lloyd increased his intensity and shadowed Remington, not allowing the Hoyas' top offensive threat to cut to the crease.
"We really didn't execute well out there," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. "To their credit, they wore us down athletically. No doubt about it."