It is a game like this that will probably make Loyola's youthful roster age rather quickly.
After watching their five-goal lead trimmed to one and their starting goalie pulled early in the third quarter, the 15th-ranked Greyhounds closed on a four-goal run to beat No. 12 Towson, 14-9, yesterday before 2,370 at Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Sophomore goalie Mike Fretwell, who learned on Thursday that he was going to start the season as a backup, replaced junior T.C. Behm (four saves) and held the Tigers scoreless over the last 29:05.
Fretwell made nine saves in all as the Greyhounds captured their 20th straight season-opening victory.
"Once we got it to 10-9 and they made that goalie change, that kid made five phenomenal saves, said Tigers coach Tony Seaman, whose team got three goals from freshman Jonathan Engelke. "That really was the difference in the game."
The Tigers also were sloppy on offense, committing 21 turnovers and losing the ground ball battle 41-33. Meanwhile, early returns from the offensive facelift Loyola underwent in the offseason were positive.
Eight of the Greyhounds' 14 goals were scored by newcomers. Junior attackman Matt Monfett, a transfer from Duke, scored three goals, while freshman midfielder Greg Leonard and Matt Cassalia had two each.
Junior attackman Chris Einhorn, who played in 13 games last year but didn't score, found the net three times.
"That is going to be the tale of our season," said senior attackman Stephen Brundage, who added two goals and three assists. "We have a couple of older guys and a lot of younger guys, and we wanted to see how good our chemistry was. Luckily, it came together quickly today."
So quickly the Greyhounds led 9-4 with 3:30 left in the second quarter.
But senior midfielder Matt Florio cut the Loyola lead to 10-7 just before halftime.
The Tigers got goals from Brian Myers and Bobby Griebe within six seconds of each other to start the third quarter, prompting Greyhounds coach Bill Dirrigl to call a timeout and pull Behm.
Upon entering, Fretwell kicked out a long shot by Myers and then made three sterling saves in the fourth quarter, robbing Todd MacMullan, Steve Mull and Drew Pfarr.
"I knew I had to stay ready just in case," said Fretwell, a St. Mary's alum. "I think it took making my first save to get into the game."
Meanwhile, on the other end, Einhorn, Monfett and Brundage scored, before Leonard closed the scoring by whipping a shot past Tigers goalie Reed Sothoron (nine saves).
"We got our pants beat against Johns Hopkins on May 7 last year -- 17-6 -- and it hasn't been a good eight months," said Dirrigl, who will likely start Fretwell next Saturday at Hofstra. "We needed a win. Now we just have to get better."
Loyola 6 4 0 4 -- 14
Towson 3 4 2 0 -- 9
Goals: L--Monfett 3, Einhorn 3, Brundage 2, Leonard 2, Cassalia 2, J. Rabidou, Halip; T--Engelke 3, Florio 2, DeFelice, Myers, Griebe, Williams. Assists: L--Brundage 3, Coffman, Georgalas, Monfett, J. Rabidou; T--Eckerl 2, DeFelice, Florio. Saves: L--Behm 4, Fretwell 9; T--Sothoron 9.