Joe Cummings has scored some major goals in his lacrosse career at Loyola. Yesterday's second one might have been the biggest.
The senior circled around the net with 3:27 left in the game, eluded a defender and fired a hard shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net to give the No. 3 Dons a 10-9 win over second-ranked Calvert Hall (9-1, 3-1 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) at Loyola.
Steele Stanwick led Loyola with three goals and two assists, and Michael Brashears led the Cardinals with three goals.
"I cut in front, found a weak spot in the defense, and I let it fly," Cummings said. "Their defense played great, and I was lucky enough to get it to fall."
The goal capped a seesaw battle between the rivals. Loyola (7-2, 4-0), behind goals by Alek Ferro, Stanwick and Anthony Golden, sprinted out to a 3-1 lead. The Cards scored three straight of their own (two by Brashears and one by Jason McFadden), to take a 4-3 lead.
Calvert Hall dominated possession early, but Loyola tightened its defense and forced the Cardinals into many sloppy possessions in the third and fourth quarter. When Calvert Hall penetrated the defense, goalie M.J. Leonard (12 saves) came up big time after time.
Loyola took command, 9-7, on Cummings' first goal, but Calvert Hall came roaring back. The Cards cut the margin on a goal by Patrick Fanshaw with 1:27 left in the third quarter, and then tied it at 9 on a goal by Ryan Gutowski with 7:00 left to play.
"If there's ever a game that shows how close the talent level and ability are in the A Conference, it's this game," Dons coach Jack Crawford said. "There are no gimmes in this league."
The win keeps the Dons undefeated in the league, and Cummings says the victory, which prompted Loyola fans to rush the field, will only help Loyola.
"This win gives us a lot of confidence," said Cummings, who will play for Maryland next season. "They have a very well-coached team, and it's always great to beat your rival. I've dreamed of scoring the winning goal in this game since I was a kid, and now I got to do it. That's pretty special."