Loyola's offense played the first half of their game against visiting Severn like a high-powered engine that needed a tuneup. Luckily for the Dons, they found the gas pedal in the form of Steele Stanwick.
Stanwick, a senior who will play at the University of Virginia next year, scored five goals, three of them in the second half, to lead No. 2 Loyola to a 15-11 win over the visiting Admirals in an Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game. Stanwick also contributed four assists. Alex Cramer led Severn with three goals.
After Severn's Zach Swerdloff scored an unassisted goal with 7:36 left in the third quarter to give the seventh-ranked Admirals (10-7, 2-4) a 7-6 lead, Loyola went on a 6-0 run that straddled the third and fourth quarters to take a 12-7 lead and put the game away. Stanwick scored two goals and assisted on two others during that stretch.
"The way we play, it takes us a while to get going," Stanwick said. "We made some adjustments at the half, and then things finally started to click. We did a much better job on the ground balls and on our transition game."
The win puts Loyola (9-3, 6-1) back on track after losing, 17-7, to top-ranked Gilman earlier in the week. Stanwick was candid in his assessment of how the Dons played in that game and how important this win was.
"We got smoked against Gilman," he said. "We really needed to get back in the win column today against a good team. We have [fourth-ranked] McDonogh next, so we need to keep working hard."
Loyola coach Jack Crawford, while grateful for the win, was not happy with the way his team played.
"We played well enough to win, but we didn't play a complete game," Crawford said. "While I'm always pleased with a win, we made too many mental mistakes and gave away too many second chances on defense. The upside is we had enough fight in us to make up for the mistakes."
Crawford said having Stanwick's leadership is a major reason the Dons can overcome obstacles like yesterday and win tight games.
"We are blessed with some great leaders on our team, and he's one of them," Crawford said. "We were a little lost today [in the first half], and he's one of those players who has the ability to lead us out of the woods."