Holy Cross had just wrapped up a 13-12 win against reigning Patriot League champion Loyola Maryland at Ridley Athletic Complex and improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. But Michael Ortlieb was already turning his attention to his team's next game against No. 13 Harvard on Monday.
"Quick turnaround," said the junior goalkeeper, who made 13 saves. "On Monday, we have Harvard at home. So that's a big game for us. We're looking forward to that."
That's the nature of college lacrosse, but the Crusaders will certainly take a little time to enjoy the victory. The No. 8 Greyhounds' loss was their first in the conference since joining for the 2014 season. And as Holy Cross coach Judd Lattimore pointed out, Loyola had already defeated a pair of top 20 opponents in then-No. 17 Penn State and No. 16 Towson and had lost to then-No. 9 Virginia by only one goal.
"Loyola's a very good team," Lattimore said. "Coming down here to their place, they're tough to beat. They've already beaten some good teams. They beat Penn State this year, they beat Towson, who beat Hopkins. So they're a very good team, and to come down here and play well, that was something we felt we were moving toward. I think our guys have worked hard, and you saw that today on the field."
The Crusaders began their season with a 10-9 win over Fairfield on Feb. 14. It was the program's first victory over the Stags, who had won the previous eight meetings. But Saturday's outcome was even more stunning, as Holy Cross had never beaten a ranked opponent until Saturday and had been humbled, 16-4, by the Greyhounds on Feb. 22, 2014.
Like his teammate, however, senior attackman Clay Haarmann said Holy Cross was prepared to move on.
"Loyola's a great team, and we're very happy with what we were able to accomplish today, but that's just one step in the road," he said. "We have a lot of goals we would still like to accomplish. We're very happy today, but we're ready to move on."
Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said the Crusaders reminded him of the Loyola program that he took over in 2006.
"Quite honestly, I see that Holy Cross team as a very similar team," he said. "They were hungry. We knocked off No. 2 Georgetown [in 2006], we knocked off [No. 1] Duke [in 2007] when they were in the top five, and we really played hard. My hat's off to Holy Cross. They played hard today."
Circling back to "Three Things to Watch" …
1) Another rotation in the cage? Just as he did in Wednesday's 15-11 defeat of Towson, Toomey made another change in the net, replacing senior Pat McEnerney with freshman Grant Limone with 3:52 left in the second quarter. Limone (six goals allowed and three saves) finished with better numbers than McEnerney (seven, one), but all seven goals McEnerney surrendered were either from in front of the cage or on the crease, which troubled Toomey.
"Whoever's out there, we've got to give him a chance," he said. "When I made the decision to pull P-Mac, I apologized to him because we just never let him get his feet under himself. We just had to light a fire, and I was hoping that was going to be the fire a little earlier than I would have liked in making that change. But we're going to hopefully go back and learn from this."
2) More runs for the second midfield? The second line got limited playing time as the Greyhounds found themselves in a deep hole and relied primarily on their starters to try to mount a comeback. But the offense struggled to find its rhythm, especially in the second and third quarters. Senior attackman Nikko Pontrello, who posted a game-high six points on two goals and four assists, said the unit lacked intensity in those periods.
"I just thought our transition from the first quarter to the second quarter and second quarter to the third quarter was different," he said. "In our first quarter and fourth quarter, we put a ton of shots up on the cage, and we put a lot of pressure on them. In the middle of the game, I didn't think we took it to them as we know we could have. It wasn't anything that they were doing differently throughout the game. I just thought we could have executed better."
3) Pouncing on ground balls? A furious snow storm that blanketed the field in minutes and forced officials to switch out the usual white ball for an orange one affected Loyola's preference to run in transition and play fast. But the Greyhounds scooped up 36 ground balls to the Crusaders' 27 and won 20 of 28 faceoffs, and Toomey refused to cite the adverse weather conditions as a factor in the setback.
"Obviously, it was a little bit of a challenge for both teams," he said. "I think a team that wants to run and wants to play fast and try and draw slides and throw back and get good looks, clean looks at the cage, yeah, that affected us. But Holy Cross was out there, and they were playing in it, too."