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Postscript from Loyola Maryland at Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse

When the selection committee for the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament begins in May its evaluations for the 16-team field, No. 5 Johns Hopkins' 14-13 overtime win against No. 9 Loyola Maryland on Saturday at Homewood Field in Baltimore will likely be a pivotal factor for both teams.

For the Blue Jays (3-0), the victory is another feather in the cap against an opponent that is still the favorite to capture the Patriot League championship and still has upcoming games against No. 13 Towson, No. 15 Duke and No. 17 Navy to bolster its profile.

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"That's an important win because that's a resume-builder for later on, and that's one you can put in your pocket for later on," coach Dave Pietramala said. "I think that's a really well-coached team, and I think that's a good team. … I just think it's a good solid win over a really good team."

For the Greyhounds (0-2), the loss is another one-goal setback against a top-10 team after a 16-15 decision against No. 7 Virginia on Feb. 11. The narrow margins of loss might not sway the selection committee that much, but if Johns Hopkins and Virginia continue to collect wins and fortify their RPI and strength of schedule numbers, the setbacks might not be that detrimental.

"We're going to be Blue Jays fans for the rest of the season just like we're going to root for Virginia," coach Charley Toomey said. "We need them to go on a run, and we need them to have a strong strength of schedule and RPI. But as [sophomore attackman] Pat [Spencer] said, there's so much lacrosse. We can't worry about that. What we have to hold onto is that we played two quality teams and as we go into the conference, we've got to have some confidence that we can score goals and that we can fix a few things based on the mistakes that we're making, and we'll let our resume stand where it is at the end. It's too early to be talking about that stuff."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Loyola's defense. Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Mike Perkins' goal off a pass from Spencer (Boys' Latin) with 10 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Greyhounds a 10-7 advantage. But they failed to protect the lead because they could not defend Johns Hopkins' picks. On their ensuing four-goal run, at least two of those goals occurred on pick plays behind the Loyola cage. And junior midfielder Joel Tinney's game-winner with 1:47 left in overtime was a result of a well-executed fake flip with junior midfielder Patrick Fraser that had several Greyhound defenders collapsing on Fraser and leaving Tinney wide open from about eight yards out.

"They did expose us in the two-man game," Toomey conceded. "We're going to look at the picking game, and that's going to be something that needs to be corrected going forward."

2) Johns Hopkins' approach. The Blue Jays were not entirely certain which goalkeeper would start in the net for Loyola, but they managed to score 14 goals against Jacob Stover (McDonogh) and his defense. Still, the score could have been much worse if not for the sophomore, who made 14 saves including several of the point-blank variety against senior attackman Wilkins Dismuke, senior midfielder Cody Radziewicz and freshman attackman Cole Williams among others.

"Our goalie battled," Toomey said. "Last week, we didn't get saves as much, and I don't think it was a product of him playing poorly. I thought it was more of a product of us defensively. I thought when we played pretty decent defense in front of Stover today, I thought he stepped up and made enough saves for us to win the game."

3) Loyola's Big 4. After Spencer, redshirt senior midfielder Brian Sherlock and senior midfielder Romar Dennis combined for zero goals and three assists against Virginia, they found their scoring touch Saturday. Sherlock had four goals and one assist, Spencer added one goal and four assists and Dennis posted one goal. Spencer, who battled senior defenseman Nick Fields, nearly had a chance in overtime to take a shot at graduate goalkeeper Gerald Logan from about five yards at a somewhat sharp angle right of the cage. But after drawing a second Johns Hopkins defender, he elected to pass the ball for Sherlock at the left point, and Logan made the save to set up Tinney's heroics.

"I thought we did a really nice job of defending [Spencer] today," Pietramala said. "I thought Nick Fields and the group did a good job. But he's the kind of player that when he draws a slide, he knows exactly where the ball goes. It's the basketball in him, and he did exactly probably what he should have done, which is he threw the ball up top and they had a time-and-room shot. We were just fortunate that Gerald made a very good save."

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