Bradman, U.S. hold off Loyola men's lacrosse in Champion Challenge, 17-13

Sam Bradman (Salisbury) finished with three goals and two assists to earn Most Valuable Player honors as Team USA defeated Loyola, 17-13, in the Champion Challenge at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Sunday afternoon.

Eleven players scored for the U.S., the reigning Federation of International Lacrosse world champion, while nine had goals for the defending NCAA Division I champion Greyhounds.


Junior Justin Ward (Old Mill) paced Loyola with four points on one goal and three assists, while four Greyhounds -- seniors Davis Butts, Phil Dobson and Mike Sawyer, in addition to sophomore Nikko Pontrello -- tallied two goals in the exhibition game. Graduate student Harry Kutner dished out three assists, while junior Sean O'Sullivan had one goal and two assists and junior Brian Schultz had one goal and one assist. Senior Josh Hawkins and junior Kevin Ryan each tacked on one goal and senior Chris Layne rounded out the scoring with one assist.
For the U.S., Chazz Woodson had three goals, while Matt Gibson tacked on two.
Matt Danowski found the back of the net first for the U.S. at the 14:01 mark, but the Greyhounds took advantage of two man-up situations to take their first lead at 9:42. Ward bounced a pass from O'Sullivan past goalie John Galloway at 12:27 before Schultz stuck a shot in the top corner from Kutner.
Ben Hunt (Severna Park) then evened the score at 8:47.
Sawyer backed up a wide shot around the six-minute mark and sent a quick restart around the back of the goal to Pontrello, who found Ward for the score at 5:44. The Greyhounds held their lead until Kevin Leveille scored with 8.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter to knot the score at 3.
The U.S. scored three more goals to stretch its lead to 6-3 at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter, but Butts fired two-straight goals to bring Loyola within one with 4:54 to play in the half. Layne set up the first goal by flipping a pass to Butts at the top of the box, and Butts ripped a high shot past Scott Rodgers.
Butts tacked on a second goal 34 seconds later, assisted by O'Sullivan.
A third straight goal from the Greyhounds at 2:39 evened the score for a fourth time when Dobson scored off a pass from Ward.
The U.S. closed out the half with two goals in the final two minutes, though, taking an 8-6 advantage into the break.
Pontrello started second-half scoring by slipping his second goal of the afternoon into the back of the net and then after six minutes of scoreless play, Dobson knotted the score at 8, scoring on a pass from Kutner.
A quick goal from Bradman sparked a three-goal run by the United States that O'Sullivan end as time expired in the third quarter, cutting Loyola's deficit to 11-9.
The U.S. tested freshman Jimmy Joe Granito when he entered the game in the fourth quarter, tallying two goals, but Granito was able to settle in as the Greyhounds rattled off three unanswered to pull within 13-12 at the 11:35 mark. Sawyer notched his first in the run before Hawkins dodged defenders, split a double team and stuck a shot into the back of the net. Ryan capped the streak with a goal from Schultz.
The run didn't quiet Team USA though, as it slipped two goals past senior Michael Bonitatibus to take a 15-12 advantage.
Sawyer's second goal of the day pulled Loyola within two with 7:42 to play, but that would be as close as the Greyhounds would get as Team USA closed out the game with two goals.
In goal, junior Jack Runkel led the way with nine saves, while Granito stopped four shots and Bonitatibus one.
Loyola will open its season Feb. 16 when it travels to Delaware.

Other Champion Challenge action


On Saturday, Peet Poillon (UMBC, Howard Community College) scored twice and Steele Stanwick (Loyola High) added a goal as Team USA defeated Notre Dame, 10-7. In women's action, Team USA defeated two-time defending national champion Northwestern, 16-9, on Sunday. On Saturday, Team USA defeated Syracuse, 19-11. Midfielders Kelly Schwarzmann (Maryland, Century) and Kelly Berger (Hammond) scored a goal apiece for Team USA. Goalie Megan Huether (Maryvale Prep) made seven saves in the win. Earlier Saturday, Team USA defeated England, 20-9, as midfielder Brittany Dashiell (John Carroll) scored twice and Schwarzmann tied for the game high with two assists.