College Lacrosse

Pat Spencer, Loyola Maryland beat Duke, 16-11, in NCAA men's lacrosse tourney

All week, Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse coach Charley Toomey and attackman Pat Spencer insisted that the Greyhounds were a much different squad from the one that was humbled by Duke, 15-6 on March 12.

Loyola certainly proved that Toomey and Spencer knew what they were talking about. Spencer produced a game-high eight points and freshman goalkeeper Jacob Stover made a game-best 16 saves to propel the seventh-seeded Greyhounds to a 16-11 victory over the visiting Blue Devils in an NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday afternoon.


An announced 2,586 at Ridley Athletic Complex also watched senior attackman Zach Herreweyers match Duke junior attackman Jack Bruckner with six goals each, and junior long-stick midfielder Ryan Fournier help limit senior midfielder Myles Jones to zero goals on five shots and three assists.

Loyola improved to 13-3 and extended its win streak to nine. The Greyhounds advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since the program's run to the NCAA title in 2012. They will meet the winner of Sunday's first-round contest between Towson (15-2) and No. 2 seed and reigning national champion Denver (13-2) in Columbus, Ohio, on May 22.


The Greyhounds snapped a two-game losing skid in the first round of the NCAA postseason and defeated the Blue Devils in the tournament for the first time in three attempts. More importantly, the team laid to rest any ghosts from that regular-season loss that had many observers convinced that Duke would advance to the quarterfinals for the 11th time in 12 tries.

"I think we had a little bit of an edge sitting in this room all week, watching our film from the last time we played them," Toomey said. "We knew that we didn't put our best foot forward."

Loyola scored the game's first three goals and never trailed. The closest the Blue Devils got was 3-2 with 3:24 left in the first quarter and 4-3 with 13:39 left in the second and 6-5 with 6:03 to go in the first half. But the Greyhounds continued to pull ahead and maintain some distance.

Bruckner scored all six of Duke's first-half goals, but Spencer (Boys' Latin) countered with a three-goal, three-assist display in the first two quarters to lift Loyola to a 9-6 advantage at halftime.

The Blue Devils opened the third period with their first goal from a player other than Bruckner when senior midfielder Deemer Class (Loyola Blakefield) converted a pass from Jones just 48 seconds in.

But junior attackman Zack Sirico's goal with the shot clock on with 10:53 remaining in the third kicked off a 3-0 run for the Greyhounds, and Herreweyers scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Sirico and redshirt junior midfielder Brian Sherlock each notched two goals and one assist as Loyola attacked the interior of Duke's defense with hard-charging dodges and slick passing.

"The one thing we wanted to do was make them slide, really attack the goal," said Herreweyers, who scored six goals on a game-high 13 shots. "We thought we'd be really successful if we made them make that first slide and get it around to that backside. I think they really struggled with that second and third recovery, and it really worked out today."


The Blue Devils took more shots (44-43), collected more ground balls (44-30), and dominated on faceoffs. After winning 82.6 percent (19 of 23) of his draws and scooping up 15 ground balls in the first meeting, Duke junior Kyle Rowe won 74.2 percent (23 of 31) and corralled 17 loose balls Saturday. But the team's advantage in draws was wiped out by its inability to protect the ball. Duke committed 19 turnovers compared to Loyola's 11.

"They capitalized on the turnovers that we made," said an emotional Jones, who turned the ball over a game-high six times. "It was tough. They were sliding quickly and double-teaming us and we weren't really communicating well enough to be in a spot to succeed."

Fournier (two assists, two caused turnovers and four ground balls) and sophomore Zac Davliakos (one caused turnover) were superb in containing Jones, who had five goals and three assists against the Greyhounds earlier in the year.

"The coaches put in an awesome plan for us just to press him out where he is," Fournier said. "Not deny him the ball, but make him catch it further away from the goal so that he can't get that big bull dodge going against me. We were trying to put him down to his left with bad angles. The plan just worked."

Class finished with one goal and two assists for Duke (11-8), and senior attackman Case Matheis added three assists. But coach John Danowski said Loyola was simply the better team.

"We outshot Loyola today, we out-ground-balled them, we won 23 out of 31 faceoffs, but they were the better lacrosse players," he said. "They had better players, and they made plays. … Statistically, you look at it and you say, 'Wow, you guys must have won by a bunch.' That's not true today."