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Loyola lacrosse eventually punctures Georgetown goalkeeper in 11-10 win

The Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse team has already enjoyed a few easy games, but Georgetown's Nick Marrocco refused to let Wednesday's be one of them.

The junior goalkeeper made a season-high 17 saves, and the Hoyas made a late challenge. Still, the No. 18 Greyhounds emerged with an 11-10 decision at Ridley Athletic Complex.

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Loyola won its second consecutive game and improved to 5-3. It had to put in some work against Marrocco and Georgetown, which rallied from deficits of 4-1 and 5-2.

"Things were going really well, but Georgetown's goalie wasn't going to hear it," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said. "He played really well. He's probably the hottest goalie we've seen this year. He really kind of slowed the tempo of the game down because all of a sudden now, you're starting to think about some things offensively."

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Marrocco, whose career high is 22 stops in a loss at Denver on March 28, 2016, was especially brilliant in the first half, turning aside eight shots in the first quarter and five more in the second. In the opening period, he stoned senior attackman Zack Sirico from the slot, made a leg save on sophomore attackman Alex McGovern (St. Paul's) from the left side of the crease and then blocked senior midfielder Mike Perkins from the slot.

But Marrocco posted just four stops in the second half as Loyola's offensive players adjusted their targeting.

"He made a couple good saves low. So we started testing him high and started trying him in different spots, and that's basically the only way to keep going," said junior midfielder Jay Drapeau, who led the team in goals with three. "Different spots on the net, and different locations on the field. Just basically move him around and get him uncomfortable."

Sophomore attackman Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin) said the Greyhounds did not help themselves when they felt rushed to shoot early in some offensive possessions as the defense went to a zone that enabled the Hoyas to hold onto the ball longer.

"We were forcing it a little bit early and playing early offense," said Spencer, who recorded a game-best seven points on two goals and five assists. "… He was hot and played with a lot of energy. I think we made him look a little bit better today than we should have, just based on our shot selection in the second and third quarters."

The zone defense helped junior Grant Limone, who replaced starter Jacob Stover (McDonogh) with 11:12 left in the second quarter. While the Hoyas penetrated Loyola's defense for high-percentage chances against Stover (one save and four goals allowed), the zone kept their shooters on the perimeter.

"I definitely think zone helped us to keep those guys at bay," said Limone, who finished with seven stops while surrendering six goals. "We skewered every shot and made them miss the net, which was good."

Sophomore attackman Daniel Bucaro's goal with 10:03 left in the third quarter gave Georgetown its only lead of the game at 8-7. But back-to-back tallies from Drapeau sparked a 3-0 spurt by Loyola that included a goal from freshman midfielder Peter Swindell off a pass from Spencer with 7:57 left in regulation.

Bucaro completed his hat trick 66 seconds after Swindell's goal to shave the deficit to one.

McGovern's goal off a Spencer cross-crease throw pushed the Greyhounds to an 11-9 advantage with 1:24 remaining.

Junior midfielder Craig Berge narrowed the gap to one again with 57.5 seconds left, and the Hoyas had an opportunity to send the game into overtime with 19.5 seconds remaining after Toomey was whistled for calling a timeout when the ball was above the Loyola offense's restraining line. But a Georgetown player inexplicably went offside, and the Greyhounds ran out the clock.

Senior midfielder Peter Conley paced the Hoyas (2-6) with five points on two goals and three assists, and Bucaro added an assist to his three goals. The inability to capitalize on Marrocco's performance proved frustrating for coach Kevin Warne, whose team will open Big East play when Marquette visits on Saturday.

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"We're coming really close, but we're sick and tired of being close," he said. "At the same time, one or two plays in a game kind of bite us in our ankles. We've just got to make sure that we can fix that overall as we start our regular-season tournament on Saturday. So we'll see."

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