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For nearly the entire game Saturday, No. 15 Virginia had taken advantage of No. 5 Loyola Maryland with a two-man game just inside the restraining line. With the game on the line, the Cavaliers went to it one more time.

As Loyola defenseman Foster Huggins and midfielder Brian Begley tried to double team attackman Zed Williams coming off a pick, Williams threw an over the shoulder pass to midfielder Ryan Conrad (Loyola Blakefield), who scored the go-ahead goal from about 17 yards out with 2:17 left.

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That goal lifted Virginia to a 16-15 win against Loyola in the season opener for both teams before an announced 5,000 at Ridley Stadium. It was a game which featured 83 shots, 92 ground balls, 31 goals and left both teams tired.

"It was an up and down game," said Loyola coach Charley Toomey. "You have to give the University of Virginia a lot of credit. We made a lot of plays out there but they made one more play than we did."

Conrad's shot certainly was one that Loyola had planned against during the week. Virginia coach Lars Tiffany, like Toomey, prefers the run-and-gun style. He played that style at Brown for 10 years before becoming the new head coach at Virginia this season, replacing Dom Starsia.

The Greyhounds wanted to double the ball on the pick plays out top and force turnovers. It didn't happen as Virginia scored several goals off those picks, including the game winner.

"We knew they were going to be aggressive and it ended up where he hit me with the pass while I was stepping in and I hit the shot," Conrad said.

It wasn't a good defensive game for Loyola. While Virginia deserves some credit, especially with strong midfield play, the Greyhounds also might need to find a starting goalie.

Sophomore Jacob Stover gave up 13 goals before he was replaced by junior Grant Limone with 9:05 left in the fourth period. Stover appeared shaken by the barrage of goals after a poor performance against North Carolina in the NCAA Division I semifinals last season.

Loyola lost to the Tar Heels, 18-13, and Stover was benched after the first quarter when he gave up nine goals. Toomey was careful to be critical of his goalie, especially with No. 9 Johns Hopkins on the schedule Saturday.

"We're going to watch film tonight. We had to [bench Stover] a little bit earlier than we wanted to because we had to chase people around and use the 10-man ride," said Toomey. "I'm really disappointed in the types of looks we were asking our goalies to make saves on. We've got a week to figure this out. I feel really confident in our goalies and we'll figure it out before Hopkins."

Loyola fell behind 8-5 at the half as the Greyhounds committed 11 turnovers and were out-hustled by Virginia, which held a 29-20 advantage in ground balls. But Loyola, on two straight goals from sophomore midfielder John Duffy, pulled within 10-8 at the end of the third quarter.

The Greyhounds tied the score twice in the fourth, once at 14 on a goal by attackman Zach Sirico with 5:01 left and again on an unassisted goal by faceoff special Graham Savio nearly two minutes later, but they never held the lead.

Virginia was paced by four goals from freshman midfielder Dox Aitken and three from Conrad. Freshman attackman Michael Kraus and Williams each had three assists.

The best performance may have been by senior defensemen Tanner Scales, who held Loyola All-America attackman Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin) to just two assists. This was Virginia's first game in 24 years without Starsia on the sidelines, and the Cavaliers were emotional about his absence.

"I won't say we silenced him. He is one of the most dynamic players in the game," said Scales of Spencer. "You have to be realistic and know that it takes the entire defense. You just try to make him uncomfortable, and at the end of the day I think we did that. It was a good overall game for us defensively and as a team, but we've got a lot of work to do."

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About Starsia, Tiffany said: "I am very fortunate to have such talented and focused players from coach Starsia. We talk about Dom a little bit and that's a touchy subject. I talk to him personally all the time; he is a little bit like the Godfather. His finger prints are all over this program."

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