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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Loyola Loses in NCAA Semi-finals


An average lacrosse coach wouldn’t throw their second-string goalie, their third line of midfield, and the bulk of their freshmen talent on the field during Championship Weekend, and somehow make it all work. But Loyola’s Charley Toomey is not just any old coach.

Toomey had faith in his weakened No. 7 Loyola squad until the bitter end, who fought back from from a 10-goal deficit but ultimately fell 18-13 to unseeded North Carolina in the Semifinals of the NCAA Men’s National Championship.

With a heavy heart and while choking back tears, Toomey revealed that he asked his boys “to show me their heart at halftime.”

After trailing 14-5 at the half, Loyola opened up the third quarter with three consecutive goals. The Hounds then went on a four-goal scoring streak in the fourth to close in on Carolina’s lead by a mere four goals, which seemed like easy money compared to the 10-goal hole they fell into earlier.

“The energy stayed positive all day,” Loyola’s Pat Spencer said. “Our mindset was one goal at a time. Can’t make up nine goals in one possession. I thought we did a good job but not enough.”

Carolina held Spencer to a single goal, his least amount in any game this entire season, but the freshman standout managed to assist five shots for a team-high six points.

“[Spencer] has handled every situation that’s been thrown to him,” Toomey said. “A press out, an early slide, a physical game, nothing fazes the young man. We’re pretty happy he’ll be in our locker room for three more years.”

Although UNC successfully held off Spencer offensively, the likes of Canadian seniors Zach Herreweyers and Tyler Albrecht each notched a hat trick in the Hounds’ fight to keep them in the game.

“Nothing to lose when you’re down by nine,” Herreweyers said. “You have to be efficient, and I think that’s what we did there today.”

But today, the subject of Canadians was anything but music to Loyola’s ears – it seemed like Carolina’s Chris Cloutier was the only name said all day. Cloutier’s nine goals set a championship weekend record for goals scored by a single player in a single game. The Canadian was Loyola’s biggest problem that they just couldn’t solve.

“I think we are glad we didn’t short stick Cloutier today because he was terrific,” Toomey said. “He’s a strong left hander, he’s a Canadian finisher. And he’s a bull dodger that will run through checks. [UNC] found him and the kid flat out finished.”

There were two main turning points for the Hounds. Sophomore goalie Grant Limone started the second quarter in replacement of freshman starter Jacob Stover, who allowed UNC to score 9 times in just the first 15 minutes. The change was necessary but cautioned, considering Limone had not started since March 19 against Navy.

Although Limone only ended with seven saves, his fresh face gave the Loyola defense a new life and leadership on the field, compared to freshman Stover who was thrust onto the big stage and understandably couldn’t deal with Carolina’s pressure.

“It was tough,” Toomey said. “He’s a freshman out there and the lights are going to be a little bit brighter and the fans and the hearing and the communication. I just didn’t want him to go through a second quarter similar to the first quarter and sometimes changing your goalie can jump-start your defense. And I thought Grant came in there and did a good job for us.”

The more obvious of the two came directly off the face-off. Graham Savio went 9-for-14 in the second half, allowing Loyola to nail those three quick goals early in the third and fourth quarters.

“Graham just battled,” Toomey said. “He showed us his heart. He bowed his neck in the second half. He started to win some 50/50’s and he gave us that chance to claw back in.”

Unfortunately, Loyola’s valiant effort wasn’t nearly enough, even with that glimmer of hope at 6:25 when they were only down by four goals. The underrated Hounds ended an unexpectedly excellent season at 14-4 but proved in that second half that they deserved their Memorial Day Weekend spot.

“If you look at it from the beginning of the season to now,” Spencer said. “I don’t think anybody would have put us in the Final Four.”

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Loyola Loses in NCAA Semi-finals