Loyola advances to Patriot League Championship

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Men’s lacrosse faced Holy Cross in the Patriot League Semifinals on April 28. After playing a hard game, the Hounds succeeded with a 13-4 final, pushing them to the Patriot League Championships.

The first quarter was uneventful in the scoring department. Neither Loyola nor Holy Cross was able to get a shot off during the entirety of the quarter. Loyola had 11 attempts while Holy Cross had eight. Both goalies excelled in playing a strong quarter with saves on some tough shots against them.

Holy Cross lacked the ability to make consistent shots on goal. “I thought we generated some good looks. I wish we shot the ball a little bit more, a little bit better,” Holy Cross’ head coach Judd Lattimore said.

Loyola had a strong offensive line but was unable to place the ball in a position to get a shot. Without giving up, they worked together as a team to figure out what would boost their plays.

“We had a lot of good looks [at the goal]. Credit to Holy Cross defense. They were just very packed in, sliding in so we had a couple of good looks but the goalie had some great saves,” Greyhound attacker Zack Sirico ’17 said. “Our biggest thing after the first quarter was ‘just keep going. Don’t put our heads down.’ Sometimes we don’t get the looks that we want… so we just have to keep going.”

With 3:18 into the second quarter, midfielder Brian Sherlock ’17 scored the first goal of the game. Sherlock picked a ground ball from outside the crease and with no time to think, nailed it into the bottom corner of the net.

“Second quarter from then on, we started getting into our right spots,” Sirico said. “[Attacker Pat Spencer ’19] was unbelievable, he kept finding those guys and getting our shots.”

Sirico’s two goals in the second were both assisted by Spencer, each goal within minutes of each other. Their second goal was quiet memorable – Spencer made a quick pass to Sirico who fell as he was escaping the pressure of a defender and, instead of being taken over by defeat, whipped a shot in from the ground. At this point, Loyola was in the lead 3-0.

Both Loyola and Holy Cross added on a goal to end the half, with Loyola leading 4-1.

Throughout the third quarter, Loyola scored three times while Holy Cross only did once. Spencer scored his first goal of the game in the third, assisted by midfielder Alex McGovern ’19. A series of passes were made up the field until McGovern found Spencer by the crease. In one motion Spencer nailed the ball into the goal. Loyola at that point led 7-2.

It was definitely a good game for Spencer, who in his two years has made a name for himself at Loyola for being a player his teammates can count on. While he is an impressive scorer, Spencer’s ability to see the field from all angles comes natural for him. During the third quarter Spencer achieved his 50th assist of the season. This makes him the first Loyola player to have 50 or more assists in each of his first two seasons. In this game alone, Spencer acquired six assists, which helped him tie last year’s record of 54 assists.

“[Assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale] did a very good job of breaking it down and getting us spacing on the field. So that made it easier for a lot of guys,” Spencer said. “All it was for me was putting it on their sticks and they were just doing the job of finishing.”

Even Lattimore noted Spencer’s talent. “He had a great game. He’s phenomenal. He’s got great vision, great hands, he’s a good dodger. He can do that whole thing,” he said.

In the fourth suarter, Loyola went on a 6-0 run. During this run, defender Alex Johnson ’20 and midfielder Cole Boland ’20 scored their first goal and point of the year respectively. This further advanced Loyola 13-2.

Holy Cross broke the streak with 1:45 minutes left, which was the final goal of the game. The game finished with a score of 13-3.

Loyola head coach Charley Toomey was proud of the effort the Hounds showed throughout the game, especially after that first quarter. “I think it allowed our team to look at our defense and say ‘You know what, we are going to need you to show up a little bit today’ and it hardened us,” Toomey said. “[Goalie Jacob Stover ’19] stepped up and made some big saves, big moments. Obviously we were getting great looks.”

Lattimore agreed that the Hounds played well, but he is still proud of his team.

“I thought Loyola played very well. They’re a great team. I thought our guys fought hard and did a good job especially early on,” Lattimore stated, “Just some of the shots we took just didn’t fall but our defense held up and we just couldn’t get any to drop there in the first half. I think that kind of hurt us a little bit. Our guys started pressing a little bit in the second half and that just not how we play so I think that hurt us a little bit. Overall, I thought it was great effort by both teams.”

The team advances into the championship that is being held Sunday, April 30 at Ridley Athletic Center against Army.