Breaking News:

So Much Sports Baltimore has officially shut down on August 7, 2017, but would like to thank all of our readers, writers and everybody who helped make this website possible.

Hounds capture 3rd Patriot League title in 4 years

By: Jesse Baird

Loyola captured their second straight Patriot League title, and third in four years.

It was a job well done and a job done well on Sunday afternoon as the Loyola Greyhounds men’s lacrosse team beat Army West Point in the Patriot League Championship game, 13-4, to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament. Loyola won their second straight Patriot League title and third in four years.

“I’m so proud of my guys and their effort the last two games. That’s a tough stretch for any team to play two games in 48 hours,” Loyola head coach Charley Toomey said. “I thought it was a tough battle and knew it was going to be. … They got what they deserved because they were mentally and physically prepared to play this game today and I couldn’t be more proud of this group because they are playing their best lacrosse right now and it’s very exciting.

By the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 3-3, but things turned in the favor of Loyola after they scored five goals in the second quarter to take an 8-3 lead into the break. Loyola never looked back. Army scored the first goal of the second half, but that was it for them. They were shutout for the final 27 minutes of the game as Loyola added four more goals onto their lead.

Tewaaraton award semifinalist Pat Spencer highlighted the strong offensive performance, which saw Loyola hold a 40-13 shooting advantage. He scored on goal but assisted three others as he set a school and Patriot League record with 55 assists on the year. And the back-to-back Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year has plenty of help as well as Jay Drapeau and Brian Sherlock each scored three goals.

And while a strong offensive performance has been the norm for the Greyhounds, it has not been the norm for the defense until recently. But Loyola saw their defensive success continue as goalkeeper Jacob Stover made 11 saves and allowed only four goals on 24 shots from Army on his way to being named the tournament Most Valuable Player. In addition to his 11 saves against Army, he had 12 against Holy Cross in Friday’s semifinal game.

“They (the defense) made it very easy for me in the goal, from opportunity to put the ball on the ground to the transition on offense to putting the ball in the back of the net. It was great to see the guys stepping out and playing aggressive, causing turnovers and picking each other up,” Stover said.

After the level first period, Loyola’s defense locked down to only allow 14 shots for the rest of the game. They ended up causing 11 of Army’s 17 turnovers in the game. Ryder Harkins shutdown Army’s Cole Johnson, a First Team All-Patriot League selection. Johnson only had four shots and only two of them were on goal, with neither getting past Stover.

“There has been an increased focus on getting organized behind the ball and playing tough defense on the ball,” Harkins said. He also attributed his success to great film scouting. Toomey mentioned that the two teams having just played each other in their regular season finales also prepared his team for the rematch.

“I knew he was left handed and knew what he was looking to do,” Harkins said. “We watched a lot of film on him and just stayed on his left hand, knowing he would come back to it sometimes. I knew coach had confidence in me he wouldn’t put me in that position if he didn’t.”

Loyola defenseman Jack Carrigan, who finished the game with three ground balls and two caused turnovers, joined Stover on the All-Tournament Team from the defense. Offensively, Spencer and Sherlock were selected.

With the Patriot League hosting their conference tournament a week earlier than most conferences, the Greyhounds will have two weeks to rest up before the NCAA tournament begins. They will learn their NCAA Tournament opponent and where they will play when the bracket is revealed on Sunday, May 7. The Play-in Game for the NCAA tournament will be played on May 10 with the first round beginning on May 13.

But even though Toomey claimed his team is playing their best lacrosse right now, he also finds it to be a great benefit that the Greyhounds will have so much time off before having to get back and ready for an NCAA tournament game.

“I’m excited that we can fix ourselves this week, sit back, get healthy, get into exams and worry about who we will play next week,” Toomey said. “Selfishly we would like to keep the momentum going, but this is a mature team and will handle the next two weeks in preparation for the tournament, we have that right being the first team in the tournament.”

The following two tabs change content below.

Comments are closed.