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Hounds run away from HCU in 2nd half of semis

By: Jenna Pizzi

Pat Spencer dished six assists as the Greyhounds ran away from Holy Cross in the second half of the Patriot League semifinals.

Sophomore Tewaaraton Award semifinalist Pat Spencer has made a name for himself at Loyola as a player his teammates can count on. While he is an impressive scorer, Spencer’s ability to see the field from all angles comes naturally for him. During the third quarter of the Patriot League semifinals, Spencer dished his 50th assist of the season. In this game alone, Spencer had six as he led the Greyhounds back to another Patriot League Champion game with a 13-3 victory over Holy Cross in the semifinals on Friday evening.

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

Even Holy Cross’ head coach Judd Lattimore had to marvel at Spencer’s brilliance on the field, “Pat’s a great player. 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.”

The first quarter was uneventful in the scoring department. Neither Loyola nor Holy Cross was able to get a score in during the entirety of the quarter. Loyola was shutout on 11 shots as Holy Cross goalkeeper Jonathan Tesoro made three of his 13 saves in the period. But Stover did him even better, making six saves.

Loyola had a strong offensive line but was unable to place the ball in a position to get a strong enough shot against a tight Crusaders defense.

“We had a lot of good looks. Credit to Holy Cross defense,” attackman Zack Sirico said. “They were just very packed in, sliding in so we had a couple of good looks but the goalie had some great saves and 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 senior Brian Sherlock finally scored the first goal of the game. He scooped a ground ball from outside the crease and with no time to think, nailed it into the bottom corner of the net. That was the spark they needed.

“Second quarter from then on, we started getting into our right spots,” he said. “And Pat was unbelievable, he kept finding those guys and getting our shots.”

Spencer fed three straight Loyola goals after that. The first two went to Sirico. Both times Spencer found him open for a quality opportunity, and the senior was able to finish. Their second goal was quite 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. That gave Loyola a 3-0 lead.

Holy Cross was able to get their first goal of the game with less than five minutes to go before halftime, but the Greyhounds did not give them much time to feel good about it. Just 38 seconds later Spencer dished his third assists of the game as Alex McGovern gave the Greyhounds a 4-1 lead at the intermission.

While Holy cross opened the third quarter with a goal by Sean Kirkpatrick, Loyola built on their lead with three in a row over the final six minutes of the quarter. And that was the start of an overall nine-goal run that put the game away.

Spencer found McGovern again with less than six minutes left to start the burst. McGovern then scored again just about a minute and a half later. McGovern then returned the favor to Spencer and assisted him to help put Loyola up 7-2 at the end of the third quarter. But even Spencer’s score was a brilliant on. In on motion, Spencer caught the ball and whipped the ball into the goal

Sirico started the fourth quarter with his 20th goal of the season, a new career-high for him. He was directly in the center of the box when Spencer found him for his fifth assist of the game.

The sixth assist game just a minute and a half later when Jordan Germershausen scored with the 30-second clock on, to put Loyola up 9-2.

Loyola freshmen Alex Johnson and Cole Boland also got into the mix during the Greyhounds run and both scored the first goals of their careers. Boland’s goal came with just 2:35 left in the game and put the Greyhounds up 13-2.

Holy Cross was able to break a 25-plus minute scoring drought with one final goal, but the dominant second half effort left Loyola head coach Charley Toomey very pleased with his team’s runaway win.

“What an effort. I said to the guys in the locker room that I’m proud that they battled and scrapped and the result probably wasn’t what we would have wanted in that first quarter but I think it hardened us,” he said. “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. [Jacob Stover] stepped up and made some big saves, big moments. Obviously, we were getting great looks.”

The victory puts the Greyhounds back in the Patriot League championship game, which they will host on Sunday, April 30 at 1 pm. In the second semifinal game at Ridley Athletic Complex, the second-seeded Army Black Knights beat the Boston Terriers 10-7 to set the title game matchup.

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Jenna Pizzi

Staff Writer
There has not been one moment in Jenna's life where she was not part of a team. From the age of single digits until high school, soccer became her center. Other sports were attempted, but nothing was as fulfilling as her defending the net or assisting a goal with a wide pass. During her high school days of soccer and track, she was a writer for the school newspaper, covering sports. High School was here her interest in basketball peaked, which is still a favorite of hers. In contrast, her father is a football fan, who watched each game religiously. Her inherited this trait from his mother, who is a Yankees fanatic. To continue the family passion, Jenna is currently a sports writer, both for The Greyhound at Loyola University of Maryland and now at So Much Sports.

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