Men’s lacrosse falls short vs. No. 1 team
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 21:02
After tying the game for the fourth time, the Delaware men’s lacrosse team needed to make one more stop to send their matchup against defending national champion and No. 1 Loyola University into overtime.
With 15 seconds left to play, Greyhounds’ midfielder Chris Layne blazed down the left alley past Hens’ sophomore midfielder Jeff Heath. Delaware’s help defense did not slide in time, as Layne put the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Chris Herbert while falling to the snowy ground. Loyola then held on for the remaining 4 seconds on the clock for a 9-8 victory Saturday at Delaware Stadium.
After the match, Hens’ sophomore defender Trip Ashley said the team predicted Loyola attackman and 2012 Tewaaraton Award finalist Mike Sawyer to take the final shot.
“We were expecting kind of a mumbo or a screen where Sawyer would pop out and take a shot,” Ashley said. “They set the down pick. I got around it and they ended up cutting two down. We just lost a few of our men and it just turned out unfortunate.”
Delaware opened up the scoring as sophomore attacker Brian Kormondy fought through a slashing penalty and put the ball past Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel to give the Hens an early lead just 1:14 into the game. However, Layne fired back less than two minutes later on a bounce shot to tie the game at 1-1.
The Hens took the lead back after sophomore midfielder Tom Holland caught a pass from senior attackman Sean Finegan on the doorstep and put the ball in the back of the net, until Greyhounds’ attacker Justin Ward answered just 13 seconds later after a fast break gave him a one-on-one opportunity in front of the goal.
Ward’s goal sparked a 3-0 run that enabled the Greyhounds to take to a 4-3 lead heading into halftime. Sawyer, who garnered 53 goals and 10 assists during Loyola’s national championship run a year ago, finished the half with zero points. Ashley said Sawyer was not a threat for the majority of the game.
“Coach told me in the beginning of the week that I had Sawyer and being [6 feet 6 inches tall], I had to get all over his hands and stay with him,” Ashley said. “ Everyone else kind of knew the situation. You had to fear him as a shooter and give him respect as a Tewaarton finalist. I think we did pretty well.”
The goalies from both sides made several stops to keep the game at a one-goal margin in favor of Loyola. Runkel denied Hens freshman midfielder Alex Martinelli on a low bounce shot with 13:30 left in the third quarter, and Herbert stopped a high shot from Loyola attackman Davis Butts on the ensuing possession. Delaware got the ball back, but Runkel saved another low bouncer from Martinelli.
With 9:29 left in the third quarter, Loyola long-stick midfielder Chris Ratliff began a 3-1 run in favor of the Greyhounds to make the score 7-4 heading into the final period.
Delaware tied the game at seven after scoring three goals in just over 3 minutes from freshman attacker Ian Robertson, Finegan and senior attackman Eric Smith. Sawyer returned the lead to Loyola with a behind-the-back assist to midfielder Sean O’Sullivan with 8:20 remaining.
The game remained scoreless until a tripping call on Loyola defensemen Joe Fletcher with 43.3 seconds left gave Delaware one last chance to tie the game. Smith was able to find junior midfielder Danny Keane on the crease for a quick stick goal with 26 seconds remaining. Smith said he was surprised Keane was open that close to the goal.
“We’ve been working on the play all week,” Smith said. “The way it works is that Nick Diachenko will come down, [Keane] sets a seal for him and then he rolls right inside. So it’s always a look but it’s not the main look.”
The ensuing faceoff resulted in a fight for the groundball on Loyola’s half of the field. The Greyhounds eventually scooped up the ball and called timeout with 15 seconds left. After the timeout, Layne began his dodge from midfield and scored the game-winner with 4 seconds to play.
Despite two consecutive one-goal losses to ranked opponents, fifth-year senior midfielder Nick Diachenko said there were several positives to take out of playing a close game against the defending national champions.
“It’s really just a moral victory,” Diachenko said. “I know that sounds cliché but that’s really what it is. We need to come out next week and just get better. We came within one goal of the No.1 team in the nation.”
After back-to-back 9-8 losses, the Hens pick up play again next Saturday at Mount Saint Mary’s University.