Layne’s Game-Winner Lifts No. 1 Men’s Lacrosse Over Delaware
NEWARK, Del. - Chris Layne took the ball after a Loyola University Maryland timeout, went to midfield and dodged down the middle of the field, beating his defender. He sent a high-to-low shot into the right side of the goal with 4.4 seconds left to provide the game-winner for the top-ranked Greyhounds in a 9-8 victory over host University of Delaware.
Delaware (1-2 overall) rallied from a 7-4 deficit at the end of the third quarter to tied the score at 7-7 with three goals in the first five minutes of the final stanza on a snowy Saturday afternoon.
Eric Smith scored on an extra-man possession with 10:28 remaining to knot the score at 7-7.
The Greyhounds (1-0) took an 8-7 advantage with 8:20 on the clock as Mike Sawyer dodged to the and was doubled. He flipped a behind-the-head pass to Sean O’Sullivan on the left side, and O’Sullivan ripped a six-yard shot to put Loyola up one.
Loyola’s advantage nearly held as the Greyhounds fended off several Blue Hens challenges through the final eight minutes.
Delaware, however, took possession after a Loyola turnover with just over a minute to play, and the Blue Hens drew a flag on Loyola to go man-up.
Smith was again involved for Delaware, feeding a pass form goal-line extended on the left side to Dan Keane on the doorstep of the crease. Keane one-timed a shot, redirecting Smith’s pass from right to left and inside the far post with 26.0 seconds left.
Delaware won the ensuing faceoff, but Brendan Donovan caused a turnover, and the Greyhounds picked up possession. Sawyer stepped into the box, and Head Coach Charley Toomey called timeout with 15.4 seconds left to set up Layne’s winner.
The Blue Hens opened up a 2-1 lead with a pair of goals around Layne’s first of the day, but Justin Ward scored the first of his three to tie the game at 2-2. Davis Butts picked up the ground ball on the faceoff, ran to the crease and dumped a pass to Ward on the right side.
The pair connected again a few minutes later to give the Greyhounds their first lead of the game. This time it was Butts picking up a ground ball off a failed Blue Hens clear, and he sent it to Ward who ran it down the right side of the box. Ward fed it back to Butts who scored from five yards out to make it 3-2 Greyhounds.
Ward scored his third point in as may Loyola goals with 2:38 left in the first quarter, rolling from X around the right side of the crease. He felt his defender on his back, spun free toward the goal and beat Delaware goalkeeper Chris Herbert high-to-high.
Loyola carried that lead into the second quarter, but Delaware cut it to a goal when Alex Diachenko slipped a shot inside the far post from the right side with 8:13 remaining before the half, and the teams went to the locker room with the Greyhounds holding a 4-3 advantage.
The Greyhounds withstood a flurry of Delaware shots to open the second half, and off a clear, Layne fed Scott Ratliff who was crashing to the crease. Ratliff dumped a shot over Herbert’s shoulder.
Less than a minute later, Loyola had possession when a flag went down against Delaware. Before the penalty could be whistled, Nikko Pontrello dodged free and got the ball to Ward who went around the crease to score his game-high third.
Delaware got one back to make the Loyola lead 6-4 on a Diachenko shot from the hip with 6:13 on the clock.
The Greyhounds pushed their lead back to three, however, with 1:18 remaining in the quarter when Phil Dobson picked up a ground ball and caused an unsettled situation behind the cage. He worked the ball to Ward on goal-line extended left, and Ward sent a pass to Sawyer on the high left side. Sawyer buried the shot from eight yards out to make it 7-4.
Delaware, however, scored three in a row to start the fourth quarter, sending the game into a final frenzy.
Ward finished as the game’s high scorer with three goals and two assists, while Layne had a three-point day (two goals and an assist). Sawyer and Butts each had a goal and an assist.
Reid Acton a game-high five caused turnovers, while Ratliff led the Greyhounds with six ground balls. Acton had five off the ground.
Jack Runkel made 11 saves in goal for the Greyhounds.
Loyola takes a brief rest before it next game, traveling up York Road to face Towson University at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20.