CATONSVILLE, Md. – Loyola University Maryland’s Mike Sawyer scored four straight Greyhounds goals during a 10-1 Loyola run, and the junior finished with five goals and two assists, as fifth-ranked Loyola defeated UMBC, 13-5, on a rainy Saturday night at UMBC Stadium.
Loyola improved to 8-0 for the first time since the 1999 season when it started the year 12-0. The Greyhounds also remained the onlyteam in NCAA Division I to score 10 or more goals in every game this season.
The Retrievers (2-4 overall) took a 3-1 lead when Scott Jones scored his second goal of the first quarter in transition with less than a second left before the horn, and UMBC held Loyola scoreless for nearly seven minutes of the second quarter.
Sawyer helped jumpstart Loyola’s run not with a goal but with an assist on Justin Ward’s goal at 8:08. Sean O’Sullivan drove hard down the left alley and shot a pass to Sawyer behind the crease. Sawyer then flipped a pass to a cutting Ward on the rightside doorstep, and Ward scored to pull Loyola within 3-2.
Sawyer then tallied two goals in a 10-second span to push the Greyhounds up by a goal. He got a low-to-low shot past UMBC’s Adam Cohen, and after J.P. Dalton pushed the face-off to himself, Dalton fed Sawyer on the high left side, and Sawyer whipped another shot by Cohen at 5:58, giving the Greyhounds their first lead of the game.
“When Mike Sawyer, Eric Lusby and those guys are stepping in on their shots, we have a chance,” Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “We have to get better at the start of games, but I am proud of the effort that we had and the way we maintained that through the end of the game.”
Rob Grimm tallied his second extra-man goal of the night at 2:26 off a Joe Lustgarten flick from behind that was identical the way UMBC scored its first goal of the night.
Loyola came right back, however, as Dalton again flipped the face-off to himself and stuck a pass to Sawyer in the same location at the top left, and Sawyer ripped a shot into the net just six ticks of the clock after Grimm’s goal, putting Loyola in front for good with 2:20 to go in the first half.
Sawyer’s next goal was the one, however, that will make the highlight reels, as he cut downt he right alley, took a Ward pass and flipped a behind-the-head shot to beat Cohen and make it 6-4 with 1:46 on the clock.
Loyola would tack on another goal before the half when Sawyer fed Lusby, and the graduate student scored his second of the game with 15.9 left in the first half.
The Greyhounds would push their run to seven-straight goals, although both teams were scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the third quarter.
Davis Butts caught a Chris Layne pass and stepped in to score at 6:19, starting a stretch of two minutes, 15 seconds in which Butts, Lusby, Josh Hawkins and Sawyer would score for Loyola.
Sawyer’s fifth of the game, which came on a man-up possession, make the Loyola lead 11-4.
Grimm scored his third of the game with 11:25 to go in the fourth quarter, getting the Retrievers back within six, but Butts and Dalton each scored thereafter for the Greyhounds to close out the game.
In addition to Sawyer’s five goals – he now has seven hat tricks this season in eight games – Lusby tallied three and Butts had two. Ward and Dalton each notched a goal with two assists, and Phil Dobson distributed the first two assists of his career.
Dalton was again solid at the face-off ‘X’, winning 14-of-20. The Greyhounds also controlled possession for much of the game asthey picked up 32 ground balls to UMBC’s 17. Reid Acton led the way with six ground balls, and Hawkins had five.
Loyola’s defense allowed 31 shots, but Jack Runkel turned away 13 of the Retrievers’ 18 shots on goal. His 13 saves were a career-high.
The Greyhounds return to ECAC Lacrosse League action for their next four contests, starting with their lone home game of the stretch. Loyola will host Ohio State at 1 o’clock at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday, March 31.