BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland will host the Patriot League Championships semifinals and title game next weekend after securing the top seed with a 12-8 victory on Friday night after the U.S. Military Academy.
The Greyhounds will play in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday, April 27 against the lowest-remaining team after Tuesday’s quarterfinal games. The U.S. Naval Academy will be the No. 2 seed and play in the 7:30 semifinal.
Quarterfinal action will pit third-seeded Bucknell University against six-seed Boston University, while No. 4 seed Lehigh University will host No. 5 Colgate University.
On Friday against the Black Knights, Loyola (10-3 overall, 7-1 Patriot League) had seven players score goals led by a career-high three from P.J. Brown. Jay Drapeau and Kevin Lindley each had two goals and an assist, while John Duffy also scored twice.
Loyola won the possession battle with a 42-31 edge in ground balls, forcing 17 Army West Point turnovers. Foster Huggins finished with six ground balls and four caused turnovers as eight Greyhounds had three or more ground balls. Jacob Stover made 12 saves in goal.
The teams combined for three turnovers in the game’s first four minutes, but Loyola capitalized on the Black Knights’ second of the series. Drapeau caused a turnover on the ride, and quick passing in transition led Lindley to throw a pass to Drapeau for a goal at 12:29 that gave the Greyhounds the game’s first goal.
Army West Point (5-7, 2-6) evened the score just under four minutes later as Connor DeWitt got free to tally the Black Knights first goal.
Duffy responded for Loyola at 6:06, running by his defender down the right alley to dump in a shot from the doorstep that would give the Greyhounds the lead for good.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Greyhounds going into the second quarter, a frame that began with Mike Orefice won the faceoff going forward, picked up the ground ball, threw a box-fake inside of 10 yards and then took a shot from five yards out. His attempt dinged off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the cage seven second into the quarter to put Loyola up by a pair.
Orefice again won the faceoff toward Loyola’s offensive end on the ensuing draw. This time, after grabbing the ground ball, he threw a pass to Aidan Olmstead on the low right side, and Olmstead hit a seven-yard shot just six seconds after Orefice’s goal. The assist was the first of Orefice’s career, and it marked his second game this season with two or more points.
Orifice and Bailey Savio combined to go 12 of 24 on faceoffs for Loyola during the game.
Those goals were part of a 6-0 Greyhounds run that stretched the lead to 7-1 midway through the second quarter.
After Olmstead scored, Army West Point came away with the ground ball off the faceoff. The Black Knights had three shots go off cage, and Stover made a clean save on a fourth shot to start a Greyhounds’ transition run. Stover sent an outlet pass to Jared Mintzlaff, and he threw it over the top of three Army West Point players to Zac Davliakos.
Davliakos carried the ball into the box and threw down to Drapeau on the low left side, and Drapeau went low-to-high at 12:42 to make it 5-1 Loyola.
Lindley tacked on a goal at 8:05 off a Pat Spencer assist, and Brown scored unassisted 40 seconds later to mark the sixth-straight Loyola goal.
The pace slowed down for the next six-plus minutes until Nate Jones scored at the end of a transition run for the Black Knights with 63 seconds left in the half.
Loyola took a 7-2 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Army West Point cut into that advantage with a Conor Glancy goal just 2:25 into the third quarter.
The Greyhounds took possession after an Orefice faceoff win, but turned it over a minute later. Army West Point cleared the ball only to see Mintzlaff check it loose from Matt Manown to get the ball back for the Greyhounds.
After clearing it to the offensive end and having a Spencer shot go high, Peter Swindell ran all the way around the crease, got topside on the left side to skip a pass to Brown on the high right side. Brown did not have a defender within five yards of him, and he ripped a sidearm shot from 12 yards out to put Loyola back up by five at 9:53.
Ryan McNulty came up with a tough ground ball off the faceoff, and Duffy ran right-to-left across the top of the box, slinging a shot across his body from 18 yards out and opposite stick-side of Army West Point goalkeeper A.J. Barretto 35 seconds later to make it a 9-3 lead.
Jon LaMonica, however, scored at 8:53 to get the Black Knights back within five at 8:53, momentarily slowing the Loyola offense.
The Greyhounds were on the fortunate end of a bounce on their next possession as a pass went over the stick of a player in front of the goal but to Riley Cox on the top right side. Cox grabbed the ground ball and sunk a 12-yard shot at 6:11, stretching the advantage to 10-4.
Army West Point, however, picked up some momentum late in the third quarter, scoring at 2:46 as Matthew Donovan escaped pressure to send a knuckleball shot in from 15 yards out, and DeWitt tallied his second of the game with less than seven seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Black Knights scored their third-straight 2:01 into the fourth quarter as Manown threw to Alex Alacqua on the left side, and he beat the Greyhounds’ zone with a 13-yard shot to make it 10-7.
Savio came away with possession for the Greyhounds, and Brown again got free on the left side, but this time Barretto made a stop to get the ball back for Army West Point.
Loyola knocked the ball loose in the box, and it rolled to midfield where an Army West Point defender stopped it on the offensive end, momentarily saving possession. Donovan picked up the groundball, but Spencer reached over the midfield line to check it away.
Spener grabbed the loose ball, immediate threw it to Lindley running toward the goal, and he scored with 10:57 left in regulation, stretching the lead back to four.
Brown tallied his third of the day after more than seven minutes of scoreless action. With the 30-second timer on, He bulled his way to the goal-line on the left side of the cage, ducked between two defenders and beat Barretto with a shot to make it 12-7 Loyola at 3:31.
Army West Point would get that goal back right away, however, as Glancy picked up a long ground ball off the faceoff, slipped underneath the defense and scored 10 ticks later.
That would be the game’s last goal as Stover made a save, and Mintzlaff caused a turnover on two late Black Knights’ possessions.