Defensive Midfield Scores Six In 13-7 Win Over Fairfield
BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland defensive midfielders Scott Ratliff and Josh Hawkins combined to score six goals on as many shots, and Pat Laconi added an assist, as the Greyhounds’ defensive midfield was in on almost half of their goals during a 13-7 victory Saturday afternoon over visiting Fairfield University in ECAC Lacrosse League action at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Ratliff, a long-stick midfielder, scored four, and Hawkins added two for Loyola (9-2 overall, 5-0 ECAC), which clinched a bid to the 2013 ECAC Championships that will be played May 2-4 at Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. Ratliff also had four caused turnovers and three ground balls, and Hawkins tallied a pair off the ground and caused one Stags turnover.
Fairfield (6-5, 3-2) took an early 1-0 lead as Marshall Johnson scored on a seven-yard shot from the top at 10:32 in the first quarter, but less than two minutes later, an extra-man goal by Loyola would start a 5-0 Greyhounds run.
A Stags push gave Loyola a man advanatage, and Harry Kutner fed Kevin Ryan who hit an over-the-shoulder shot from just in front of the crease to tie the game at 1-1 with 8:44 on the first-quarter clock.
Ratliff then picked up the ground ball on the next faceoff, and he struck with a 12-yard shot from the top of the box to give Loyola its first lead, 2-1, just nine second after Ryan’s goal.
Chris Layne scored the Greyhounds’ third goal, taking a flip from Davis Butts and running left-to-right past his defender to score at 6:27. Justin Ward then scored his first of two-straight at 3:11 with a sidearm shot from just outside the crease.
Ward added another 59 seconds later, converting a bounce shot from a tough angle on the left side after rolling from ‘X’. That goal pushed the Greyhounds’ advantage to 5-1.
Drew Frederick came off a check on the right side and scored on a low-to-low shot with 40 seconds left in the first quarter, but the Greyhounds still had enough time to score one more before the end of the first 15 minutes.
Nikko Pontrello came off a Ratliff screen, and Ratliff rolled to the right side of the crease where Pontrello hit him with 23 ticks showing for Ratliff’s second of the quarter.
Sean O’Sullivan gave Loyola a 7-2 lead at 12:09 in the second quarter when he got free down the right alley, but Fairfield got back within four at 9:40 on a Eric Warden bouncer after rolling the crease on the left side.
Ratliff quickly built the lead back to five for Loyola, flicking a shot into the net off a Ward feed at 9:12.
Later in the quarter, with a 30-second warning in place, Sam Snow came down the right side and hit an overhand bouncer at 3:46, cutting Loyola’s lead to 8-4.
Hawkins, however, pushed the lead back to five before halftime, running a slow clear and backing off a check for a hard shot from seven yards out with 56 seconds remaining before the break.
Jordan Greenfield pulled the Stags back to within four, 9-5, 1:22 into the second half with a low-to-low shot from the right side off a Snow pass, but Ratliff to a Laconi pass in transition and hit a 10-yard step-down shot at 12:44.
Mike Sawyer used a Ward pass at 10:53 to score his first of the game before Warden scored his second with a goal for Fairfield at 10:18.
The score remained 11-6 in Loyola’s favor for several minutes before Sawyer scored in highlight-reel fashion. He was knocked to the turf, and a penalty flag flew on Fairfield, but Sawyer got off a hard shot from the ground and scored at 1:29 to push the lead to six.
Ratliff then caused a Fairfield turnover with under 45 seconds left in the quarter, and Hawkins appeared to settle the play before faking a pass and running down the left alley to score with 18 seconds left in the third.
Fairfield scored the fourth quarter’s lone goal with 1:56 left in the game on a Tristan Sperry shot.
In addition to the multi-point efforts by the defensive midfielders, Ward finished with two goals and two assists, and Sawyer scored twice.
Joe Fletcher matched Ratliff and goalkeeper Jack Runkel for team-high honors with three assists, and defenders Pat Frazier and Reid Acton each caused two turnovers.
The Greyhounds play their final regular-season home game of the season on Saturday, April 13, at 1 o’clock against the University of Denver.