BALTIMORE – Mike Sawyer scored a career-high six goals and eight points Saturday afternoon, leading the No. 9/12 Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team to a 13-8 victory over No. 11/9 Duke University at Ridley Athletic Complex.
The Greyhounds built a 12-5 lead by the end of the third quarter and coasted to their first 5-0 start in 10 seasons.
Sawyer had his second game in a row with five or more goals after scored five on Wednesday night at the University of Michigan, his previous career-best. He now has four games with three or more goals in five outings this season.
Loyola built a 3-1 lead in the first quarter as Sawyer put the Greyhounds on the board 2:28 into the contest with a 7-yard shot from the left side. Duke (3-3) tied the game with 8:19 to play in the quarter when Blue Devils defender Chris Hipps scored in transition after a Loyola turnover.
Sean O’Sullivan rolled right to left and put Loyola up 2-1 with a goal at 3:51, and Phil Dobson scored his first of a career-high two with 2:26 to play in the quarter.
Chris Layne quickly made it a 4-1 Loyola lead 32 seconds into the fourth quarter when he bounced a shot over the shoulder of Duke goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer and into the top right corner of the goal.
Duke rallied, scoring a pair of goals in the span of just four seconds to get with in a goal. Robert Rotanz dodged down the right alley and dumped a pass to a waiting Jordan Wolf who scored on the doorstep at 11:17.
C.J. Costabile won the face-off to himself and scored in an unsettled situation to pull Duke within 4-3 four seconds after Wolf’s goal.
Loyola went on a 3-0 run after that, sparked by a pair of Sawyer scores. He used a stutter-step at goal-line extended on the left side after O’Sullivan threaded a pass around a Duke defender, and Saywer scored at 10:17 to make it 5-3 Loyola.
He then scored a high-to-high shot over Wigrizer’s shoulder at 4:11, pushing Loyola back up by three.
Exactly a minute later, Eric Lusby made it 7-3 Loyola off a Saywer assist on an extra-man opportunity. The Greyhounds looked to take the lead into the locker room, but Duke’s Josh Dionne turned and scored from four yards in front of the cage to make it 7-4 with 14 seconds left in the half.
The Blue Devils could not maintain the momentum, however, in the second half, as Sawyer picked up a ground ball on a failed Duke clear and scored into an empty net 3:07 into the half.
Lusby added his second of the game, also off a Sawyer assist, to make it 9-4 Loyola with 6:38 to play in the third, and Dobson tallied his second of the game on a low-to-high shot off Nikko Pontrello’s pass, pushing the advantage to 10-4.
Jake Tripucka momentarily stopped the run for Duke with a goal at 2:30, but J.P. Dalton won the face-off to himself for the Greyhounds, and he fed Lusby on the right side of the crease, and Lusby finished off his third goal of the game six seconds past Tripucka’s goal.
Loyola scored quickly after that, as Dalton won the face-off, and Sawyer scored 14 ticks later. He added his sixth of the game with 11:35 to play, giving the Greyhounds a 13-5 advantage.
The Greyhounds controlled a close 33-31 lead in groundballs, as Josh Hawkins returned to action after missing the first four games with an injury. He led Loyola ground balls, while Lusby and Reid Acton each had four. Scott Ratliff and Pat Laconi each had three ground balls, and Ratliffcaused four turnovers.
Jack Runkel made his second career start in goal for Loyola and finished with a career-high 12 saves.
The win was Loyola’s third in eight days, and the Greyhounds will have the week off from competition before taking on the U.S. Air Force Academy on Saturday, March 17, at 12 noon in ECAC Lacrosse League action.