BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse coaches stressed the importance of playing fast and winning the “hustle plays” in Saturday’s Patriot League game against the U.S. Naval Academy, and the Greyhounds came out ahead in many, beating the 18th-ranked Midshipmen, 17-7, at Ridley Athletic Complex.
The Greyhounds (6-5 overall, 4-2 Patriot League) used 6-0 runs in each half and held advantages over Navy (7-4, 5-2) in several statistical categories, picking up 37 ground balls to the Midshipmen’s 22, and outshooting them, 51-31.
Loyola also went 15-of-28 on faceoffs to mark the first time this season that Navy has not won more restarts than its opponents. The Midshipmen entered the game ranked seventh in NCAA Division I with a 64.1 percent success rate on faceoffs, but Graham Savio led the Greyhounds’ effort by winning 15-of-26.
Defensively, Loyola held the Midshipmen’s top scorer Patrick Keena without a point, and they did the same to Kevin Wendel, Navy’s top midfield scorer.
Zach Herreweyers and Brian Sherlock each scored three goals for Loyola, while Herreweyers added a career-best three assists and Sherlock had one. Romar Dennis tallied a career-best four points with two goals and two assists, all coming in the first half as Loyola went up, 10-3 at the break.
Navy scored the game’s first goal as Jack Ray bulled his way to the crease to score one of his team-high two with the 30-second clock running, but his goal at 11:48 in the first goal was followed just 38 ticks later by Jay Drapeau wrapping the crease to get open topside for an opposite post goal.
The Midshipmen were penalized for a faceoff violation on the restart after Drapeau’s goal, and Loyola went a man-up following Navy’s third infraction in as many draws to start the game. Twenty seconds after Drapeau’s goal, Dennis sent a pass to Sherlock on the high left side, and Sherlock scored his first of the game on a sidearm rip.
Loyola made its lead 3-1 with 8:11 left in the opening quarter after a clean save by Grant Limone led to an over-the-top clear to Zac Davliakos who ran into the offensive box and fed Herreweyers on the right side for Loyola’s first of six transition goals.
Colin Flounlacker momentarily stopped the Greyhounds’ 3-0 run, scoring for Navy at 6:03 after a spin dodge got him into space for a nine-yard goal at 6:03.
Nikko Pontrello, however, took a Zack Sirico high-to-low pass and scored with 3:37 left in the first, sparking a 6-0 run that would put Loyola up by seven late in the first half.
Pontrello scored twice around a Sherlock goal, and Herreweyers found Davliakos alone in front of the goal for another transition goal, and Sherlock scored again on the extra-man to put Loyola in front, 8-2, with 6:35 to go in the first half.
Dennis then was on the scoring end of Loyola’s next goal, making a long north-south run on the right side and finishing with a lefty overhand shot at 5:41.
Gabe Voumard broke the 6-0 Loyola run with a man-up goal for Navy, dropping his hands to tally one from the top of the offense at 3:47, but a right-handed Dennis goal with 46.1 seconds left in the half made the halftime margin, 10-3.
Navy started the second half the same way it did the first, with Ray tallying a goal at 12:34 with the 30-second timer on, but that was its only score of the third quarter.
Pat Frazier made a one-man clearing run with just over nine minutes left in the stanza, and he played give-and-go with Herreweyers to score his second of the season at 9:02, the first score of another 6-0 Loyola run.
Herreweyers scored the final goal of that stretch 46 seconds into the fourth quarter to put Loyola up 12, 16-4, before Navy scored three-consecutive fourth-quarter goals. Matt Cunningham tallied Loyola’s final goal of the game with 3:29 remaining off the first assist of Nick DeSisto’s career.
The 17 goals allowed by Navy were the most it has yielded since 2003 when it gave up the same number to Johns Hopkins University.
Savio led Loyola in ground balls with five, while Jack Carrigan had four and was one of seven players to cause a turnover for the Greyhounds. Sherlock, Tyler Albrecht and Brian Begley each had three ground balls, while the latter two had a goal and a caused turnover, too.
Loyola plays its final non-conference game of the 2015 regular-season on Wednesday, April 8, when it takes on the University of Maryland at 7 p.m. in College Park, Maryland.