Ryan, Runkel lead Loyola to convincing win at Lehigh

March 01, 2014 | WNST Staff

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Loyola University Maryland’s Kevin Ryan scored a career-high five goals, and Jack Runkel made 13 saves in goal as the seventh-ranked Greyhounds beat No. 14 Lehigh University, 14-7, on Saturday afternoon in Patriot League action at Ulrich Sports Complex.

Nikko Pontrello added four goals, all in the first half, and Ryan tallied four of his five during the second 30 minutes.

Runkel saved 13 of the Mountain Hawks’ 29 total shots in the game.

Lehigh (4-1 overall, 1-1 Patriot League) scored the game’s first goal on a rebound shot by Patrick Corbett, but Loyola (4-1, 2-0) tallied three in a row to lead 3-1 on Pontrello’s first with 6:27 left in the quarter.

The Mountain Hawks, however, tied the game at 3-3 on an Alex Eaton goal with 51 ticks left in the first quarter, and the teams headed to the second period tied.

Loyola shutout the Mountain Hawks in that frame to start to pull away, going up 7-3 at halftime. Pontrello scored three in a row, and twice on man-up possessions, to start the second quarter, and Brian Schultz added his first of two with 2:32 left in the half.

Lehigh got within three to start the third quarter when Reid Weber scored 3:21 into the period, but that was as close as it would get the remainder of the game.

The Greyhounds scored four-straight goals, all coming from their midfield.

Pat Laconi started the scoring at 8:18 when he ran free down the left alley during a Mountain Hawks substitution, and Jeff Chase found him with a pass. Chase finished with a career-high three assists in the game.

Ryan then bookended a Matt Sawyer goal at 6:12 with scores at 7:26 and 3:12. Ryan’s first in the series came when he used a Chase pass to find space and hit a sidearm shot, and he scored his second after rolling off a check near the crease before shooting inside the opposite post.

His second put Loyola ahead 11-4 entering the fourth quarter, but after killing a two-man advantage by the Greyhounds, Lehigh scored twice in a row.

Corbett tallied his second of the game, this on an extra-man opportunity, at 12:55 off a Dan Taylor assist at 12:55. Billy Oppenheimer cut the Mountain Hawks’ deficit to five, 11-6, at 6:23 by taking a Weber feed from behind and scoring his frist of the season.

Just over a minute later, Justin Ward, who was one off his career-high with four assists, used a cross-field pass to find Schultz on the crease for a goal.

Ryan added his fourth at 4:53 off a Ward helper, and after Matt Smith scored unassisted for Lehigh at 1:33, Ryan scored on an empty net with 53 ticks of the clock left.

His previous career-high of three goals came just last week at Holy Cross. His eight goals in two games match his career total entering the 2014 season.

Loyola scored its 14 goals on 34 shots, converting on 41.2 percent of its attempts. All but four of the scores were assisted.

The Greyhounds had a 27-22 advantage in groundballs, as Graham Savio had an excellent day at the face-off `X’. The freshman won 15-of-24 and picked up six ground balls.

Joe Fletcher and Pat Frazier each caused two turnovers for Loyola, while Laconi had one in addition to his career-high tying two goals.

Runkel made stops on 13 of the 20 shots on goal he faced, while Lehigh’s Matt Pollion finished with 11 saves.

The Greyhounds take just over a week off before their next game, a step out of conference play on Sunday, March 9, to host Duke University. The game, which is between the last two NCAA Champions, will start at 6 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex and will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.