Ward, Pontrello Spark Offense As No. 1 Loyola Tops No. 17 Colgate
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Justin Ward and Nikko Pontrello combined for five goals and nine total points, and top-ranked Loyola University Maryland defeated No. 17 Colgate University, 10-8, in Patriot League action on Saturday afternoon at Andy Kerr Stadium.
Ward scored two both of his goals in back-to-back fashion midway through the third quarter, and he had an assist on a 12-yard Matt Sawyer shot with 4:05 remaining that gave the Greyhounds (9-1, 5-0) a two-goal cushion.
Pontrello finished with three goals and an assist, scoring two of his in a span of two minutes, 42 seconds between the third and fourth quarters.
Loyola’s defense yielded 11 shots to the Raiders (7-3, 4-1) in the fourth quarter, but most came from 12 or more yards away. Goalkeeper Jack Runkel posted 12 saves in the victory, and the Greyhounds held Colgate’s leading scorer, Ryan Walsh, without a point for the first time in his career, a span of 42 prior games.
Pat Laconi had four ground balls and three caused turnovers, the last of each coming with less than 25 seconds to play, enabling the Greyhounds to run out the clock. Joe Fletcher had a team-best seven ground balls, and he had primary man-to-man marking responsibilities for Walsh.
The teams traded goals one-for-one in the first half with the Greyhounds never trailing, but Colgate tied the game at 4-4 heading into halftime as Kevin Boyle finished a transition opportunity for the Raiders following a Loyola turnover. He took a Brandon McCann pass and scored from just in front of the crease with 4.4 seconds left, tying the game for the fourth time.
Cameron Williams scored his second goal of the game to give Colgate its first lead 2:46 into the second half, running down the right alley for a shot.
Jeff Chase answered for Loyola, as he scored from 10 yards out after cutting left to right, knotting the game at 5-5 with 9:29 to play in the third quarter.
Chase’s goal sparked a 4-0 Loyola run that put the Greyhounds in front, 8-5. Sawyer wheeled around the crease and found Ward in front of him for a goal 43 seconds after Chase’s to put Loyola in front 6-5.
Ward then gave the Greyhounds their first multi-goal lead of the game at 6:02 following a Raiders turnover. Pontrello picked up a ground ball during a Colgate failed clear and fed it ahead to Ward who scored from close in on the left side.
Pontrello then pushed the advantage to 8-5 when he caught a Ward pass at goal-line extended left, dodged toward the crease and scored his second of the day at 2:31 in the third.
Colgate, however, got a pair of goals late in the third to make it a one-goal game once again.
Matt Clarkson scored one at 1:08, and then after a Greyhounds turnover, Tyler Rigo got his hands free on the right side for a goal with 16.4 seconds left in the third quarter, pulling the Raiders within one, 8-7.
Loyola quickly pushed its advantage back to two, however, in the fourth quarter. Graham Savio won the period’s opening faceoff to himself, ran into the box and got a shot past Colgate goalkeeper Brandon Burke, but it hit hard off the crossbar and rebounded in front of the crease.
Ryan Fournier collected the ground ball and fed Pontrello on the left side of the crease where he shot-faked and scored his third of the day 11 seconds into the final quarter of regulation.
Clarkson, however, scored quickly for Colgate, tallying his season-high third of the day 1:16 after Pontrello’s third.
The teams played to the one-goal game for nearly 10 minutes before Ward rolled from behind the cage and found Sawyer open 12 yards out up top, and Sawyer ripped a sidearm shot to put Loyola in front two, 10-8.
Colgate had the next possession after winning the faceoff, but it had no shots from inside 12 yards against the Greyhounds defense. The Raiders’ first three attempts went wide, and Runkel made a save on the fourth to gain possession again for Loyola.
At the end of the clear, Loyola drew a slashing call against Colgate, but the Greyhounds turned the ball over on the extra-man opportunity, giving the Raiders possession with 90 ticks left on the clock.
McCann sent a Raiders shot wide after a Colgate timeout, and Loyola called for a break in the action with 41 seconds remaining.
Eric Foote had the ball at the top of the box where Laconi stripped him with a check and picked up the ground ball. He cleared it to Ward and despite beind doubles in the corner, he found Brian Sherlock who ran out the clock with the ball in his stick.
In addition to Ward’s two goals and three assists and Pontrello’s three and one, Sawyer had a goal and an assist, while Chase, Sherlock, Brian Schultz and Kevin Ryan added goals.
Clarkson led Colgate with three goals, while Williams and Rigo had two apiece and McCann assisted on three first-half goals. Burke made 12 saves in goal.
Loyola continues its Patriot League road swing on Saturday, April 5, with a 12 noon game in Annapolis, Md., against the U.S. Naval Academy.