Full disclosure: I was one of many media members who did not think very highly of the Loyola men's lacrosse team's chances for postseason success prior to the start of the 2012 season. I had put the Greyhounds in the "others considered" portion of my first poll of the season but still had them ranked outside of the top 20. And coach Charley Toomey gently reminded me prior to the beginning of the NCAA tournament of that snub. At the time, I laughed it off. In the end, Toomey and the rest of the team got the last chuckle as they captured the school's first Division I national championship in any sport with a 9-3 victory over Maryland on Memorial Day. Loyola had some memorable games that served as turning points. The 13-8 victory over Duke put the Greyhounds on everyone's radar. The 12-9 win against Denver, the reigning Eastern College Athletic Conference champion, infused the players with even more confidence. And beating the Pioneers for the third time in the NCAA quarterfinal round reaffirmed Loyola's status as the top seed in the tournament. But to me, the Greyhounds' biggest win followed their most disappointing loss. Loyola was only an Eric Lusby shot-off-the-goal-post away from defeating Johns Hopkins, but the Blue Jays escaped with a 10-9 decision in overtime. Looming on the schedule was a second meeting with Denver in the ECAC tournament, and things appeared bleak as the Pioneers scored seven unanswered goals in regulation to send the game into overtime. But I watched the ESPNU broadcast of Scott Ratliff's breakaway goal off the faceoff. It was a scintillating moment for the program and one that seemed to stamp Loyola as the most resilient team in the tournament. -- Edward Lee
Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
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