In the aftermath of Saturday’s 12-10 upset of the top-ranked Loyola men’s lacrosse team, No. 3 Maryland declined the opportunity to gloat.
One might think that the Terps exacted a small measure of revenge for last year’s loss in the national title game by taking care of the Greyhounds before an announced 5,781, the third-largest crowd at Ridley Athletic Complex.
But several players didn’t budge from the party line that nothing will fully redeem Terps’ 9-3 loss to Loyola in last year’s NCAA final.
“We try not to look at it as anything like that,” senior midfielder John Haus said. “It’s just another game, and this is a completely different season than last year and a completely different group of guys. They have a completely different group of guys. We might do different things, too. Personally, and I think team-wise, we try not to look at it like that.”
Added redshirt junior goalkeeper Niko Amato, who made a game-high 13 saves: “No one’s ever satisfied being a winner in February or March. You want to take it game by game, focus on each and every opponent and down the road in playoff time, that’s when you want to come out victorious. Our bar is set for national championship and ACC championships. We’re not really lowering the standard for anyone.”
The Terps improved to 3-0 courtesy of their deep midfield. Haus led all scorers with five points (four goals and one assist) after getting shut out in last May’s final in Foxborough, Mass. Redshirt junior Mike Chanenchuk scored twice, and redshirt senior Jake Bernhardt — who sat out last season with a broken collarbone — added one goal and one assist.
Senior Kevin Cooper scored a goal working out of the midfield as Maryland took advantage of its matchups against the Greyhounds’ short-stick defensive midfielders. Loyola was without senior Josh Hawkins (violation of team policy) for the third straight contest.
“We didn’t know if he would or wouldn’t play,” Terps coach John Tillman said, adding that the coaches pitted the starting offense against six defensemen with poles to help prepare them for the Greyhounds. “We didn’t really know enough, and we just needed to prepare like he was going to play. We obviously can only play against the guys that are there.”
When senior attackman Mike Sawyer opened the scoring by whipping a shot from the left point past Amato 4:58 into the first quarter, it seemed like Loyola (2-1) was ready to pick up where it left off last season. But the Terps closed out the period with five unanswered goals.
Haus drew sophomore defenseman Pat Frazier and junior short-stick defensive midfielder on a dodge down the left alley and dumped a pass to sophomore attackman Jay Carlson, who curled around the left post and bounced the ball past junior goalie Jack Runkel for Maryland’s fourth goal with 2:57 left in the first quarter. At that point the Terps had already exceeded last year’s output in the tournament final.
Both teams scored two goals in the second quarter, and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi pumped some life back into the Greyhounds when he scored from the crease to make the score 7-4 just 27 seconds into the third quarter.
But Maryland scored three goals in a span of 2:42, chasing Runkel from the net in favor of freshman Jimmy Joe Granito.
Senior midfielder Chris Layne led Loyola with two goals and an assist. Coach Charley Toomey put the blame on himself for not adjusting the defense to help the short-stick defenders.
“I looked to my locker room and said I’m going to put this squarely on me,” he said. “I think it left my short sticks out there a little bit to dry out on those alleys, and Maryland took advantage. I think we probably should have popped into a zone a little sooner and given our goalie a chance to see some shots from 10 yards. So I didn’t do my job today.”