(Photo Courtesy of Loyola Athletics)
In May it is indeed a dog eat dog world.
The No. 5 seed Loyola Greyhounds (9-7, 4-4 Patriot League) took down the No. 1 seed Boston U. Terriers (10-4, 7-1 Patriot League) in a 12-11 upset victory on Friday evening to advance to the Patriot League championship game on Sunday.
Trailing 8-1 with 7:50 following a pair of man-up scores from Timmy Ley off a Louis Perfetto, the Loyola Greyhounds broke lose to pull off an improbable comeback and walk off the field as victors when the final buzzer sounded.
Evan James (4G/2A) and Adam Poitras (4G/1A) led the way for the Greyhounds’ offense with six and five points, respectively. Matthew Minicus had one goal and three assists for four points.
In the end it was goalie Luke Staudt and the Loyola defense who were the heroes of the day for the Greyhounds. Staudt ended the day with 20 saves to anchor an effort on the back end that held Boston U. off the board in the third quarter and to just two goals in the final 34-ish minutes of play.
A Seth Higgins goal with just one tick left in the third gave Loyola its first lead (10-9) since being up 1-0 early on. And while Louis Perfetto and Vince D’Alto broke the Terriers dry spell and put them back up 11-10, Loyola would make up the difference down the stretch.
Adam Poitras found the back of the cage to tie things up at 11-11 with 3:21 remaining. Eric Pacheco won the ensuing faceoff and Loyola would take a timeout. Out of that timeout Seth Higgins would find Poitras for another score less than a minute before his previous goal to make it a 12-11 game in favor of the Greyhounds.
Loyola committed a shot clock violation late in the game and Boston U. got possession back with 1:12 left. Following a timeout with 40 ticks left, the Terriers would attempt to tie things. However, all they would get was a Louis Perfetto shot that was stopped by Luke Staudt in the final seconds. While Matt Hillburn grabbed the ground ball behind the cage off the rebound and moved the rock to Jake Cates, Cam Wyers caused the turnover and the ball was subsequently chucked down field.
That last Loyola defense left no doubt of the Greyhounds victory.
Boston U. was led by Louis Perfetto (2G/3A) with five points while Vince D’Alto (3G/1A) had four points and Timmy Ley had four goals. Conor Calderone went 13-for-24 (54%) at the dot.
Loyola moves to play Army West Point in the Patriot League title game on Sunday.
Army Goes Wire-to-Wire Versus Lehigh
The No. 2 seed Army West Point Black Knights (11-3, 7-1 Patriot League) took down the No. 3 seed Lehigh Mountain Hawks (10-5, 6-2 Patriot League) 19-13 on Friday night to advance to the Patriot League championship game on Sunday.
Paul Johnson led the Army offense with six goals. Evan Plunkett had five points off three goals and two assists.
Will Coletti went 19-for-34 (55%) in what was a phenomenal outing against Lehigh’s Mike Sisselberger (16-for-35, 45%). In between the pipes, Knox Dent made 14 saves with a 51% save percentage.
Eamon Murphy and Evan Plunkett put Army up 2-0 within the first minute play and the Black Knights would never relinquish that lead. Lehigh tied it up twice (3-3 and 4-4) in the first quarter but that was as close as the Mountain Hawks ever got to taking control.
Leading 7-4 at the end of the first quarter, it was in that second frame where the Black Knights began to pull away. Army outscored Lehigh 5-2 in the quarter and headed into halftime on a three-goal run and with a six-goal, 12-6, lead. Evan Plunkett, Paul Johnson, and Jacob Morin had scored consecutive goals late in the frame to help give the Black Knights the advantage they held at the time.
The third quarter was all Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks blanked the Black Knights while putting up three of their own with Matt Marker scoring one early in the frame and Justin Tiernan getting a pair late. That effort pulled Lehigh within three (12-9) heading into the final frame.
During that third frame, Mike Sisselberger went 3-for-4 at the dot and the Lehigh caused four turnovers. The Mountain Hawks also forced four consecutive failed Army clears early in the quarter. All together, the effort allowed Lehigh to gain the momentum needed to get back into the contest.
Army, however, would get its mojo back with a pair from Paul Johnson early in the fourth pulling the Black Knights back ahead by five (14-9). Lehigh would be able to make it a three-goal game (14-11) one more time but that was as close as they would get. Army won the final frame 7-4 with Paul Johnson contributing four of those scores to help the Black Knights seal the deal.
Lehigh was led by Justin Tiernan with five goals. Christian Mule’ had three assists. Richard Checo had four caused turnovers and five ground balls.
Army moves to face Loyola in the Patriot League championship game on Sunday.