NEWARK, DE - The University of Delaware men's lacrosse nearly pulled
off the first major upset of the collegiate lacrosse season at frigid
Delaware Stadium Saturday afternoon, but top-ranked Loyola put an end to
the Hens' hopes as Chris Layne scored with just four seconds left to
send the defending national champion Greyhounds to a thrilling 9-8 victory.
Delaware (1-2), playing a No. 1 ranked team for the first time in over a
decade, put together an inspired rally in the final quarter and tied the
game at 8-8 on a goal by Danny Keane with just 26 seconds left to play.
But Loyola (1-0), which was playing its season opener, took advantage of
a late Delaware turnover to capture the win as Layne rushed to the front
of the net and bounced a shot past Delaware goalkeeper Chris Herbert for
the game-winner. Loyola then won the faceoff to escape with the victory.
The late afternoon game was played in windy, 30-degree weather and snow
flurries were present for most of the day.
Nick Diachenko led the Hens with two goals while Eric Smith and Sean
Finegan each scored a goal and dished out an assists and Connor McCoy
dished out two assists. Herbert finished an outstanding performance with
14 saves in goal while sophomore Tyler Barbarich dominated at the
faceoff circle, winning 14 of 21 attempts.
"Loyola has a lot of talent," said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw,
whose team is one of the youngest in the nation and is playing without
its top two midfielders in Dom Sebastiani and Garrett Johnson due to
injuries. "We are certainly disappointed to lose this one but we will
use this as a stepping stone to come back and get better. We have really
emphasized working hard in practice and this group comes out everyday
and works hard."
Loyola, which captured the national title in 2012 with an impressive
18-1 mark, returned six of its top seven scorers from that team and
earned a No. 1 pre-season ranking in the United States Intercollegiate
Lacrosse Association Top 20 poll.
Justin Ward led the Greyhound offense on Saturday as he scored three
goals and dished out two assists while Layne finished with two goals and
an assist and Davis Butts and Mike Sawyer each contributed a goal and an
assist. Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runkel recorded 11 saves to post the win
while Reid Acton paced the defense with five caused turnovers and five
Delaware outshot Loyola by a slim 38-36 margin and held a 36-34
advantage in groundballs, but the Greyhounds took advantage of 19 Blue
Loyola, which defeated the Hens for 20th straight time, was Delaware's
first No. 1 ranked opponent since the same Greyhounds posted a 19-11 win
in Baltimore in 1999. The Greyhounds were also the first No. 1 ranked
team to come to Newark since they also visited Delaware as the nation's
top-ranked team in 1994.
The Hens jumped out to a 2-1 lead on goals by Brian Kormandy and Tom
Holland in the opening four minutes, but Loyola answered with three
straight goals, including two by Ward, to finish the stanza up 4-2.
Delaware's Diachenko scored the game's only goal of the second quarter
as the Greyhounds took a 4-3 lead into intermission.
Loyola took control in the second half as Scott Ratliff and Ward tallied
goals less than a minute apart midway through the third stanza for a 6-3
lead, and after Diachenko scored his second goal of the game at the 6:13
mark, took a 7-4 lead into the final quarter on a goal by Sawyer.
Delaware mounted its comeback early in the final quarter as freshman Ian
Robertson scored his first career goal just 90 seconds in and Finegan
followed 49 seconds later with an unassisted score. Smith, the Hens'
leading scorer with seven goals this season, scored the Hens' third
straight goal off a feed from McRoy with 10:28 remaining to tie the game
at 7-7 with a man-up tally.
Loyola regained the lead at 8-7 just two minutes later as Sean
O'Sullivan scored off a feed from Sawyer with 8:20 left.
A tripping penalty on Loyola's Joe Fletcher with 43 seconds left to play
gave the Blue Hens another man-up opportunity and they took advantage 17
seconds in. Keane took a pass from from Smith on the right side and
fired a shot past Runkel with just 26 seconds left to tie the score at 8-8.
Delaware's Barbarich won the ensuing faceoff, but Loyola's Brendan
Donovan forced a turnover and Sawyer picked up the loose ball. Loyola
called a timeout with 15 seconds left, setting up the game-winner score
by Layne just 11 seconds later.
Delaware will return to action next Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Blue
Hens head to Mt. St. Mary's for a 12 noon matchup against the Mountaineers.
Scoring Summary (Goals-Assists)
Loyola - Justin Ward, 3-2; Chris Layne, 2-1; Davis Butts, 1-1; Mike
Sawyer, 1-1; Sean O'Sullivan, 1-0; Scott Ratliff, 1-0; Nikko Pontrello, 0-1.
Delaware - Nick Diachenko, 2-0; Eric Smith, 1-1; Sean Finegan, 1-1;
Danny Keane, 1-0; Ian Robertson, 1-0; Brian Kormandy, 1-0; Tom Holland,
1-0; Connor McRoy, 0-2.
Shots: L - 36, D - 38; Saves: L - 11 (Jack Runkel), D - 14 (Chris
Herbert, 59:25 min., 9 goals, 14 saves; Conor Peaks, 0:35 min., 0 goals,
0 saves); Groundballs: L - 34, D - 36; Faceoffs: L - 7, D - 14;
Turnovers: L - 13, D - 19; Clears: L - 21 of 22, D - 16 of 18;
Penalties: L - 5 for 4:00, D - 2 for 1:30; Extra Man Goals: L - 0 for 2,
D - 2 for 5; Attendance: 1,150.