By Chris Mueller
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/1/12
Chris Layne never dreamed he would be in this position when he decided to transfer from North Carolina to Loyola two years ago.
The former Malvern Prep standout was still digesting the excitement of a dream season for himself and the Greyhounds, who on Monday whipped Maryland, 9-3, to claim their first NCAA men’s Division I championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Layne started all year on the first midfield line, where he was sixth on the team in points with 11 goals and 14 assists. He was a pivotal piece of a Loyola offense that outscored its opponents 229 to 137 on the year.
Layne had one of his biggest performances of the season when he dished out three assists to help his team pick apart Maryland’s physical defense.
“This feeling can’t be expressed in words,” said Layne. “To work so hard all season day in and day out and having it ultimately pay off in the end is unbelievable”
Loyola finished the year at 18-1 and entered the NCAA tourney as the top-seeded team after not being ranked to open the year. The Greyhounds won the ECAC title and then opened the NCAA playoffs by blitzing Canisius, 17-5.
The second tourney game was a nailbiter as Loyola topped Denver, 10-9, at Navy for the third time this season. Layne notched a goal as the Greyhounds passed their ECAC foe and earned a spot in the NCAA final four.
Loyola then downed Notre Dame, 7-5, in the semifinals in front of more than 30,000 fans in Foxborough. Five goals from senior standout Eric Lusby, who would ultimately break the NCAA tournament goal record, propelled the Greyhounds into their third ever NCAA championship game and an opportunity to put the finishing touch on a remarkable season against a tough Maryland opponent.
“Going into the championship game was insane,” said Layne. “We knew what we had accomplished all season long and believed in ourselves and our team. It was just a matter of finishing.”
Loyola fell behind, 3-2, to Maryland, and then outscored the Terps, 7-0 the rest of the way.
“We gave it our all every day,” said Layne. “I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates and my coaches.”
Tags: Malvern Prep