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NCAA Division I semifinals: Loyola downs Notre Dame despite big games by Hopkins, O’Connor

Saturday, 26th May 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/26/12

The No. 1 seed Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team held off a late two-goal run by No. 4 seed Notre Dame Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to advance to its first NCAA Championship game since 1990 with a 7-5 victory over the Fighting Irish.

Loyola freshman attackman Nikko Pontrello (St. Augustine Prep grad) turns the corner in Saturday's 7-5 victory

Graduate student Eric Lusby led the way with five goals for the second-straight game, while he tacked on an assist for a game-high six points. Junior Davis Butts and classmate Josh Hawkins notched one goal each to account for Loyola’s other two scores.

Loyola junior midfielder Chris Layne (Malvern Prep) had an assist and played solid defense in helping hold down the Notre Dame attack.

The Greyhounds (17-1) will play the Duke-Maryland winner on Monday at 1 p.m. for the championship at Foxboro. The Fighting Irish finished at 13-3.

Notre Dame made a game of it int he fourth period after trailing, 7-3, in the third period. Sophomore attackman Westy Hopkins (La Salle/Lawrenceville School) scored two goals for the Irish and sophomore face-off specialist Liam O’Connor (Haverford School) was a catalyst all day, winning 12 of 13 face-offs. Sophomore defenseman Stephen O’Hara had three groundballs, while junior defenseman Tyler Andersen had two groundballs and a caused turnover.

Behind three goals and an assist by Lusby, the Greyhounds jumped out to a 4-1 advantage by the 10:47 mark of the second quarter. Notre Dame cut its deficit to one with back-to-back goals, but Hawkins scored as time expired to give Loyola a 5-3 halftime advantage.

Lusby tallied the lone two goals of the third quarter, at 14:39 and 11:40, to give Loyola a 7-3 advantage, but the Irish responded with two-straight scores in the fourth quarter. The goals wouldn’t be enough though, as the Greyhounds held on for the 7-5 victory.

Defensively, sophomore Jack Runkel turned back a career-high 15 saves in goal, while sophomore Joe Fletcher had a game-high seven ground balls.

The last time Loyola played for a national title, head coach Charley Toomey was a goalkeeper for the Greyhounds. Faceoff on Monday is set for 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.

This article will be updated.


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