After coming up on the short end of a 12-7 contest with arch-rival Calvert Hall, to close the regular season on Tuesday, the Loyola Blakefield lacrosse team returned to Kelly Field for the second time in four days, Friday, and turned the tables on the Cardinals, claiming a 9-8 upset victory in a MIAA A Conference lacrosse quarterfinal playoff game.
Loyola, the 5th-seed, now heads to Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field on Monday night to face top-seeded McDonogh in the first game of the MIAA A Conference lacrosse semifinals, at 5:00 p.m. The nightcap (7:30 p.m.) will feature 2nd-seeded Boys’ Latin against 6th-seeded Severn. The Admirals earned their spot in the semis with an 8-5 upset of 3rd-seeded St. Paul’s in Friday’s other quarterfinal in Brooklandville.
Loyola never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 4 goals, late in the third quarter, as it frustrated Calvert Hall with a tough zone defense and the outstanding goalkeeping of junior Jake Stout. Stout made 13 saves, including two outstanding stops in the frantic closing seconds to preserve the victory.
The Dons led 9-6 with 2 minutes, 16 seconds remaining following the third goal of the game by senior Cole Williams. Calvert Hall got within two when junior Omari DeBerry converted a feed from sophomore Jacob Kelly, with 2 minutes to go. Kelly then scored his second goal of the night, with an assist from JT Bugliosi, with 23 seconds left, to make it a one-goal game.
Calvert Hall won the final face-off and got off two excellent shots as the closing seconds ticked off. Stout deflected the first and then chased the ball in an effort to gain possession. The ball belonged to Calvert Hall, however, and Stout had to scramble back to the net, on a quick restart, just in time to block a blistering bouncer fired by Jack Kinnear as the final horn sounded.
Stout talked about the difference between Tuesday and Friday.
“We made a lot of adjustments. We kind of knew what they were going to do,” said Stout. “The defense really prepared well and the offense played really well today.
“I just knew I had to get one more,” added Stout of his final save. “It was only one more.”
In it’s loss on Tuesday the Dons were unable to control draws or possession and Calvert Hall again dominated the face-offs on Friday, winning 16-of-19. Loyola, however, did a better of job getting the ball back, either through Stout saves or forced turnovers.
Williams assisted Colin Clothier for a 1-0 lead early in the first quarter and Calvert Hall responded, 15 seconds later, as Bugliosi scored the first of his three for the Cardinals, with Ethan Mintzer providing the helper. But Loyola went in front for good when Luke Hurley buried an unassisted shot and then scored again, this time with an assist from Koby Smith, to give the Dons a 3-1 advantage.
Loyola went on to lead 5-3 at the end of the opening quarter and 6-4 at the half. It stayed that way until midway through the third quarter when the Dons struck again with Williams assisting Nate Leishear. The lead grew to 8-4 with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left in the third when Brendan Doyle scored off a feed from Alex Reid.
An unassisted goal by Calvert Hall’s Connor Pearce, with 20.8 seconds remaining in the third, provided a much needed spark for the Cardinals, and Berry cut Loyola’s lead to 8-6, with a score early in the fourth.
“Going into the game, Coach Rubeor had a good game plan for us,” said Williams who finished 3 goals and 2 assists. “We really stuck through it and we believe in him.”
Williams said he was watching nervously as his defense turned back Calvert Hall’s closing thrust.
“I know Jake Stout in there, he was having a game today. He probably had the game of his life,” added Williams. “I just knew we were going to win with him in the goal.”
Loyola head coach Ben Rubeor, who is attempting to win his second straight A Conference crown after leading St. Mary’s to the title last year, said his team didn’t fix its biggest problem from Tuesday’s loss, but still found a way to win.
“Face-offs were a very similar result as to last game. We were trying to create some opportunities by putting some points up on the face-offs. It didn’t work out today,” said Rubeor. “I thought our offense looked better. Coach Thompson did a great job of getting those guys ready and making the necessary adjustments. I thought the players made plays when they had to. This is a player’s game. We made a few adjustments, but at the end of the day the credit goes to those guys for coming through in the big moments.”
Rubber then discussed the next task at hand for the Dons.
“They’ve been the best team in the league. That McDonogh team is the No. 1 seed for a reason. They are undefeated in the league and we have a huge challenge,” said Rubeor. “We’re going to be fighting up hill against a team that’s been playing some good lacrosse and has a bunch of great coaches. We’ll enjoy this one for the next couple of hours and then we’ll refocus and get ourselves set to play McDonogh.”
Williams said the Dons will be ready to five their best effort.
“We’re going to have to watch a lot of film on that McDonogh game,” said the Hopkins bound attackman. “I know they’ve been playing well. We’re just going to stick to whatever coach says because we believe in him.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE LACROSSE QUARTERFINALS
NO. 5 LOYOLA 9, NO. 4 CALVERT HALL 8
LOY 5 1 2 1 — 9
CH 3 1 1 3 — 8
GOALS: LOY-Williams 3, Hurley 2, Clothier 1, L. Bateman 1, Doyle 1, Leishear 1; CH-Bugliosi 3, Kelly 2, DeBerry 2, Pearce 1.
ASSISTS: LOY-Williams 2, Smith 1, Reid 1; CH-Mintzer 1, Bugliosi 1, Curry 1.
SAVES: LOY-Stout 13; CH-McSorley 10.