For the second time in a week, a Loyola sophomore’s clutch goal sinks St. Paul’s; Charlie Koras scores game-winner with 10 seconds left in regulation for No. 3 Dons, who will meet top-ranked Calvert Hall in an MIAA A Conference semifinal Tuesday

by Nelson Coffin

Only a week earlier, Loyola Blakefield and St. Paul’s School combined for just 11 goals in the penultimate regular season lacrosse game for both teams.

On Friday afternoon in Towson in a contest delayed by a deluge, goals came at a much more prodigious rate, yet the result was the same as the earlier battle — a one-goal win for the No. 3 Dons (10-6) over the fourth-ranked Crusaders (10-6) — in that the outcome was decided by an emerging sophomore star scoring his only goal of the game to secure a hard-fought victory.

Only this time, the stakes were higher, considering that the 13-12 triumph came in an MIAA A Conference playoff quarterfinal with the winners locking up a semifinal berth against No. 1 Calvert Hall (15-1) on Tuesday at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Loyola attackman Charlie Koras netted the game-winner Friday, bolting around the crease to take a shot that eluded St. Paul’s junior goalie Jamie Grant with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

“I heard a coach say, ‘go to the goal’ after the ball went out of bounds (on a shot),” said Charlie Koras, whose older brother, Jack, totaled two goals and as many assists in the win. “I just got a step on my man and shot it. I didn’t see the ball go in.”

The younger Koras’ game winner was the first of his career and capped a furious rally in which the Dons closed the game on a 9-3 run, beginning with a goal by junior midfielder Ryan Lancaster with just under six minutes remaining before halftime that cut St Paul’s lead to 9-5.

Loyola senior midfielder Alex Breschi converted a Jack Koras feed for an extra-man goal in the third quarter before the elder Koras gobbled up a ground-ball near the sideline and found junior midfielder Chase Llewellyn cutting to the goal for another tally to make it 9-7.

Senior attackman Andrew Milani battled his way through several defenders to give St. Paul’s a 10-7 advantage with 41 seconds to go in the period, although Loyola answered 11 seconds later when junior long-stick Dave Lemarca hustled in from the wing for a scoop-and-score on a face-off won by sophomore FOGO Ian Geesaman.

The fourth quarter started as well as it ended for the Dons when Jack Koras knotted the score at 10-10 on back-to-back goals, with the first one assisted by Lemarca to finish a fast-break.

“Lemarca was unbelievable today,” first-year Loyola coach Gene Ubriaco said. “It’s such a luxury to have a long-stick middle who does so many things.”

Lemarca would do even more, notching a goal to match one by St. Paul’s junior midfielder Connor Slein, to deadlock the score at 11-11 with under five minutes remaining in regulation.

Junior midfielder Peter Sheehan gave the Crusaders their final lead a minute later before Llewellyn followed suit for the Dons with two minutes to go.

After St. Paul’s killed a minute man-down penalty, Loyola regained possession and called a timeout to plan the final assault.

Just when it appeared that the Dons would run out of time, Charlie Koras made his move.

“He just sort of out-quicked his defender a little bit,” Ubriaco said. “I’ll say this about Charlie Koras — he’s got a lot of moxie.”

St. Paul’s began the game on fire, scoring twice in the first 26 seconds on goals by sophomore midfielder Noah Chizmar and his freshman teammate Keagan Treacey, whose excellent work at the faceoff ‘X’ in the first half sparked the Crusaders’ offense.

The visitors would ultimately build a pair of five-goal leads in the second quarter before Loyola’s stirring comeback took hold.

“We had great energy right from the start,” St. Paul’s coach Trey Whitty said. “I’m proud of our guys. People don’t realize how much hard work they put in, but Loyola definitely came up with more ground-balls today. They outplayed us in the second half.”

Pictured above: Loyola Blakefield sophomore attackman Charlie Koras scored his only goal of the game with 10 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Dons past St. Paul’s, 13-12, in an MIAA A Conference quarterfinal Friday afternoon in Towson.

SP 5 4 1 2 — 12
LB 1 4 3 5 — 13
Goals: SP-Andrew Milani 3, Connor Slein 3, Noah Chizmar 2, Keegan Treacey, Seth Higgins, Peter Sheehan, Troy Barthelme;
LB-Chase Llewellyn 3, Jack Koras 2, Dave Lamarca 2, Alex Breschi 2, Kevin Tucker 2, Charlie Koras, Ryan Lancaster.
Assists: SP-Seth Higgins, Rory Jones; LB-Jack Koras 2, Dave Lamarca.
Saves: SP-Jamie Grant 8; LB-Kevin Ellington 12.