No. 4 Dons outstanding in taking down second-ranked Lakers

Loyola goalkeeper Brighton Lorber, much as his team has done over the course of this season, grew stronger throughout Tuesday’s victory over No. 2 Boys’ Latin.

by Nelson Coffin

It was one thing for No. 4 Loyola Blakefield to knock off second-ranked Boys’ Latin on Tuesday afternoon in a key MIAA A Conference lacrosse game, it was quite another to do so in such convincing fashion.

The Dons’ 12-6 triumph at Hargaden Field in Towson was easily their best performance of the season, especially in the way they dug out of an early 3-1 hole to outscore the Lakers 11-3 over the final 40 minutes.

All phases of the game were in fine working order for Loyola, with senior Will Koras challenging BL sophomore ace Payton Giberson at the face-off ‘X,’ senior co-captain defender Andrew Florenzo doing a nice job of holding off Laker lefty attackman Brendan Grimes (3 goals, 1 assist) to one goal over the final three quarters and senior goalie Brighton Lorber (10 saves) getting stingier between the pipes as the game progressed.

Loyola coach Ben Rubeor, whose team has now rattled off four consecutive victories, seems to have found its footing after beginning the A Conference campaign with an 8-7 loss to No. 12 Archbishop Spalding.

“We knew this was a very good BL team coming in here today,” he said. “And our boys responded after being down 2-0 (and 3-1).”

Being an outstanding lefty attackman himself in high school (Loyola), college (Virginia) and the pros (Chesapeake Bayhawks), Rubeor noted his admiration for Grimes’ game.

“He’s one of the best shooters in the league,” Rubeor said. “And he’s very creative with his shot.”

Loyola (10-3 overall, 4-1 MIAA A) found that to be true in the early going when the Ohio State commit rifled in a high-to-high rocket on a feed from senior midfielder Tucker Booth on the game’s opening possession to stake the Lakers to a 1-0 advantage.

BL senior attackman Matt Brandau then scored an unassisted goal 30-seconds later before senior attackman Connor Hume did the same for the Dons midway though the first quarter to halve the deficit.

Two minutes after that tally, Grimes (goal) and Booth (feed) were at it again to restore the Lakers’ two-goal margin.

Senior middle Alex Reid got one back for the Dons, igniting a 6-2 run that also featured goals by sophomore midfielder Jack Koras, senior attackman Ryan Dunn, senior Liam Bateman, junior midfielder Alex Braschi and Reid again to build a 7-5 halftime advantage.

Boys’ Latin (8-3, 3-2 MIAA A) only inched closer once, at 7-6, after that onslaught when Brandau quick-sticked a nifty feed from freshman attackman Ben Smith early in the third quarter.

From that point forward, it was all Loyola, all the time. The Dons closed the contest and closed out the Lakers on successive goals by junior defenseman Reid Delanois, Bateman, Dunn twice and Reid.

Credit the defense of Delanois, Florenzo, Lorber and their colleagues for blanking the potent Laker offense over the final 22:20.

It was quite a team effort, according to Lorber.

“Coach always says to keep fighting, no matter the score,” said Lorber, a McDaniel commit who shut the door in the fourth quarter when BL took a slew of shots and still came away empty. “Our defense played really well in the second half, and that also helped me because they (Lakers) were getting shots that I could save.”

While pleased with the result, effort and execution, Rubeor knows that there are many challenges still ahead for the Dons.

“Brighton had a nice game in the cage and we cut down on some of the unforced errors we had been making,” the coach said. “But BL is a team we’ll probably see again (in the playoffs), and we have to continue to improve and battle.”

On Friday, the Dons will try to make it five straight when they travel to Bel Air to meet unranked John Carroll while the Lakers host No. 3 and defending champ Calvert Hall at J. Duncan Smith Field.

BL 3 2 1 0 — 6
LB 2 5 3 2 — 12
GOALS: BL-Brendan Grimes 3, Basil Aburn, Matt Brandau 2; LB-Ryan Dunn 3, Alex Reid 3, Liam Bateman 2, Connor Hume, Jack Koras, Reid Delanois, Alex Breschi.
ASSISTS: BL-Brendan Grimes, Tucker Booth 2, Ben Smith, Matt Brandau; LB-Alec Reid, Alex Bresche, Ryan Dunn, Andrew Florenzo, Liam Bateman.
SAVES: BL-Chris Brandau 8; LB-Brighton Lorber 10.